If you are wondering why a pipeline that would create fewer jobs than a new McDonalds is the number one priority of what used to be known as "the world's greatest deliberative body," you are not alone. The answer, unsurprisingly, has everything to do with money.
The campaign finance deregulation policy rider to the spending legislation signed by the president is a final recognition by politicians of both parties that nothing will be done to prevent or even slow down the seemingly unstoppable march toward even more money in American politics.
Citizens are affected every day -- not just in the weeks before an election -- by the decisions of their elected representatives, and have the right to know when those decisions are being driven by large campaign contributions.
History never repeats itself; but lessons can be learned. And one that is as clear as it can be is that if the political system is rigged in favor of a wealthy minority, the rest of the society will be given short-shrift.
Candidates for the U.S. Senate this election got nearly 64 percent of the money they raised from individuals in contributions of at least $1,000 -- from just four one-hundredths of one percent of the population.
Why do campaigns want your time? They didn't always. The current emphasis on volunteer involvement stands in stark contrast to the situation in the 1990s, where some campaigns allegedly turned away would-be volunteers, because they do not know what to do with them.