For the past couple of weeks leading into the mid-term elections we have seen reports in the media on how much campaigns are spending to elect our nation's leaders. It is estimated that close to $4 billion will be spent during the mid-term elections on ads and millions more on other campaign expenses.
Some have argued that both Democrats and Republicans should disclose where the money is coming from, sighting that the American people need to know who is funding these campaigns. The assumption is that if people know where candidates get their money it will impact how they view the candidate and determine how they choose to vote. But are people really more concerned with where the money comes from or are they more concerned with how much is actually spent to elect a handful of people while the unemployment rate hovers close to ten percent?
It's tough watching politicians spend billions to run for office while regular people are struggling to make ends meet. Millions of Americans are out of work, fighting to keep their homes and concerned about having enough money to retire, let alone pay their bills. This leads me to believe that regular Americans are probably less concerned with where the money comes from to elect politicians than they are concerned over how much is being spent to elect a handful of people. It's this kind of spending that has energized some voters while at the same time discouraging others.
Leading up to the November 2nd elections, I spent time traveling to a number of cities conducting issue education forums and having conversations about the importance of voting. I heard from people who feel disconnected from politicians in Washington. They feel like candidates of either party just don't get it. To working people the vast amount of money being spent is just another example of how out of touch Washington has become with the rest of the country.
While candidates talk of promises they will fulfill once elected, they are meanwhile spending millions just so that they can have a job after Election Day. Yes, it's true that the purpose of electing these men and women is the hope that once elected they will help make life better for all of us. But I wonder, were these ardent fundraisers and spenders so adamant about funding local charities -- or finding solutions for community problems before they got elected. And why don't we see this same fundraising energy put into raising money for local initiatives that could have been helping people before said candidate decided to run for office? Perhaps these are some of the questions on the minds of voters as they decide whether to show up on Election Day.
The only thing voters know will happen for sure after Election Day is that one candidate will win and that person is guaranteed a job for at least two years whether they are good at it or not. The winner gets to go to work, which is more than we can say for millions of Americans and billions of dollars will have been spent to put a handful of people to work with no guarantee to the voter that anything in their lives will get better in the immediate future. I only hope that after it is all said and done, that political campaigns learn something from this expensive campaign season. It's not how much you spend to run for office, people actually want to know how much you care about their needs and whether you are wiling to make the same kind of investment in their future that you have so aggressively made in your own.
Follow Rev. Romal J. Tune on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@RomalTune