No serious proposal to take the money out of politics, or even reduce its tightening grip on the body politic, will emerge from Tampa or Charlotte, so the sounds of celebration and merriment are merely prelude to a funeral cortege for America as a shared experience. A radical minority of the superrich has gained ascendency over politics, buying the policies, laws, tax breaks, subsidies, and rules that consolidate a permanent state of vast inequality by which they can further help themselves to America's wealth and resources. Money rules. And in the foul air democracy chokes and gasps, the middle class falls behind, and the poor sink from sight as political donations determine the course and speech of policies that could make the difference in the lives of ordinary people struggling in a dog-eat-dog world.
HuffPost Live is bringing you Shadow Conventions 2012 with the goal of sparking a national conversation on three issues that neither party is seriously addressing: the corrupting influence of money on our politics, the persistence of poverty in America, and the disastrous war on drugs. Our new streaming network will devote a day during each of the national conventions to focusing on one of those three issues. Today, HuffPost Live's team of host/producers will be joined by a broad range of politicians, thought leaders, activists, and celebrities for in-depth interviews and panel discussions on various aspects of the drug war. And we want you to be a central part of these discussions. That's what HuffPost Live is all about -- sparking real conversations about issues that impact our lives. The Shadow Conventions are your conventions. Join us and be part of a convention that's unscripted, surprising, and a lot more interesting than the over-produced political commercials in Tampa and Charlotte.
In 2000, I co-convened the "Shadow Conventions," which ran concurrently with both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, and shined the spotlight on three issues that neither party was seriously addressing: the corrupting influence of money on our politics, the persistence of poverty in America and the disastrous war on drugs. Twelve years later, these three problems have gotten worse. So we are bringing the Shadow Conventions back -- but this time we are using HuffPost Live and the Huffington Post platform to put these neglected issues center stage and make it possible for you to be part of a real discussion about them. In fact, HuffPost Live has already created "green room" pages where you can learn more about these issues, leave a comment and sign up to join an on-air Shadow Convention conversation. Click here for the drug war green room, here for poverty and here for money in politics. The Shadow Conventions are your conventions -- let your voice be heard.