This election year is going to be the most miserable in American history. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision has cleared the way for the invention of the super-PAC and unlimited corporate spending on political campaigns, which means unlimited corporate financing of negative campaign ads. Hold onto your hats, friends. It's going to get nasty.
The Court's decision is so unwise that polling data shows 80 percent of Americans oppose it. I didn't know it was possible to get 80 percent of Americans to agree on anything. That's how bad this stinks.
Welcome to the era of official corporate sponsorship of political candidates. "Ahem ... it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the Exxon-Mobil candidate for President of the United States, brought to you by the good people at Nabisco and Target..."
For typical Americans, the Supreme Court decision is bad news. If money is speech, then your voice has finally been silenced. Not only does your small contribution to a candidate no longer count as much as it did four years ago, it no longer counts -- period. Not when corporations can spend unlimited amounts of cash supporting super PAC smear campaigns.
I am resolved to stay consistent in my assertion that the classic Christian political position should be to refuse an alliance with any political party, but this election year I have a recommendation for Christians. Instead of sending your $100 or $200 political donation to the party of your choice, why not consider throwing your weight behind Stephen Colbert's campaign against Citizens United? He actually might be making a difference.
Colbert's Super PAC, "Making a better tomorrow, tomorrow," is meant to lampoon and shed light on the deleterious effects of Citizens United. When it's all said and done, humor may just be the only effective way to fight big money in politics. Colbert and his cohort John Stewart have used their own super PAC to expose the sheer lunacy of this new situation. Most recently they ran a faux attack ad, calling Mitt Romney a serial killer ... of jobs. Ridiculous times call for ridiculous measures.
It's all silly, to be sure, but so is the Supreme Court's decision.
Although humor can be powerful, it has a pretty steep hill to climb in this case. President Obama has just taken his super PAC off the leash, while republicans have set a fundraising goal of $500 million. Reports emerged this week that the Koch brothers have recently raised pledges of $100 million to win the next election for Republicans. The two Koch brothers alone reportedly combined for a pledge of $60 million. The secret event was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Palm Springs, where nearly all of the 500 rooms were rented out by event organizers in order to ensure privacy.
By the way, $100 million would employ 200 people at $50k a year, for a decade.
Is it finally time for publicly funded elections? How about a short election cycle -- four months tops; no phone banking, no fund raising, no PACs, no super PACs, no advertisements, just yard signs and a series of six televised debates. Until then don't waste your money on campaign contributions; give it to Colbert's super PAC. Unfortunately, this knucklehead is the only one making sense right now.
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