Voters Must Unite
Most of us have met, or have spoken with someone who is so discouraged or disillusioned, or so angry at all politicians of all parties, that he/she will not vote for any incumbents or won’t vote at all. But it is a terrible mistake for anyone who wants to live in a country where there is freedom of speech and press and the right to worship or not worship as we please, to relinquish their right to democracy by not voting.
Unfortunately, many voters who think that both major parties are the same, do not know that during the recent Congressional session, the majority of legislators voted to support non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, to fight global AIDS to adopt climate legislation, to create jobs in clean technology, to require to President to assure U.S. national security, to support humanitarian interests in Sudan, to support U.N. peace keeping, and to prohibit torture of persons in the custody of the State Department. During the same Congressional session, efforts to reduce State Department and Foreign Service diplomatic programs and global health activities such as control of malaria and the prevention of AIDS were defeated.
Now we are facing an election in which, just as predicted after the recent Supreme Court decision that allows corporations to contribute as much as they please, that “tidal wave” of money being poured into the political campaigns of candidates preferred by the big corporations and big money interests have drowned the air waves, TV, and the press, with advertisements, many of them paid for by shadowy groups. The Associated Press reported that the Chamber of Congress has spent so much in this election process that it is like a third party, with some of that money coming from foreign corporations. But we, the voters, have no way of knowing who is trying to influence our votes. Political parties, candidates, and groups supporting specific candidates must acknowledge the fact that they have paid for or “approve” of an advertisement. But other than that, there is no law that requires a corporation, foreign or domestic, individuals, or group of individuals, to disclose who has paid for one of these ads. One of them has even gone so far as to urge Latinos, “Don’t vote! Don’t vote.” Voters realize how much money is being spent to influence whom they vote for.
When the next Congress convenes, whichever party is in control, the voters must unite to demand that pending legislation such as the Fair Elections Now Act that provides that candidates who voluntarily agree to accept a limited amount from any one donor be finally passed. (This bill has more than 160 co-sponsors.) The Disclosure Act which requires revelation of the names of those who give so much money for the ads flooding all the media should be brought before both branches of Congress and approved. We have the right to know who is trying to buy our elections!
We still have the right to vote and we should use that right to vote for candidates who support both the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA) and the Disclosure Act. Everyone who can, should vote. If they don’t, they are helping to undermine the ideals and hopes of the founders of our democracy.