2011-10-28 / Letters

Reasons For Protestors

Dear Editor,

There is a reason for the thousands of protestors in the streets in New York City and throughout our nation: our political system has been corrupted.

Now that (according to the Supreme Court decision in the “Citizens United” case) “corporations are people” and can give unlimited funds towards political campaigns, from banks, insurance companies, defense contractors, oil companies, the medical lobby and other special interests, they are all in control. Our largest corporations and the richest people among us pay for less than their fair shares of taxes. Officers of deregulated banks have been bailed out by the government from the sick economy they helped to create and then have been given huge bonuses. We still depend on other countries for our energy. Home foreclosures continue. Slater cut back on money for education and health and the jobless rate remains the same. In the meantime, Congress accomplished next to nothing to solve these problems because of the almost constant threat of filibusters (almost two hundred in the past few years) in the Senate that has prevented action on legislation.

As time goes by, the influence of millions of dollars contributed to political campaigns becomes greater, and because these donations can be made anonymously, there is no way of knowing: Who is trying to influence our legislators? Prevent some people from voting? Pay for all the political ads that flood TV and radio? Feed TV and talkshow radio hosts the message that floods the airwaves?

To quote Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause, “Only a campaign finance system that allows candidates to run campaigns on the power of small donors – and strong disclosure laws” can fix our broken politics and restore faith in our government to the thousands who have filled our streets and parks with their posters and to millions of voters of all political convictions.

We must work to restore hope. It won’t be handed to us. The first and most important step is to do everything we can to reform our campaign financing system. Already, there has been introduced into both Houses of Congress the Fair Election Act (FENA) with 76 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and thirteen in the Senate. The bill provides for a voluntary system of public financing for candidates willing to accept only smaller donations towards their election campaigns. (Such a system already exists for New York City’s elections.)

A fair election system can be the way to a government that represents the will and the welfare of the people.

RUTH ZINAR

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