When Work Gets Political (Humble Political Opinions of the Very Non-Political)

All right, internet people. I’m about to get political on you, so bear with me. This post may be at risk for sounding like the ramblings of a dissatisfied youth or something, but I’m just thinking aloud here.

Yesterday I was minding my own business, sorting through boxes in the backroom at work, when somehow the conversation turned in what could have been a deadly direction–politics. But, happily enough, we managed NOT to start hitting each other over the head with newly acquired merchandise and actually discussed the problems that we of the middle class see with the way our government works.

What, that? We call that “wallpaper.”

Our conversation mostly revolved around campaigning and running for President. Off the top of my head, I made a statement that my coworkers found particularly appropriate to describe the situation. It was mentioned that what we really needed were tax cuts for the middle (now essentially low) class and a slight increase in taxes for the ludicrously wealthy (because, let’s be honest, after a certain point you have more money than you can ever really hope to spend). And it dawned on me that “That’s never going to happen, because anyone who can afford to campaign for President is a member of the wealthy class, and they don’t want to lose any money.” Or something to that effect (let’s be honest, I barely listen to myself most of the time).

That simple statement, made off the top of my head, sparked a conversation about the fact that the people who are running for President are largely out of touch with the rest of America. The majority of Americans are in the middle or lower classes, working their 9-5 day jobs just trying to make ends meet. And yet, prices for things like hospitals and other public services keep being raised for those of us who are in the middle class, in order to cover the cost of people who refuse to pay their bills (these people exist–I spoke with some of them once, but that’s another story).

How should we really be dealing with the problem of unemployment (not to mention the strain of non-tax-paying “visitors” to our country who nevertheless area privy to our public services)? I don’t know-I’m not in charge here. But I do think there’s a certain bias going on in our government that needs to be resolved–only the incredibly rich manage to get to high positions, due to the way our campaign system is run. And no matter what promises they make, they’re really very out of touch with what life is like for those of us who can’t afford the billions of dollars that go into campaigning for political office.

My humble proposition? REFORM the campaign system. This is a HUGE waste of money that could better serve to fix the problems our nation is having. Think about it. All of these campaign ads, these leaflets, these trips all over the country, time and time again. The speech writers. The posters. The propaganda. All that money. While we’re in a recession. The guy who spends the most on his campaign is usually the guy who wins. And it’s ridiculous.

Meanwhile, in most of our wallets…

What if each candidate simply had a website, listing his/her beliefs and policies? And we had our presidential debate (in which they actually answer the questions they’re asked, perhaps?!) televised. And a certain, reasonable set number of extra funds could be spent as the candidates saw fit for further campaigning, such as sending out leaflets or taking out INFORMATIONAL (read, NOT slam campaign) commercials. And that’s IT. None of these extravagant expenditures all in the name of getting to a position of power, in which most of the time is spent just making sure not to do anything that will alienate voters and prevent a re-election.

What will this do? Besides free up funds for other, more important, uses, it will level the playing field a bit. Enable people besides the incredibly rich or the incredibly well known (able to raise funds) to run for office. Certainly, in theory one can work one’s way up from local office, but that involves raising MASSIVE funds when it comes time to take the next step. I’m no expert on the way things work in the (excessively corrupt) political circuit, but I have eyes and ears and I can see that the way things are now isn’t working out so well. If we want to maintain our freedoms and our democracy, we need to be willing to make a few small changes.

But how do you change a system that’s built on corruption and money, when the people with the power to change it are the ones who have (and want to keep) said money? I have no idea.

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