09 January 2006
It's Transparency, dummy...
Forget reform. McCain-Feingold was a valiant attempt that was almost instantly corrupted like a Turkish chicken. The entire problem with campaign financing is transparency. It will not be legislation but visibility which imbues a candidate with legitimacy.
This is an attribute that American politics (or any politics) has lacked since time out of mind. We are approaching an age in which a person’s views can be accurately captured and portrayed for all the world to see. We are nearing a time when a true participative democracy is possible. This is significant for many reasons, first it removes the obscuring veil of emotion from politics. It is emotion which clouds any reasonable debate over our present course of foreign policy.
Personally, I don’t care to have the government acting to interfere with social issues (abortion, same-gender marriage, drugs) except where it constitutes a real threat to the safety of our citizens. Drugs are produced in unregulated forms and as such contain too many hazards to list, thus their illegality is justified. Minors are subject to predatory behavior by adults and also should be protected. Adult individuals should largely be left alone to manage their own lives.
What the scandal involving Abramoff and countless others (remember ABSCAM? – senators and congressmen were arrested!) preceding it and others to follow have in common is concealment. In each case the motives of the funder were meant to be concealed from public view. This enabled the fundee (henceforth referred to as scumbag) to deceive those from whom they derived their power (the citizens).
As soon as we are serious about changing the face of politics, we will develop a system to provide complete visibility into the actions and background of our candidates. Would there still be spin and BS cast about? Certainly, but at least the electorate could look to the source material to make their own decisions, even if it makes our world seem a little scarier.
After all, what have we to fear?