Big Money and the Death of the Public Servant
“I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return…We expect a return on our investment.”
- Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education
We are rarely if ever served by our government anymore.
The government in question being, of course, the elected officials whose salaries we pay, whose health insurance we cover, and whose homes we pay for. We elected them to serve us; as in, to provide us with a service. The service in this case being the exponential betterment of our lives in the form of policy that improves upon systems of the past in order to form a more perfect union and a brighter future. Yes, the idea of ‘betterment’ differs from person to person. Yes, we live in a strikingly diverse nation and it’s incredibly difficult to satisfy all needs. But I want you to ask yourself, when was the last time that you can recall anybody feeling as if their interests were protected and their lives were bettered by governmental policy… other than perhaps the 1%?
Before you continue reading, if I’ve kept you this far, I want everyone to know who bothers to read this that I loathe both political parties. So before you may label this piece as ‘libtard cuckery’ or conversely, ‘neo-conservative ideology’, know that I aim to unify with this piece. I intend to make a case to you and your approach to your expectations from political leaders that defies left or right and red or blue. We will always have differences, but there is one thing that we simply must agree on: corporate, lobbied influence is perhaps the single greatest political pestilence that stands in the way of us achieving a full bloom in this flower garden we all tend together as a nation. When corporations were granted legal personhood, what many don’t realize is that they were actually bestowed with an ascension. They were granted the equivalence of a Titans voice, not just an individual say in the issues. They were granted the ability to matter more than you. They were given a boom mic that transmits their voice to every corner of the nation. You and I merely get to cup our hands together and shout with little more return than an hollow echo.
I want you to engage in a hypothetical visualization exercise with me.
You are an employee at a diner. A dishwasher lets say. As if your job isn’t tedious and, often, thankless enough, you’re noticing that the detergent that you use to spot clean pans and run plate upon plate through the machine is slowly burning through your skin. Nothing too serious at first. Just mincing little sores that aren’t crippling but certainly aren’t ignorable. Looking to solve the problem of your increasingly acute skin condition, you begin to search for better products that don’t adversely affect you. Luckily, there is actually a product easily available, and it’s actually cheaper than the other detergent causing you pain. You and the other dishwashers go and ask your boss to start carrying the soap that doesn’t contain chemicals that harm your skin. However, after a short deliberation, your plea is rejected. You are told it is because that’s the soap that’s always been used, and it works fine, even though you can clearly show them your sores. You discover later that your boss actually accepts money to fund the diner from the company that makes the skin damaging detergent, and that unless their soap is the only soap that’s used, their money will be pulled from future endeavors related to the diner, though you have never seen a penny of said funds.
That, dear reader, is a metaphor for how almost every single policy decision is handled in modern times. Be it from the oil driven hive minded servitude of the right, or the crocodile teared corporate shilling liberalism of the left, there is almost nobody left to serve you that isn’t under the fiscal thumb of some corporate entity.
And it should make you furious.
Every single one of you.
Ask yourself: “If I voted for these people to serve my interests and the interests of my community, but they themselves are actually are voting in congress in the interests of corporate bodies that pay them more, what in God’s name is the point of all of this? What on earth are we paying for? How is this even legal? What am I even contributing to!?
If we are lead to believe that the function of our elected officials is to serve us, then I submit to you that any candidate that accepts any corporate money that ultimately influences their decision making should automatically be disqualified from running for office. Furthermore I would add, that any influence of corporate money while occupying said office should be grounds for automatic removal.
I am far from the first person to come up with such a notion, most notably, the bull moose Theodore Roosevelt said it much more succinctly over a hundred years ago, “All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law.”
When you have 13 sitting Democrats who two months ago voted against the importing of cheap prescription drugs from Canada to lower the cost to Americans, whose only link between them is that they have all accepted money from pharmaceutical countries…
When you had George W. Bush who created a war to serve the interests of his family who has intimate ties to oil companies, and vice president who had stock in our largest weapons manufacturers…
When you had Barack Obama who signed the Monsanto Protection Act and created the Affordable Care Act to lob funds over to the two largest corporate entities that funded his election cycles, campaigns, and tenures in office…
When you had Hillary Clinton who cost herself an election by refusing to distance herself seemingly in any palpable way from Wall Street, big agriculture, and a dearth of the corporations that brought her to the forefront, while giving the American public no actual reason to believe in any potential change…
When you have Donald Trump who swindled the American public promising change, yet whose persistent refusal of divestiture, whose secret tax holdings may reveal treasonous business dealings, and whose cabinet appointments and proposed policy are so blatantly corrupt and only in the interests of the gears of businesses he holds or deals with or the interests of putting more money into the pockets of the rich, and not the betterment of our country…
It’s really hard to see how anyone can be loyal to their party, or the news source that pushes their respective parties spin to you like a dealer.
We don’t need party loyalty, we need loyalty to the best interests of our present and our future.
…And that will never be what big business wants. Vote accordingly.