Are these all I have to choose from?
By Dale Schlundt
We have all seen presidential debates and then choose to support the individual with whom we can relate to on some level or topic. This is obviously true whether you are a Democrat or Republican. Out of say 8-10 prospective nominees, we look for fundamental elements in either the individual's political message, personal character, or previous records that allow us to justify giving them our vote. Ultimately, allowing them to make decisions about our country and essentially our lives. However, how many times do we say, is this really the "cream of the crop" that we have to pick from?
The number one issue at the heart of this decision is money. Why is it we see only senators, governors, or CEO's running for office? Are they without question the most savvy, intelligent, and innately ethical people available? I would argue that the answer is no. Now, this is not to take credit away from present and past candidates, as they all have attributes worth mentioning. However, what they all bring to the table as well, is both personal and public wealth. Michelle Singer did an article for CBS news, citing estimates of $400 million in presidential campaign costs back in 2008.
It would be a reasonable statement to suggest that this sum disqualifies the vast majority of Americans from being considered, although I should only speak for myself I guess. Regardless, I would argue that in a truly democratic society, being represented by a multimillionaire does not signify that we are significantly more democratic than another. If this does, I am worried.
Simply put, as a country we have lost the ability to stand up for what the majority thinks in private. Now as humans it is quite natural to disagree with another's political approaches and opinions. However, what we all missed is while we are discussing these issues amongst ourselves and others who are not associated with government, our leaders are consistently separating us for our the national decisions being made. All while saying, "Oh yes, we're listening to ya." In other words, within our political system, the balance between the voices being heard and the impact our voices have in bringing about results has shifted to a point that makes us as citizens..... muted.
Despite these arguments, I do not have the answer, only the ambition to point out a few simple factors that seem to contribute to this never-ending cycle of hegemonic power in our government. I will leave you with this, perhaps if we, as a collective people, refused to vote for individuals who pushed other potentially advantageous candidates out by use of their overwhelming wealth and power, we would see a nominee who can actually relate to the everyday needs of the middle class majority. This being a new kind of candidate, one who is in multiple respects.... you and I.
This is Dale Schlundt`s first contribution to Enter Stage Right. © 2012 Dale Schlundt.