"It takes the work of being a citizen."

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There's an editorial in today's L.A. Times that makes some interesting points. One that struck me was how eMeg plunked down $140 million of her own money to spend, spend, spend wildly on her campaign, on herself, while hypocritically bragging about what a fiscal conservative she is. And after all that spreading of wealth (What a socialist!), it didn't work. She failed:

Whitman renounced the idea of throwing money at the state's problems; she was the fiscal conservative who insisted that cannier, leaner spending would still deliver the services that Californians want and need. Yet Whitman was the one who threw money at the campaign process, not always effectively...

But that was money we could see, that we could attribute to a person with a name and a face. As scary and lopsided as that was, this is the real reason we should all have a case of the chills:

But more amorphous and less visible were the business people who spent money to defeat the measure and who were acting in their own best financial interests.

And then there's the obscene amount of money spent, by everyone, but mostly by GOP donors. Think hard about what this money could have bought: Health care, food, shelter, bridges, green transportation, etc. etc. etc.....

Total spending by candidates, parties, corporations, unions and other outside groups in the 2010 midterm elections is expected to reach a final tally of $4 billion. In the absence of workable public financing systems, meaningful contribution limits or strict disclosure rules, the job of resisting undue influence is left mostly to individual voters, who will not learn the deeper truths about candidates or issues from 30-second TV or radio spots. It takes reading the news, watching debates, asking questions and demanding answers. It takes the work of being a citizen.

That's the bottom line, right there. My standard talking point: An uneducated electorate continues to chip away at our democracy. Dumbed down voters tend to believe short bursts of propaganda, depend on sound bites, devour headlines but not details, and they cast their ballots accordingly.

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  • http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/ GottaLaff

    Agree completely. All we can do is make demands and boycott those who fail

    to report.

  • Nellcote

    "It takes reading the news, watching debates, asking questions and demanding answers."

    All well and good to blame the voters but what to do when candidates refuse to answer questions, debate or deal with any media not owned by Rupert. Where's the damn media's responsibility in all this?

  • historygoddess

    AMEN!!! I tell my high school students that there are a whole lot of people who WANT them to fall asleep in history, and those people are often the ones who will try to run the government. It is brought up several times a week. "Who slept in history" is the question we ask when politicians/ads tell blatant lies or try to revise the past.

    Can't stand that they get away with playing to the stupid, but I know how frustrated I get in trying to stay on top of all this. I don't have little kids at home and I have more time. Yet still I feel overwhelmed.

    Thanks for writing this.

  • http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/ GottaLaff

    Thank YOU for reading it, and "getting" it.