This is how the political system works.
The salary for an elected official is not, in the grand scheme of things, that great. And the number of people who seek political power for truly altruistic purposes – to elevate their electorate – is small. Most people who run for public office want power, and power is money.
Money doesn’t come from public radio, or libraries, and the National Endowment for the Arts. It doesn’t come from poor kids in inner city schools, or from refugees, or from out of work union labor.
Money comes from the kind of corporations we are not proud of. And those corporations have very specific goals. Monsanto wants to sell more GMO seeds. Kraft wants to sell more food products. Prison contractors want to sell more cell blocks.
The successful politician finds out early that the best way to both gain power and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle is to become a useful recipient of money. The politician demonstrates usefulness by getting things done that are pleasing to the writers of checks.
The successful politician also realizes that our “democracy” requires votes. So the politician tells you the voter what you want to hear, while distracting you from what you don’t want to hear, ie, reality.
As long as a Republican can win your vote by talking about abortion or gun rights, they will. As long as a Democrat can bring people to the polls talking about the “right to choose,” and gun control, they will. But these talking points have absolutely nothing to do with the actual legislative plans they have.
Do you think that either Hillary or Donald cared during the last presidential campaign about what you care about?
They do not. Except to the degree that pretending to care gets your attention.
By extension, as long as those issues get your attention, they will not resolve them. Talking points are leverage.
The cruel result is that we argue amongst ourselves, families dividing over party lines, bitter judgment issued over dinner tables, over issues that are, essentially, irrelevant.
As long as we are distracted this way, we will not notice how much money is being made by incarcerating us, medicating us, fattening us up – never legislating for us.
We will not notice that the best way to manipulate a group of people is to play them against each other.
A nation divided against itself, cannot stand.