What if I told you our entire Congress were being held hostage by a fire-breathing dragon? That all of the issues that you most hold dear, like wealth inequality, climate change, gun control or healthcare could none of them be resolved until the dragon was slain? Wouldn’t you want to do something?
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Sarah’s getting on her political soapbox again, here we go. Minimize! Show me another video of a cute puppy to get this divisive bile out of my mouth.” But seriously. If you’re Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, I really want you to hear me out. Because it’s affecting all of us and it’s an issue we can all of us, as the “little guys” get behind and band together on.
I personally began to notice the issue when my documentary addiction started. You name it, I’ve likely seen it. I started to notice a trend in documentaries about healthcare, food democracy, water conservation and, most of all, the economy. All these issues boiled down to one huge problem: big corporations and funders were bullying consumers, small businesses and, worst of all, our elected officials into doing things their way. And their way meant that our health, wealth and happiness (and that of people all over the world) could all be sacrificed in order to maximize profit.
A few months ago, I was having a boisterous, but familiar conversation with some TSX co-workers, the subject of which was “What would you do if you had a billion dollars?” My answer? I’d buy a Senator.
If that sounds hypocritical, let me explain. You see, because we’re all inherently good, I think most of us answer a question like that by exploring the ways in which we’d help others. (One of the most common responses? “I’d buy my Mom a house.”) But for me, the biggest way to help the largest amount of people would be to replace our current elected officials with ones that aren’t being bribed. (Oh, wait. That’s unfair of me to say. Bribery is illegal. They’re being “contributed” to).
“But, Sarah…what if your perfect candidate is corrupted?”
Excellent point you make. For example, the dragon slaying knight Bobby Jindal in the graphic receives campaign contributions from multiple Political Action Committees whose interests are very likely less than stellar. That’s why, through Senatorial contributions, if I had the money I would turn myself into a lobbying force to repeal Citizens United vs. the FEC: http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-citizens-united-v-fec/
If I sound like a conspiracy theorist, I don’t mean to. I’ve been mulling this issue over for a long time and it just all makes sense to me. And every day, I get more and more disgusted at how deep the rabbit hole goes. Did you know all media in this country is under the control of only six corporations? Most of the food we buy is being sold by only a handful of companies. Most of the farms making the food are being forced to plant seed from one GIANT company. And all of these companies are stuffing the pockets of our elected officials to make them vote in a way that maximizes their profits and minimizes your future.
It is infuriating. It is likely an issue you are already aware of. But because “they” are so big and “we” feel so small, doing something about it seems insurmountable. But it’s not. If we come together.
Now. I know the video listed above is crazy long (18 minutes) for a blog post. (I personally saved it for the 25 minutes I spend on the elliptical and it was the perfect companion!) But Lawrence Lessig has a way of breaking down the issue in a way I never could. (Maybe that’s why he got invited to the TED conference and I didn’t). His speech inspired the website http://letsfreecongress.org/, which is the perfect place to go once you’re on board the Dragon Slaying Quest and ready to get your friends on board because it has a ballistic amount of statistics on the big Funders who are, essentially, running our country.
Once the dragon is slain, we can go back to fighting over the issues. And maybe then…we’ll all have a fair shot at being heard.
Want to act? One of the first steps you can take is to support the Anti-Corruption Act, which proposes putting $100 in the hands of every American to support the political candidate of their choice. In all, that would add up to $30 billion citizen dollars. What a great way to start slaying the dragon! http://anticorruptionact.org/