Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Simple Cure for American Politics


In one sentence:
Ban political ads from television.
That's it. That would do it -- stymie the billionaires, circumvent the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and turn America back to the rule of its own citizens . That's right -- democracy is just a single step away. We banned cigarette ads from the airwaves, and political ads are even more toxic. All the money that superpacs raise goes to attack spots on television. Without that venue there would be no place to spend the billions and billions of dollars our mini-pharohs are pouring into the system. If politicians didn't need those massive infusions of cash to fight the reprehensible prime-time propaganda wars, they wouldn't come to Congress as the wholly owned subsidiaries of the men who are going to be financing their next campaigns.
It's staggeringly simple, a 'silver bullet' that could cure the metastacizing corruption of our political system with one shot.
Without television, candidates would have to campaign the old fashioned way, one hand-shake, one stump-speech, one baby kiss at a time. Voters would have to form their own opinions by  -- I hesitate to even whisper the word -- reading about the issues. When a politician won, it would be fair and square and they could vote their conscience on the floor of the house, not the Koch brothers' pocket book.
This would be an authentic revolution. How would Senators sound, unfettered by the need to please a corporate master? I have no idea. Maybe they've lost the knack of having their own opinions, maybe integrity can wither like any other unused muscle. Like those lions who pace their newly-opened cages, unequipped for freedom, perhaps the members of Congress will be unable to grasp the concept of free speech. But I believe they'd figure it out eventually.   They'd get to know their own minds, start hearing themselves think again and begin the unique adventure of actually representing their constituents.
Of course there would be problems. This plan could bankrupt every local television station in the country, who thrive on elections like a summer town in tourist season. But the govertnment pays farmers not to grow certain crops. It should pay these stations not to run political ads. It would be government subsidy money well spent.
To sum up, in the terms a modern politician can understand best:
My name is Steven Axelrod and I approved this ad.

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