This short piece from Tom Aswell is an excellent brief visual guide to one of the primary issues we the people face on Capitol Hill today. In my opinion, people who have money to invest have learned that they receive greater returns by investing in elections and elected officials than they would if they invested in expanding existing businesses, building new businesses, and repairing and modernizing our infrastructure. SCOTUS with its ruling in Citizens infringed upon the rights of the majority of individual citizens by allowing money to have rights like people. The IRS scandals should not have been about targeting but disgust about why all 501(c)(4) groups did not face the same scrutiny for tax exempt status. Our partisanship has blinded us to the influx and influence of dark money. Who could have ever imagined that a special election to fill a portion of a Congressional term would see $millions upon $millions spent. I worked for years in the University System of Georgia, and if the money spent for each individual vote would have been spent on infrastructure repairs or practically anything else it would have changed lives for the better and resulted in profit for the investors. Folks, we have to see that something is wrong when spending to get a job where the salary plus the MRA (Member’s Representational Allowance) that many individuals do not know exists is a mere blip of a percentage of what is spent during the election.
I’ve written quite a number of pieces on Citizens and especially 501(c)(4) organizations on this forum and elsewhere. The power of money in politics is only getting worse, and the voices of We the People are diminishing.
I do want to offer a little jambalaya for thought. One major change on the Hill is that fewer Members reside in the area. With previous Congresses, Members spent some time together away from the Hill with people who were on the other side of the aisle. Today, that type of socializing is an anomaly. When a Member lost or retired, they used to return back to their homes in the district they represented. They had roots in the community and were part of the community so they cared.
I’m reminded of Jimmy Morrison. Congressman Morrison lost a reelection bid to John Rarick before I was born. He had been out of Congress longer than the 24 years he served before I started working with him identifying photographs, doing oral histories, and cataloging his papers while working on my MA degree. Still, I did a lot of work for senior citizens who sought assistance from Congressman Morrison. His property, Shadow Creek, was a showpiece with the azaleas throughout the grounds. Ms. Margorie did so much for the arts and civic causes in Hammond. Husband and wife did so much for Southeastern and embraced area causes. It amazed me the number of people I met from my grandparent’s generation who were not interested in politics and really paid little attention to Jimmy Morrison when he was their Member of Congress. These same people, however, talked glowingly of him using his influence and focusing his energy on local causes post Washington.
At the federal level, we don’t see that type of politician who walks easily amongst the people back in his or her district. That type of elected official is even disappearing when they represent at the state level.
I don’t think money is the sole cause for this change, but I think we the people have somehow, perhaps unwittingly, accepted this change. We are not better off because of it.
A Non-related aside:
I have never sought or accepted any payment or donations for this blog. My position hasn’t changed, but I wanted share some good news.
After 10 years of marriage, my wife and I are in the final stages of adopting a son from an international orphanage. We would most appreciate your thoughts and prayers for our son and us as soon-to-be parents to more than fur babies. I hope that people read and follow because you either gather some information or at least see something that causes you to think.
We’re not conducting any fundraising with crowd sourcing sites or other means.
Nobody goes into the education field to become wealthy, but it’s a valuable reward when former students remain in communication or drop in unexpectedly to say that you made them think, believe, or made a difference. Students, colleagues, peers, readers, and others have inquired so if anyone would like to make a monetary donation to help us with airfare primarily or other expenses associated with adoption, below is a link to a PayPal donation account that I have set up. It would be appreciated, but it is certainly not necessary to continue whatever connection we share.
In trying to illustrate why members of Congress become so inaccessible once they’re inside the Beltway, it would be to belabor the obvious to say that they appear to ignore the voters back home… …even as they seem hyper-attentive when the special interests whisper in their ears. It is certainly no exaggeration to say […]