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Political and Other Reflections from Robert

A different kind of election - in my dreams?

Big money has been ubiquitously understood as the bane to any fair, democratic electoral process. It was understood by our Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, and Dwight Eisenhower. Our current President seems to almost understand this, but his will to commit to an act on this understanding is suppressed in the commonly held belief that this "necessary evil" has got to be used one more time because "so much is at stake."

How many times do we fall for this line? In recent years, I have watched the $20 million war chest of the Democratic party that was supposed to be used to contest voter fraud disappear in 2004 as Ohio's results were ignored by Kerry. In January of 2010, we watched both Republican AND Democrats in the House of representatives allow to lapse the one piece of legislation that would held back unlimited funds to be donated by both individuals and corporations. And with Citizens United getting their marching orders from Karl Rove and friends, it is ludicrous for Democrats to think that be hitting the phone banks and milking the millions, that they will be in any way capable of keeping up with the Rove-machine.

My good Democratic friends have said they feel no choice but to make donations - that it is to give up to not. But I was wondering...

What would it look like if all good progressives and Democrats gave absolutely NO money to the political machine and just decided to come out a vote in unprecedented numbers? Is this a teachable moment? Is it possible to demonstrate that principle trumps funds? Is it possible to build such a strong grass-roots movement as to provide in-the-street and neighbor-to-neighbor dialogues and raise the political bar of this country above the 24-hour fear based media drone?

For certain, it is clear that corporations and big money are on both sides of the fence. But, I believe that the rhetoric of the Democratic party - at least in my mind - comes closer to our country's revolutionary ideals. It makes me think that if we can get the election to go strongly in the direction of a healthy democratic majority that the lip service they seem to pay to campaign finance reform, single-payer health care, and an end to tax cuts for the super-wealthy individuals and corporations will be more than just lip service.

So, an election not based on money... If not now, I can assure that there is almost ZERO chance of there ever being a when...
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