But, but, the positions pay nowhere near as much as the candidates are spending in their election bids, so what gives with the greed for money? Do you really have to ask?
With public office comes a certain amount of cache'. Although the position pays only (relatively) little, it comes with prestige and power - which ultimately leads to cash benefits. Now I know political corruption is against the law, but really, is it? According to the Supreme Court's recent 5-4 decisions, there is no known "quid pro quo" involved when a contributor pays a huge sum of money to a candidate. In other words, the wise sages sitting on the bench of the highest court in the land, firmly opine that folks give away tons of cash to folks they "believe in" without any expectation of a political/financial return! Has anyone drug tested these justices? Who in the world donates large sums of cash to politicians without some form of strings attached? Hell, governments themselves routinely attach strings when granting funds so that some control remains with the donor (see Federal Mandates). Since when has money not been a source of trouble in the age of humans?
And now we see outrageous sums of campaign cash being raised and spent for such positions as County Commissioner, School Board and Hospital Boards. Why? Although some candidates may have altruistic aims in running for these public offices, what parts of their souls do they sign away when collecting relatively huge sums of cash to run for these intensely local positions? What promises do they make to ensure they can even compete in the election cycle?
Am I the only one, or do you all see full page ads from school board candidates too? I know we talk about income disparity in America, but what about the disparity between the haves and have nots when it comes to our political arena? What if the very best candidate in a century hits the scene but because of their highly regarded positions and platforms, can't get either of the established parties or local wealthy donors to support them? What if they routinely fall between the cracks and and the mere thought of a potential candidacy (despite the value they would bring to the public), instead dies a slow death? Isn't this really what disturbs most Americans today? That qualified candidates for important public offices won't even begin to consider public service because of the cost of money (let alone time) involved? So what do we get instead? Candidates whose claims to fame are their abilities to raise political contributions instead of maintaining qualities necessary for moving both small town America and Washington!
The solution is simple. We The People, determine who we support and elect not by how big a candidate's "financial war chest" is, but instead choose a candidate by how big their chest of IDEAS for the people are. That way, real virtuous candidates can reappear on the political scene, instead of so many political "wannabes" created by corporate donors and established political machines. I can only hope I live long enough for America to wake up to this now novel approach to public service.
As President John K. Kennedy once wrote; "The United States has to move very fast to even stand still." Isn't it time for those "running" to be able to do so on their own two legs instead of the legs of those only with money?" Have a great week!