Monday, September 18, 2000

Week of 09/18/2000

Real Political Reform - One Donor At A Time
- by David Matthews 2

"One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation." - Thomas Brackett Reed

If there was ever an award for pure unmitigated gall in 2000, no doubt it would have to go to the team of Vice President Al Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman.

On Monday, Gore and Lieberman were on the quick, using the recently-released report by the Federal Trade Commission on violence in the media to condemn Hollywood and the entire entertainment industry. They demanded that the movie producers and music makers and software distributors "clean up their act" and threatened that if the Gore-Lieberman ticket became the Gore-Lieberman Regime, they would FORCE Hollywood to reform by way of legislation and regulation.

On Wednesday night, though, the same self-righteous duo were in New York, wheeling and dealing with members of the very same actors and producers they had just condemned as being the devil incarnate. According to the Washington Times, the Gore-Liberbman ticket has so far brought in $8 million from the entertainment industry.

Oh yes, Al and Joe are quick to condemn, but they’re even quicker to cash the checks of those they condemn.

Hypocritical? You can bet your first born it is!

But you won’t hear that from the Democrats or from members of the entertainment industry that support them. Oh no. Instead, they’ll crank up the political spin and the denial and they’ll say that THEY aren’t the ones Gore and Lieberman rant about. Oh, not them!

In many ways this reminds me from a passage from George Orwell’s book Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Strange, though, that when the politicians condemn Hollywood, they don’t just condemn SOME of the producers, actors, distributors, and designers. They lump up everything that comes out of the entertainment world, judge it all to be guilty, brand it all with a Nathaniel Hawthorne-like scarlet letter I for "inappropriate", and then demand they come before Congress to explain themselves.

This has to make one wonder just where a possible Gore-Lieberman Regime would go in six months. Would they go after Hollywood like they promised? Or would they "go soft" on them because of the generous contributions they made?

Of course, this is not the first time the Gore-Lieberman ticket was found guilty of political hypocrisy. One of the first acts the newly-forged Democratic team did just prior to the Democratic National Convention was to strong-arm Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez to call off her planned fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion. They condemned any connection to Playboy and founder Hugh Hefner, but were very quick to cash the generous financial donations made by Hef and daughter Christie.

That brings us to two possible trains of thought here. Either Hef and the entertainment people who are contributing oodles of cash to Robobore and his Orthodox sidekick are fools who are throwing their money away; or Gore and Lieberman are really nothing more than political whores whose words are meaningless and their actions are decided upon by the people who give them money.

As always, the truth lies somewhere in between those two ideas. Either way, it does not look good for either the politicians, nor the people who contribute to them.

For that matter, it doesn’t look good for the rest of America, either. Politicians love to claim they represent "the people", but how can they represent "the people" if their support is for sale to the highest contributor? And if they aren’t whores, how - in any good conscience - can they accept donations from groups that support issues that they oppose? That should go against any kind of ethics and morality they claim to possess.

So how do we change that? How do we get the political system to be the way it should be instead of the corrupt system that it is now?

Well let’s get brutally honest here.. we cannot expect change to happen from inside the system. The bulk of the career politicians are far too engrained in their corruption to even want to change, and those rare genuine honest politicians are far too outnumbered to have any meaningful effect on the system.

No, the only way we are going to change the system is to do it ourselves, with our wallets and with our votes.

It’s really very simple, folks. If you don’t like what a certain politician says, don’t vote for him, and for God’s sake, don’t give him any of your money!

Controversial screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, of "Showgirls" and "Basic Instinct" fame, has understood this. He took out a full-page ad asking Hollywood movers and shakers to stop sending money to the Gore campaign team. He knows that the only way to hold politicians to their word and to hold them responsible for what they do is to get people to stop supporting them.

Eszterhas’ idea may be paddling upstream, but it is by far the only REAL solution to keeping politicians honest.

Ask yourself this question.. WHY are you giving your money to a politician who would oppose everything you support? If that candidate is one of character and virtues, no amount of money will dissuade him or her from their views. All you’ll be doing is just putting in someone who will make your life miserable. And if that candidate is a political whore, then what is to stop someone else with even more money from getting "your" candidate to betray you? Either way, you’ll lose.

So don’t give them your vote or your money. Support only the candidates that really DO support the things you do, and who WILL vote the way you want them to vote. And urge your friends to do the same. Believe me, it’s not going to have a measurable affect overnight, but getting enough people to stop throwing their money away to political whores WILL have a positive effect on the political system.

We keep on wanting the system to change. Well, the only way to do it is the hard way.. one voter at a time, and one campaign donor at a time.

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