To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, October 2, 2022


How Bad Does It Have To Get?



Sharon MartinThere are so many failures crying out for a fix, where does one even start?

We want to tackle the problems. Which one is most pressing? Our refusal to address climate change? The unjust American justice system? The cresting wave of poverty? The breakdown of the agriculture system? The crumbling infrastructure? The number of people we incarcerate rather than educate?

Nothing will get fixed until we remove the corrupting influence of money in politics.

Climate change is real. Powerful people are afraid that cleaning up our act will cost them money, so their money stops any meaningful action. They pay for fake science. They sponsor real science programs to make themselves look legit. They pay off legislators who are willing to look like fools in exchange for campaign contributions.

Three strikes laws, drug laws, and dozens of others were designed to control a certain segment of the population. There’s a reason so many young men of poverty and color are behind bars. We treat the poor to hand-me-down education, hand-me-down jobs, and hand-me-down opportunities. Then, when their backs are against the wall, we shoot them down or lock them up. Our answer? Publicly traded prisons that must increase profits. For-profit schools that focus on tests from subsidiary for-profit publishers.

The private prisons and private schools use our money to pay for their own personal legislators and puppet governors.

Whatever our passions – social justice, public education, a strong middle class, or the strengthening of the American family – we must rally against big money in politics. Money corrupts.

Let’s start a petition and put it to a vote that money is not speech. All campaigns in Oklahoma will be funded by public funds and small, local donations.

No out-of-state money.

Lobbyists can continue to lobby because we believe in free speech, but they can’t fund elections.

We might not be able to limit television advertising, those half truths and all-out lies that attempt to indoctrinate us. But what if we scheduled a healthy series of live debates with unscreened questions?

Published lists of how incumbents vote on the issues should be provided to every voter. If their votes don’t reflect our needs, don’t re-elect them. One chance is enough.

Find your purpose. March for social justice. Urge legislators to limit carbon emissions. Feed the hungry. Buck the system and truly educate the children in your charge. But first, be an activist against big money in politics. It’s the fix that will make other problems easier to solve.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

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  1. You raise a good question: Where does one start? If you look at the common denominator in today’s problems, from privatized elections and voting machines, to the privatization of public schools, parks, libraries, hospitals, universities, prisons, highways, as well as military intelligence and field operations, the problem is Privatization. Truly it is the three primary elements of 35 years of bipartisan support for the Reagan Revolution – privatization, outsourcing and deregulation.

    A movement to Restore Our Commonwealth, Defend the Public Trust and the Rule of Law could be embraced by every public employee, teachers and nurses union. The message is clear: The neo-liberal experiment in smaller government and deregulation has failed.

    In fact, neo-liberalism poses the greatest single threat to our future as it systematically deconstructs civil government on behalf of Faceless Plutocrats and Billionaires who buy and sell our elected officials.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.