To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Friday, February 26, 2021

Observercast

The Root Of All Evil

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BY SHARON MARTIN

Sharon-Martin-272x300When Donald Trump trash-talked Susanna Martinez, governor of New Mexico and chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, she talked back. She and Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina, think Trump is hurting the “Republican brand” with his anti-immigrant talk.

These are predictable responses from a party who needs minority voters. What’s also predictable is where these comments were made: the Florida mansion of David Koch at a fundraiser for the Republican Governor’s Association. Republican governors who enlist the poor into their schemes to cut taxes and rip worker’s rights are part of the whole corporate-takeover plan.

Forgive me if I sound like a conspiracy theorist. It might have seemed so, before Citizens United and “corporations are people, my friend,” but the plan is now out in the open for everyone to see.

Alas, the Koch Brothers have a Trump problem. They have given up on the top job this round, but that won’t stop them from fundraising and engineering down ticket. A Democratic president can’t get much done with a Republican Senate and Congress. And even more damage can be done at the state level.

What the U.S. has is a corruption problem. Money, huge sums of it, decides the topics of discussion in state and federal legislatures, what topics make it to the floor, and who can vote for common sense legislation without losing the funding he or she needs to be re-elected.

There are plenty of problems we can tackle – gun violence, civil rights, equal opportunity, education, access to health care, living-wage jobs, affordable college – but we won’t get to any of those things until we revisit Citizens United, until we get the huge sums of dark money out of the electoral system.

For example, polls consistently show that a majority of Americans, including gun owners, want to see expanded background checks for gun purchases. We all want more done to keep killing machines out of the hands of the mentally unstable. Why can’t it be done?

The short answer is, “NRA campaign financing.”

If campaign contributions were limited to $250 per person per candidate, including contributions by corporations, unions, and political action committees, and if all donations were subject to scrutiny by a free press, how might the system change?

What if billionaires couldn’t fund an organization that writes pro-corporate legislation for state legislatures?

What if the insurance industry couldn’t override the wishes of doctors and other health professionals concerning universal access to health care?

What if it were the people’s voices that candidates heard and not all that talking money?

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