Thursday, November 3, 2011
The First Prime Grievance
The observation the representatives of a republican government listen more keenly to those possessing great amounts of wealth than those without is one at least two thousand and eighty one years old. Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman who was alive and writing seventy years before the supposed birth of Christ, noted this openly. While this can be a flaw in every type of government, it is most prevalent and arguably most malevolent in representative ones.
The 'Movement' (as I will henceforth identify the disparate groups demanding social reform) is strongly fixated on this fact, and views it as an evil that must be mitigated if not excised completely. However, in order to understand their grievance in this matter, it is first necessary to explain the current relationship between the common citizenry and the government, and corporations and the government.
Officially, the current system is thus: private citizens as an aggregate vote for an official who has either nominated themselves or has been nominated by their respective political party. It thus follows that a candidate would need to advertise his political platform (what laws, values, and ideals one seeks to uphold while in office), and since the most effective means of communication require funding to access, these candidates are allowed to be funded by their supporters. Ideally, this would ensure that candidates of a specific platform supported by their community would garner the most votes, and subsequent funding to better broadcast their platform and further receive more votes, creating a positive feedback loop that supports the candidate to election.
What the movement views as the de facto scenario is that private interests with wealth well beyond that possessed by individual citizens are able to, through the channel of campaign contributions, use their funds to either significantly benefit candidates with a platform beneficial to their agendas or influence a candidate with a non-conducive platform to benefit their agendas in office while operating contrary during the election. It is by this means that private interests with massive financial resources can wield political influence greater than the sum of their composite citizenry.
The influence exhibited by these wealthy private entities waxes greater when additional terms are taken into consideration. The former candidate, now representative, is further incensed to legislatively support their agendas in return for further 'campaign funding' for when they are the incumbents in a re-election.
Of course the question of “to what harm?” arises, which while I believe to be immediately salient, may require a brief summary.
In short, the influence these organizations exert over congress bends it towards favoring the high-level, managerial, and leadership positions more often than the labor comprising them and the public existing around them, often to the labor's and public's expense.