The role of money in politics today is out of control. Roughly $10 billion was spent during the 2011-2012 election cycle. Most of that sum went into negative, misleading ads intended to alienate and divide the citizenry. Most of the ads discourage rational and substantive discussion of important issues. All of this has a corrosive effect on representative and responsive democracy.
Here’s something key: Whether you are on the right or the left, you’re probably getting angry and alienated by democracy’s dysfunction. We need major initiatives to reduce lobbying, eliminate the revolving door and limit the role of money in our system. Ultimately, if more rigorous campaign finance laws cannot be written and passed, we may have to amend the Constitution to restrict the role of money in this democracy.
Brian T. Watson is a Salem News columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.