Friday, July 21, 2006

Death of Democracy?

He's done it before and he's at it again. Massey Energy boss Don Blankenship want to remold the Mountain State in his own image. He wants to make changes in the way we run government, wants government to make changes in the way we run our lives.

Mind you, he doesn't want to put himself up as a candidate so the residents can vote on whether we like him or his ideas....he just wants to spend his own millions to defeat candidates he doesn't like and set the State agenda on some of the social issues he thinks are important.

There is one absolute fact in contemporary elections; MONEY TALKS. No matter how many spaghetti dinners and street fairs a candidate attends. No matter how often he takes to talkradio. The defining factor in our elections today is who can buy the most ad time. It's TV (and to a lesser extent radio) that makes or breaks the campaign.

When a millionaire like Blankenship puts his money into the mix--WITHOUT putting himself up for consideration--the playing field is no longer level. American democracy is based on the premise that "Everyman" has a chance to be elected. But if Blankenship targets "Everyman" , it's tough to fight back. Most candidates can't match him dollar-for-dollar. And if a candidate wants to meet Blankenship's money in a fair fight, "Everyman" has to spend a lot of his time and energy raising money instead of campaigning.

I truly do NOT have the answer. The Supreme Court has ruled that spending money on campaigns is "free speech". Although I can't imagine that the Founders intended for bags full of cash to be as protected by the First Amendment as a "pamphleteer", it nonetheless IS.

But at least we need to see what Blankenship is up to. To understand the arrogance of a man who thinks his money allows him to push us around.

Maybe the Mountain State will remember it's motto "Montani Semper Liberi". And NOT "He who has the gold rules"

No comments: