Monday, May 23, 2011

The Washington Purchase

by Jimulacrum

In a recent article titled “Jewish Donors Warn Obama on Israel,” The Wall Street Journal reports that mostly unspecified “Jewish donors and fund-raisers are warning the Obama re-election campaign that the president is at risk of losing financial support because of concerns about his handling of Israel.” The coverage is less than critical—framing the story as being about Obama’s need to improve his image with Jewish donors—and ends with a rundown of political factoids and goings-on. Nowhere is there a question about whether it is acceptable for campaign donors to threaten the president over his policies regarding a foreign nation.

In related news, PressTV interviewed former U.S. congresswoman Cynthia McKinney about the influence of special interests in Washington, D.C. McKinney explains to the interviewer that special interests “have positioned themselves in between the political decision-makers and the people themselves, ” and that “[t]he process now is more responsive to those special interests than it is to the values and the wishes of the American people.” She even claims that certain campaign donors required her to sign a “pledge” into order to fund her campaign, “a commitment that you would vote to support the military superiority of Israel” and to continue sending vast amounts of foreign aid to Israel.

These stories are far from anomalous events. No one with accurate knowledge of the U.S. political system can have any illusions about the influence of money in the legislative and executive branches. A cursory peek into the campaign financing machine reveals unsettling truths about the real interests of those in power, beyond the lip service of so many stump speeches. Not a single one of the major parties’ candidates has not been made an offer to use his power to promote the causes any number of “donors” for some amount of money. A disappointing number have refused to do so.

The situation is troubling enough when those “donors”—more properly bribers—are wealthy Americans and corporations that purchase face-time and consideration from politicians who should be representing their constituents. It becomes a much graver matter, however, when Washington, D.C. becomes wallpapered with checks drawn in a foreign currency. It is unacceptable for those who hold the public trust to sell their power for any sum, but selling their loyalty to a foreign country is treasonous, even if that country is not a declared enemy.

Of all the obstacles that the U.S. faces, none will be solved unless this problem is solved first. No government can do what is best for its country when the allegiance of its decision-makers is sworn to another country or cause. No president can proudly or correctly lead his people when his hand is guided by thinly veiled bribes and outright threats.

The solution is not to regulate or otherwise “clean up” campaign financing, as so many of the bribe-takers have suggested. The system of bribery does not need to be fine-tuned; it needs to be ended completely and recognized for the crime it is. Representative government is incompatible with such sordid affairs, and as long as the wheeling and dealing continues, all Americans are being robbed of the representation they have paid for, and that so many have fought and died to preserve.

Regardless of one’s opinions on Israeli issues, bribing public servants has no place in any kind of fair, reasonable political system. Demanding that a congressperson sign a pledge to support a foreign power, even if doing so is not in the best interests of the U.S., is a deliberate crime against the entire country and its people. This kind of behavior invariably leads to the same kind of tyranny that the U.S. was formed to defy, the same abhorrent injustice that is the antithesis of democracy—a long line of power-brokers overriding the will of the people.

Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are immersed in this problem. Electing a candidate from either party to any office is not a step in the direction of fixing anything, no matter what the candidate says while campaigning. These are the same two parties that wrote the rules that allow them to take bribes without punishment. In fact, because of how systemic the problem is, it is unlikely that any candidate whatsoever can enter the the federal government without being corrupted by these practices.

At its heart, bribery is not an issue of politics, despite that it plays out most prominently in that arena. It is an issue of law enforcement, and it is more urgent and far-reaching than any common robbery or assault. It is a robbery of power, and an assault upon justice and freedom. Terrorism may destroy property and lives, but systemic bribery destroys the American way of life beyond the capability of any physical attack. Political bribers and bribe-takers are enemies of the United States, foreign or domestic, and they must be treated as such.

American police and soldiers who have taken an oath to the United States and its Constitution are bound to defend their fellow citizens, even if it means acting against their civilian commanders. The politicians cannot be trusted to act against their own ill practices, least of all while they stand to suffer loss by such action. Someone else must step in and right the wrong. Crimes of this magnitude cannot be allowed to continue, nor can they go unpunished, or it will be the undoing of this once-great nation.

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