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Give and They Shall Receive

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I received an action item from The PEN (The People’s Email Network) today. 

The message encourages me to call my members of Congress, they give the phone number, and insist that we end the occupation of Iraq immediately. 

I’m writing this article to ask for your help.  I need help in understanding how we fail to see our government for the game that it is. 

I’ve written at least two articles, “The Democratic Party is not Broken” and “Priority Number One” in which I try very hard to point out that the people who are not only heading up our government, but are capable of becoming a part of the federal government do so for their own benefit and the benefit of their families and friends.  They are no more or less than legalized “Sopranos”. 

The front page of the “Perspective” section in the April 8, 2007 Contra Costa Times was splattered with pictures of Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama.  The captions under the photos told the reader how “well” Obama’s fundraising is going and showed how much money each candidate has raised thus far.  The front page of the political section of a widely distributed newspaper informs the people of the “score” in terms of money.  If this isn’t an in your face admission that politics is a game in The FUSA, what is? 

I’ve spent countless hours calling my members of Congress.  I’ve spent countless hours talking to their staffers and being told that “I’ll be sure to pass your message on to Senator Boxer” or “Senator Feinstein” or “Representative Tauscher”.  Do I know that my message was passed on?  Of course I don’t.  Not only do hundreds of thousands of people call these very same members of Congress daily, but the staffers are the people who decide whether or not Boxer, Feinstein, Tauscher or any other member of Congress should even hear the message. 

When they’re not conducting what have become photo-ops on CSPAN, these members of Congress are out fundraising so that they can make it to the “playoffs” in ’08, 10, 12, 14, etc. 

Here’s a passage from “Priority Number One”: 

“Elected officials, especially on the national level, were wealthy before they were elected or defeated, they’re wealthy after they've been elected or defeated and they’re still wealthy when they retire. I don’t believe that they even care a whole lot if they win or lose. They see politics as some sort of game and a nasty one at that.” 

I presume that The PEN truly believes that if we the people flood the phones, emails and snail mails with our demands and requests, we will make a difference in national policy. 

I know The PEN needs donations to continue its work.  So do Common Cause, MoveOn (to whom I wouldn’t donate a nickel), the ACLU, NARAL, every candidate running for office,, Truthout, the Center for American Progress, Common Dreams, OpEdNews (to whom I give most of my donations), Thom Hartmann’s sponsors, Democracy Now, to name just a few of the “Progressive” organizations.  

How do I know this?  I receive messages, email or snail mail from these organizations telling me that if I only give $25, $50 or some quantity of money, I can ensure that the “Progressive” organization will continue to “put the word out”. 

Even well meaning people play the game.  Money is what drives policy and I’ve concluded that my occasional $25 donation can’t compete with the millions of dollars that every member of Congress receives from what’s been labeled “special interest groups”. 

One can point out Howard Dean’s success in raising money in relatively small quantities via the internet.  It was called a truly grassroots effort. Let’s be honest about that effort.  Dean did raise an impressive sum of money via his internet “grassroots” efforts, but I’m willing to bet that, if Dean did receive the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2004, he would have had to receive money from “special interest groups” as well as his “grassroots”.  Once a politician begins to take money from “special interest groups”, they begin to pay special interest to the contributors.  Once the “special interest” contributors gain the ears and minds of politicians, the grass dies because the roots are ignored. 

The other part of Dean’s success was the fact that he wasn’t even successful.  Adding insult to injury, he now heads up the Democratic Leadership Council, a group whose thinking is securely affixed within the box.  There’s nothing even remotely radical about the thinking of the DLC. 

We fear that The Regime will somehow ensconce itself into the leadership of this nation before the 2008 elections and will actually become an official, text book dictatorship. 

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Michael Bonanno is an associate editor for OpEdNews.

He is also a published poet, essayist and musician who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bonanno is a political progressive, not a Democratic Party apologist. He believes it's (more...)

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