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Hope for the Hill

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Twenty days ago, the numbers for money raised by the presidential candidates were released. Hillary Clinton, according to the watchdog group OpenSecrets, raised $27,859,861. Barack Obama raised $21,343,292. None of the other candidates were anywhere near what Clinton or Obama rose. John Edwards, who is considered to be the third-ranked candidate, raised only $7,157,233. Millions of dollars behind, Edwards and other candidates are victims of a brutal horse race for the White House. Obama and Clinton claim their earnings are a result of “grassroots funding.” And really, that’s misleading.

“Grassroots” by definition is people or society at a local level rather than at the center of major political activity. A “grassroots movement” is therefore people at the local level making it their priority to achieve a goal. When someone talks about a grassroots movement, it means that visibly there are people out on the streets talking to people to get someone elected or get leaders to give attention to an issue. (*I have not seen Obama grassroots movements in Chicago or Clinton grassroots movements yet at all where I live; now the Kucinich campaign has been out there mobilizing people.)

To get an idea of what grassroots campaigning entails, people must really examine the makeup of America. Look at people’s level of income in America and look at poverty figures in America. See where debt, health insurance, and employment levels lie. Break down demographics by race and take a look at blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and other immigrants. Also, break it down by age and by gender too.

After looking at the makeup of our population statistically, think about how these asserted claims of “grassroots campaigning” are half true. A “grassroots movement” really means going to door-to-door in all communities poor and rich, hispanic, black, asian, immigrant, and white, and to colleges/schools, factories & mills, markets, small businesses, community circles/parks, etc. True movements require that you get up off of that seat by the phone and your computer and talk to people in your community who care. In addition to that, it also means forming cohesive relationships with people so you can run social and political movements in your community better. Is the Obama or Hillary campaign really doing this or is it taking a "rock star/celebrity" approach where it razzles and dazzles people? 

A “grassroots movement” is led by ordinary and everyday people. And these everyday people concern themselves with issues such as the ones the media throws out at them: the Iraq war, health care, jobs, immigration, education, environment, social security, military, terrorism, abortion, etc. And they are also wiling to talk about what really creates these issues (issues that politicians universally gloss over and ignore): the role of the Federal Reserve, trade policy, economic redistribution, the role and budget of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, nuclear disarmament, allocation of military procurement, reduction of the military budget, the roles and policies of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and similar multilateral agencies, crime, punishment and the prison explosion, the war on drugs, corporate welfare, energy policy, forest policy, the destruction of small farmers and ranchers, Israel, and the corruption of the political system. These people range from the lowest ranks in America to the middle and upper middle class and sometimes can be found in the wealthy few in America but rarely.

For Obama and Clinton’s claims to not be misleading or half true, they would have to be mobilizing the poor to middle class Americans with hopes of speaking to them on the real issues. But their issues are corporate and establishmentarian and aren’t issues “ordinary” people want to talk about. If you go to their websites, you see how they homogenize their issues to sound good to upper and middle class and also appeal to the lower classes in America. Both speak to the liberal side of the corporate/establishment part of America, which is the upper middle class to the top 1% of America who have a conscience and feel they should care about what they do. In response to these concerns, Obama and Clinton adopt liberal humanitarian policies and liberal interventionism policies that involve free market and warlike policies with the “moral” understanding that what is implemented will be for the “greater good.” For example, America won’t strike with nuclear weapons but will carpet bomb nations back into the Stone Age if absolutely necessary. (This is the same mentality fueling theminds of people against gas chambers but who are for lethal injection when imposing the death penalty.)

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Both have PACs or political action committees that have existed for at least more than two years now. Hillary has HillPac and Obama has Hopefund. PACs like these allow the candidates to not accept corporate money or lobbyist money personally by allowing these entities to donate to the PACs instead and support them. PACs also render true “grassroots movements” unnecessary. Hopefund or HillPac can do the extra work, raise the extra money, and fill in the gaps that need to be filled for Obama’s or Clinton’s campaign. While the PACs make claims to be “leadership PACs” set up to fund the campaigns of other politicians (this is done so people don’t think candidates are doing anything “unethical” because PACs are a government sanctioned loophole to get around the limitations set in campaign laws), if you try to go to their PAC websites, you will find they directly go to their campaign websites, which means for now any donations to other candidates are discouraged.

Clinton and Obama are waging “grassroots campaigns." However, the campaigns are waging safe and secure campaigns in safe and secure areas  of America that will secure their chances of winning in the easiest possible way.

Both are mobilizing individuals within businesses so that they don’t have to accept money from corporations. Both are mobilizing individuals within lobbyist groups so that they do not have to accept money from a lobbyist group. Both are going to college campuses and mobilizing youth who are receptive to their stale messages of change because youth want change (in the process, however, they are pacifying people who feel they should constantly question government). But all of these arenas and areas where rallies are held are all part of Clinton’s and Obama’s campaign to play it safe and perhaps reach that 1 billion mark in campaign donations by the time this horse race is over.

Obama and Hillary know where the money is at and it’s not with the people who care necessarily. As a result, it’s those people without time and money who lose because the people with money and free time (because they don’t have to work to stay above poverty) get the policies that benefit them at the expense of the lower and middle classes in America.

As an Obama supporter recently told me while I was petitioning, why cover the 47 million uninsured if they are going to make me wait longer in emergency rooms or doctor’s offices? Survival of the fittest: The well off swim while the dirt poor sink.

(Look for articles on the birth of Obama’s campaign and the birth of Hillary’s campaign. And look for more articles to come on corporations and businesses donating to support Obama and Hillary. And Edwards for that matter. In the meantime... Peace.)

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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