Jinny V. Batterson: Money and politics

June 15, 2013 

Money and politics

I recently signed an online petition protesting the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision and requesting that the Cary town government go on record as opposing this sop to moneyed interests.

For a while now, our democracy has been suffering from internal rot. In the euphoria over the 1990s collapse of the Soviet Union and communism, we had a tendency to say, “We won, hurrah for democracy!” and to become complacent. Too often since, we have forgotten that democracy, to function properly, requires informed, active participation on the part of individual citizens.

Citizens United did exactly the opposite of what its title implies – by allowing dissemination of unlimited corporate and group-sponsored candidate-related advertising, it further limited the influence any citizen could have on the electoral process.

Though the decision retained transparency provisions and campaign spending limits, subsequent political campaigns have seen larger and larger outlays by moneyed interests, some anonymous or hard to trace, to the detriment of individual citizens, who perceive the process as increasingly corrupt.

We are never likely to get money out of politics; we sorely need better information and a more-level playing field among individual people with varied interests.

Jinny V. Batterson

Cary

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