On issues that matter …

The ideology of money in politics September 22, 2012

Media blown controversies on the American presidential campaign trail are much like sand storms in a desert – if you get caught in one, you get sand in your eyes, and when you manage to escape it, you escape with nothing more than well, sand in your eyes.

If my sand storm analogy sounds corny, I apologize, but confess it comes inspired as it were by my brother who lives in Dubai, UAE… (UAE-desert-sand… of course you see the connection)

Okay, back on campaign controversies, let me talk about this latest storm before it settles down – Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his comments at a fundraiser on the 47% Americans who he admits will not vote for him because they are the non-tax paying, government dole taking, lazy section of the population who will vote for President Obama anyway. At the same Boca Raton, Florida fundraiser, Romney was on a roll when he went on about unskilled immigrants coming to America and not leaving; and about Palestinians not wanting peace.

To a room full of supporters who paid $50,000 a plate, for Romney to say that he is “just a church mouse” referring to his own wealth, is a cruel joke on the 47% Americans, even if he didn’t vote for him.

Romney’s own words, which came as clarification the next day, that his comments were “not elegantly stated” undermines the portentous import of the message behind them.

So here’s an ‘outsider’s’ take from the said brother who lives in Dubai, UAE, and I quote:

“There has been enough bashing in the media about Romney’s now infamous “47% American Victims” who won’t vote for him, to the Palestinians who are not interested in peace.

But the question is, why did he say this and to whom? It was his fundraiser and he said exactly what his financiers/donors would like to hear.

How about them – these (campaign) financiers? Obviously Romney was trying to appease them so that millions could be poured into his election fund. Would they have agreed to fund him if he said anything otherwise or not what they like to hear? Was Romney voicing his thoughts or was he voicing his financiers’ thoughts. Now this is scary!”

How about that? That’s a perspective, which ominously throws light on the control of the corporate class over the political class, and by extension, over the Executive in Washington DC.

Indeed, when campaigns, elections and political offices in general ride on money – and we are talking big money running into hundreds of millions of dollars – ideology and real issues become mere tag words which can be changed depending on which audience you are addressing.

Is this the real Romney? Does Romney really believe that 47% Americans do not take responsibility for themselves and want the government to take care of them? Or is the Romney that stands with shirt sleeves rolled up, before blue collar workers and immigrants and talks about understanding their struggles, the real Romney.

Perhaps neither. But the one that is sure to prevail is the persona that fits in with the ideology of the deep pockets.

Washington DC has long been the betting ground for corporate America. It is their money that shapes policy and it is their money that writes the talking points for politicians.

So whether it is the 47% non-tax paying Americans or the 52% tax-paying Americans, elections are never about them. They are and will continue to be about the 1% that funds them.

Srirekha Chakravarty


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