It’s time to take back America. Greed and corruption surround our elected officials and politics no longer has much to do with public service. No sooner are candidates elected than they have to start fundraising to pay for their re-election campaigns. We need to stop treating our elected representatives like products for sale. Honest campaigning has been supplanted by slick advertisements filled with propaganda, and outright lies. As a result, to get elected, a campaign is almost always forced to “go negative” and spend as much as possible to degrade the competition. This results in election-time bombardment of radio and television programming with the never-ending bash ads we ALL hate. After being brow-beaten and brainwashed by these abbreviated and derogatory views of the candidates and issues up for election, we go to the polls erroneously convinced we know who and what we are voting for. Sadly, it takes so much money to produce these misleading campaign ads that politicians are already “bought and sold” by the time they take office. Virtually every politician must answer to the special interest money that paid for the costly media advertising required to win. This vicious cycle of money and influence has corrupted our political system. In short, the average American currently has no representation.
There is a simple way to change the system, to take big money out of politics forever and reinvigorate the government, transforming it into something that actually works for us, the voting public. It begins by using the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a public mechanism designed to protect the US population from misuse of the power of modern electronic media. By putting limits on how politicians and political special interests can use radio and television, we can severely lessen the money required to get votes. By taking all political advertising off of the commercial airwaves, and relegating all of it to separate, free channels that anyone can turn to at their discretion, we force the politicians to revert back to more grass-roots methods of campaigning where discourse and debate replaces slander and innuendo.
Think about it: television and radio programming free from attack ads! Instead, viewers and listeners would be able to tune-in to free access channels reserved for this purpose. All qualified entities running for office, and/or promoting a stand on a proposition, would be given free and equal time to present their cases. They could use as much money (or as little) as they desire to produce their messages, but the air time would be FREE and allocated equally. This way, a publicly funded entity could afford to compete with those funded by wealthy individuals, corporations, and Super PACs. It would become more of a battle of ideas and less dependent on expensive advertising.
The FCC is already involved in censoring dangerous products like liquor and tobacco from advertising on the public’s airwaves; it can be argued that current political advertising is even more dangerous to our public well-being than messages promoting the use of these drugs would be. Our political system is addicted to this expensive propaganda, and it is in the public’s interest that Congress mandate the FCC to curtail and regulate its use. Those who would say that this is a limit on “free speech” are basing their argument on a misnomer: currently there is nothing “free” about political speech; it is the most expensive form of speech ever created. As stated earlier, that’s the problem. The solution is to actually make it, literally, free. Open and free debates on designated channels, with enough time to actually present reasoned arguments, would replace the fear-mongering, snapshots, and slogans used to influence voters today. Would people actually watch or listen to these political channels? Only if they are interested. We wouldn’t be force-fed politics like we are today. If voters never tune-in, they would be no more ignorant of the facts than they are now, and they would have a better chance of actually getting the facts if this one, simple reform was enacted. It’s at least worth a try, don’t you think?