Bil Browning

COW: Adam Polaski on Election Reform

Filed By Bil Browning | October 02, 2011 5:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Adam Polaski, election reform, LGBT rights, two party system

My piece, "Why Did Obama Engage GOP Candidates" spawned quite a few comments that mostly focused on throwing the baby out with the bath water. Thumbnail image for comment-of-week.jpgMany readers felt that judging the President solely on LGBT issues was shortsighted and community members threatening not to vote for Obama because he hasn't done enough for our issues were being foolish.

Associate Editor Adam Polaski jumped in mid-thread and asks the important question. How do we fix the problem?

I agree with your comments.

More than just agreeing though, I sometimes find myself worrying that my concern for LGBT rights is almost part of the problem. Obama and other Democrats can stand up and say, "look what we're doing for LGBT rights," and often, people who are otherwise politically uninvolved but who care deeply about their gay or trans friend can respond with a "good! I knew I voted for the right guy." But the party's generally positive, "progressive" record on LGBT rights does not equate to a truly progressive party.

I'm sure that part of the problem is our campaign finance laws. It takes politicians tons of money to get elected, and in order to get that money, they need to make deals or promises with corporations, which put them in bed with those corporations. And then after they get elected, all that matters is reelection. That's a bad system. But how much could we fix with campaign finance reform? Is that enough to make real change?

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Every 2 years the entire house of representatives is up for election. The House, btw, is constitutionally in control of all budgetary matters. Every state has "write in candidates" legislation.

Timing is everything. A movement on the web can go viral in a few hours. This could be the year of the internet revolution but only if it is timed well. If it is too early the plantation owners will be able to take steps to blunt or castrate it (pick your favorite word). Strange as it may seem Lisa Murkowski showed the way in 2010 in the Alaska senate race.

Although it may seem a stretch 435 representatives, the president, vice president and 33 senators could be replaced in 2012 with people who are not controlled by the plantation owners. That would be much better than campaign finance reform.

Put it this way.

If you are legally married then you can visit your ill partner in hospital and be treated as next of kin. Hip hip hurray, right?

However if you cannot afford health insurance (which 50.000,000 Americans still can't) then hospital visitation is irrelevant, as your husband will die at home, untreated because the medical industry values profit before his life.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a very promising campaign as I think it identifies the root of our country's problems - which is not whether LGBT people can get married, or whether a women can have an abortion, or whether immigration must stop.

Inequitable wealth distribution and a political establishment whose primary purpose is to protect the interests of corporations is what the country's biggest problems are.

And until that is addressed then issues like marriage equality, and abortion serve the purpose of hiding some massive, unaddressed problems we have.

The biggest problem this country is facing is the fact that we have the facade of a democracy, but that's as far as it goes.