Transcript for the Piece Audio version of A Citizen's Guide to Organically Grown Political Influence: How to Experience Being One Vote
A Citizen's Guide to Organically-grown Political Influence:
The Experience of Being Just One Vote
I heard Mr. What's-His-Name, the fellow who initiated the Citizen's United Lawsuit explain why he thinks we should be able to give as much money as possible to political candidates- almost anonymously. It seems that Mr. What's-His-Name would only recognize a fellow citizen if the person was also a member of - say- Sam's Club. Mr. What's-His-Name wants political influence you can buy- in large quantities- as much as you want. Mr. What's-His-Name managed to argue that money in politics is both relevant (which is why it's so, so, so important for donors to give as much as they want- anonymously) AND irrelevant, which is why all the money that wealthy Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So gave Newt Gingrich couldn't save him. Mr. What's-His-Name might think that really what he's doing is making One vote irrelevant. Thanks to Good Old "2+2= 4", one vote is still important. Ask my friend who ran for County Commissioner and won by One, yes One vote. And so, Mr. What's-His-Name and Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So, did you stay home from the polls that day? Are you not having enough experiences of Being Just One Vote? Because you seem to have forgotten that there is much political influence that money cannot buy.
Here in Maine, Organically-grown Political Influence is fed by the decomposing fumes of every-day citizens when they start thinking about the government policies that elected officials make. It is ripest at our political caucuses. This kind of political influence cannot be bought with the measly $25 contribution that Mr. What's-His-Name called insignificant: Concern about how human beings, animals, trees, birds, squirrels, rivers and even the Ozone layer- are treated by government policy. Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So cannot stay home and buy it with their debit card. They have to leave home and show up- in this case at a Caucus where every one still has just one vote. The purpose is for each of those people- with one vote each- to elect delegates who will then vote for their nominee for President of the United States. Now- other states have primaries where citizens- just like on election day- one at a time vote for who they want to be the nominee. But listen up Mr. What-His-Name- each person only gets one vote. That's the irreplaceable nutritional value of organically grown political influence. It is measured not by millions of dollars or even those lousy little $25 increments- but by one vote at a time. Multi-million dollar political ads take back seat to how well this organically grown political influence has been fed by- not just your decomposing fumes, Mr. What-His-Name and Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So- but by the guy standing next to you- and the woman across the room- and next to her and him and him. Meanwhile, Mr. What's-His-Name is busy trying to make it legal for anybody with a lot of money to pay for ads and bumper stickers and lunches and everything else that is supposed to convince people to give that one vote to a candidate. It's that experience of being one vote that going to a caucus gives for free to those who show up. That is, as long as nobody starts to feel irrelevant or thinks that real political influence the kind on multi-million dollar political ads - paid for by the friends of Mr. What's-His-Name, who still only have one vote. But as long as each us keeps showing up at Caucuses and primaries and the ballot box- doing what is free- that will never happen.Back