Jan 11 2009

What Price Victory #2

Category: corruption,election 2008,politicsamuzikman @ 10:06 am

Or perhaps this blog could be more accurately entitled, “To The Victor Goes The Spoils’.  In either case there are immediate and profound consequences of this last election, and in my opinion troubling consequences as well.

As a result of the recent election three U.S. Senate seats are now vacant; one each in Delaware, New York and Illinois. Current law allows for the governors of those states to appoint individuals who will fill the seats being vacated by Obama, Clinton, and Biden.  For a moment, if you can, set aside your political affiliation and think about this. This means that 32,578,952 citizens of the United States are about to be represented by individuals who were not elected but rather selected for them by one person.

I seem to remember a lot of people were very upset after the 2000 presidential race when the Supreme Court had to intervene in the tallying of election results in Florida.  Even today you can find many of the liberal persuasion who claim President Bush was “selected, not elected”.  This has been one of the cornerstones of the “Hate Bush” crowd for eight years.  While the circumstances of 2000 are clearly subject to interpretation depending on your political leaning, this current situation is not.  Yet the silence is deafening.  Why don’t those same accusers raise their voices of protest in this case when “selection” is indisputable?  The answer, of course, is obvious.

What’s tragic for our country is that the selection process in each of the 3 current cases has shown itself to be entirely corrupt.  Apparently the seat in Illinois was up for the highest bidder, The Delaware selection process seems to be nepotism at it’s best and the New York seat is about to become a coronation more reminiscent of the British House of Lords than anything resembling our democratic process.  And in all three cases the issue of qualification is given little more than lip service.  Does ANYONE want to try and make the case that Carolyn Kennedy Schlossberg is actually qualified to be a U.S. senator?

Watching the way theses 3 senate seats are being filled should make us all demand a change in the law requiring a special election to fill all vacated seats.  Instead watching the news recently has made me feel like I’m watching “The Fall Of The Roman Empire“.  In case you are unfamiliar with the admittedly mediocre 1964 film, it ends with the hero, Livius, (Stephen Boyd), besting the evil Caesar Commodus in gladiator combat.  Immediately afterward he is offered the throne by the recently-deceased leader’s hirelings.  His (excellent) reply is, “You would not find me very suitable, because my first official act would be to have you all crucified.”  He then walks away with his true love on his arm while in the background a spontaneous auction begins for the throne of Rome.

I hope it does not need to be said that I do not advocate for crucifixion of political enemies.  But I do think there are many qualified men and women who simply refuse to participate in our political process either as candidates or even voters because they see the degree to which our political process has become corrupted.  Much of the corruption, not surprisingly, is tied to money.  Influence and access to political office has become the domain of the wealthy.  As more highly qualified, moral, intelligent, and knowledgeable individuals abdicate the election process, and as more political positions are gained by means other than that process, more of us will continue to ask:

Why bother to vote?

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