You have to be living in a cave deep in the dark bowels of the Earth not to know that your government is bought and paid for.
Albert Gore Jr. was the first to make this clear to me. Even recent races for mayor of Chattanooga demonstrate it to be a fact of life.
Albert and I were good friends. We share an interest in theology and philosophy. Few people know it, but he attended Vanderbilt Divinity School. He loves to study the world's religions and philosophies. We would sit in my small conference room at the courthouse when he was in town and talk about such matters for hours.
When he ran for president, I sent him a decent campaign contribution -- decent for my financial resources -- and wrote him a letter offering to do some regional work for him. I had been very active in southeastern Tennessee politics for a decade.
The check was cashed, but there was no response on regional organizing. Two weeks later, I got a form letter asking for more money. During his campaign, there were other form letters. But still no mention of regional organizing.
My point is not to attack Gore but to show the money game is bipartisan. Obama recently wrote a note soliciting money and said he may be the only modern incumbent president to be outspent. Maybe he should be getting creative and using some new as well as time-tested political techniques
Money is the name of the game. It has become the one and only name of the game. Nobody does precinct organization, coffees and teas in homes or any of that old-fashioned stuff that used to get people elected. It's all a money game.
I got elected in '78 on less than $40,000, compared to the millions spent in recent mayoral races. I did all the things candidates did before money and attack ads took over politics. I shook hands until my hand was sore. I went to homes for little tea and coffee sippings. I had a countywide precinct organization. I regularly called my precinct contacts to see how things were going in their precinct. It's people-to-people politics.
What you've got now is polling to see where your emotional buttons are and then attack ads to push those buttons. They read us like a book and then crank us like a lawn mower.
The one thing they seldom do is activate our brains. They debate if the public insists on it, but the debates seldom deal with the full range of issues that will determine the fate of our democracy.
This really is the way it is, my fellow Americans. You will probably never realize it because the big contributors don't want you to realize it. They love winning and are willing to pay for it. Why not? They get all the favors of being "in" with the power brokers. Little things like tax breaks and government contracts.
It has almost eliminated the middle class and is rapidly creating a two-tiered "haves and have-nots" society.
We need a massive waking up. We may have already gone too far down this road to an America unfit for human habitation.
Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.