To redeem democracy, get values back into politics
The checks are replacing all the balances in our public life, but the common good is not for sale.
There’s a spending binge going on right before our eyes, and not only is it bad for you and me, it’s killing democracy and it’s eroding the ancient and crucially important ideal of the common good.
Nobody living in a swing state — where the ads started early and never seem to cease — will be surprised to learn that this presidential election is on pace to be the most expensive in history. The New York Times reported recently that each candidate and their party will raise more than $1 billion apiece this election cycle. But there’s so much more money that isn’t going to the campaigns; it’s funneling into a few super PACs funded mostly by known and unknown millionaires and billionaires.
The candidates from both parties are benefiting from the deluge of money flowing into their (or their closely related) coffers. But what about the rest of us? It used to be one person, one vote. Now? One billionaire, one super PAC? There isn’t even a simple equation anymore. How many votes can a super PAC swing? This is not just a political problem but also a theological issue. Any notion of the worth and equality of all citizens as people made in the image of God is destroyed by the unequal control of money over the political process, which enshrines the worth not of the many but only the few.