Wanda Rohl is running a true grassroots, all volunteer, genuine progressive congressional campaign against a Republican opponent (Rep. Adam Kinzinger) with almost limitless resources, and she can’t do it alone. But before I go on about that, I'd like to segue into a movie metaphor.
For those familiar with the 1953 WWII novel "Catch 22," by author Joseph Heller, or with the 1970 film by the same name, you no doubt remember the conundrum raised by the Army regulation titled “Catch-22.” Basically, it goes something like this:
The only way to be let out of military service is to prove a mental disorder that suggests imminent fear of personal harm should you remain in the service. However, Catch-22 also states that if you know that you face imminent danger you can’t possibly have a mental disorder so are ineligible for release from duty. If you haven’t read the book or seen the film, I highly recommend that you pick up one or both.
What does that have to do with politics? Simple: The current Catch-22 surrounding money in politics.
Although money in politics has long had a corrupting influence, certain limits had, in the past, still allowed candidates with more modest means to triumph or at least mount a respectable campaign. Since the 2010 Citizens United ruling (or, more accurately, Corporate Citizens United Against Voters), virtually limitless and often secret contributions were made legal. The candidate who can attract the greatest number of high dollar corporate, private and Super PAC donors is almost guaranteed a victory. In short, Citizens United has put our government up for sale to the highest bidder.
A July 14, 2012 New Your Times article “How to Get Our Citizens Actually United,” by Drew Westen, shows that across the political spectrum roughly 80% of all Americans believe “Politicians should work for us and not their corporate sponsors.”
The article includes a graph which illustrates where people stand on money in politics. Take a close look. It illustrates you are not alone in your disgust with money's corrupting influence in politics.
Here is where you have your political Catch-22. While the overwhelming majority of Americans agree that money has corrupted politics and want to take back control of our elections from corporate interests, those corporate interests fund near limitless ads that help defeat lesser-funded candidates at will. So if you don’t take money you are almost guaranteed to lose; if you do take money you are part of the problem but get elected anyway. Just like the Catch-22 in the novel, it doesn’t make sense.
So how does a candidate in the Citizens United aftermath remain true to their ideals and stand against the SCOTUS decision? Do they refuse big money and hope for enough small donations to help them compete? Or do they take the money and consider it a necessary evil to make it into office where they can fight for change? These are not easy questions to answer.
A candidate can remain an idealist, but if the people don’t come out in droves to donate time and money they stand little chance against Super PAC opposition. If they take corporate cash they risk appearing hypocritical and alienating their base.
So there is only one answer for citizens who truly want to help get BIG money out of politics and help overturn Citizens United. We MUST—and that all caps is intentional— actively, with both funds and mobilization, support candidates who renounce Super PAC, national union, and other large donor contributions in order to stay true to what we all want: BIG Money out of politics.
If we don’t support these candidates we are giving tacit approval to the broken system and will never get the change we seek.
That brings me to our Illinois 16th Congressional District campaign. And before you leave and say “But I’m not from Illinois,” think again. A 16th district progressive win in Illinois by a candidate who stands by her principles and has proven her resolve against BIG money in politics is one more voice in Washington to help fix the problem. Maybe your rep hasn’t summoned the nerve to fight this fight, but Wanda Rohl (IL-16) has.
Wanda Rohl has bet her candidacy on the notion that the American people—not just those in the 16th Congressional—feel so strongly about ending the BIG money ownership of government that she has risked annihilation by a Koch brothers-funded, anti-Affordable Care Act Republican, who has raised more money than Wanda could dream of raising, and most from a handful of wealthy out of state donors. It’s Wisconsin all over again, only on a national scale.
So whether or not you reside in Illinois, any and all support you can send Wanda Rohl’s way will help to prove to the corporatists who would buy our government that the American people are fed up and willing to fight to take back our government.
Wanda can’t do it without all of our help. Whether you can afford only a dollar, three, five, ten, or maybe a hundred or more, every penny will give her campaign the People Power she needs to take on the power players and have at least a fair shot.
Bear in mind, Wanda has not received support from any big dollar donors. Her donations have all been small amounts from real people just like you. But she needs more—lots more—help from anyone who is as tired of BIG money controlling government as she and her all volunteer staff is.
If you help fuel the campaign with your donations, Wanda and her volunteers WILL fight the fight. You can help through donations, comments on postings, volunteering or just by sharing and tweeting the heck out of every Daily Kos piece or other articles on Wanda Rohl’s fight.
Then perhaps other candidates, maybe not in this election but elections going forward, will do likewise until Citizens United is overturned and this political Catch-22 is shelved forever.
Please visit Wanda's campaign web site! Learn more about the issues that concern her, sign up to volunteer, or contribute to this truly grassroots congressional campaign at: Wanda Rohl for Congress
Like her Facebook page at: Citizens For Wanda Rohl
Follow her on Twitter: @RohlforCongress
Check out Wanda on Youtube: Rohl for Congress Youtube Channel
Help us #Rohl2DC!
You can make a difference!