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This is the day that quarterly candidate financial reports are due at the FEC, so campaign press releases filled with braggadaccio -- justified or not -- are piling up in many bloggers' and reporters' email boxes. I know I'm supposed to be excited about the fact that many of the candidates I support are doing incredibly well in the area of campaign donations.

I know that as a political blogger I'm expected to rush to the keyboard and try to "scoop" other sites by being among the first to reveal the official numbers. I know I'm supposed to plug in the always boring and totally predictable candidate quotes about how "grateful" they are for all the support and how they will use it to change everything that needs changing in Washington. But I just can't do it today.

I was off wandering on the web, from link to link, wincing at explicitly bloody photos of the Tibetan victims of Chinese brutality. I found myself reading more than I have in weeks about the seemingly intractable problems we face due to global warming, habitat destruction, water depletion and exploding food prices in already starvation-filled parts of the world.

I checked out the latest body counts from Iraq and other "troublespots" around the world. And then I came back to my email boxes and saw all the press releases bragging about tens of thousands or even millions of dollars raised by politicians to buy ads from corporate media outlets and pay their "experts," and it made me want to wretch. Or cry. Can any culture have its priorities and methods of addressing them more screwed up than ours does at this moment in time?

I found myself wishing that some candidate, any candidate, would decide to take all that money, boldly proclaim they'd be running exactly zero slick ads with that same damned person with the same sickly sweet voice as the narrator, and announce they were sending the money to those in real need, right now, instead. Imagine the impact that would have. It might actually make their polling numbers jump 10 points. (Just kidding, but you have to use the preferred lingo to get their attention.)

I might like to encounter a candidate who'd force his or her media people to write at least one real sentence at least one time in a press release that sounds like a real human being is talking. Even better, the candidate might write the release on their own, in their own words. Risky, I know. Beyond the pale.

Or how about this? Instead of appearing at another one of those campaign fundraising parties with the snack trays and the white wine, how about gathering your supporters together to go on a volunteer mission to some charity doing good work to help real people in real pain? To show you really care about what's going on in our community and will do something real about it that goes beyond spouting careful talking points drafted by highly paid consultants?

I'm sure I'll get back to "normal" soon, but today I see a sea of pain all over the globe, sickening overconsumption ruining all that's sacred, degrading conditions and hypocrisy and greed ruling everything -- and I just can't pretend that political campaigns fought in the same old, same old, same old ways will have any genuine impact even if my favored candidates win. For they'll move into the same old, same old, same old government slots to play the games that have failed us so tragically for so long.

It's hard to take the same old, same old, same old approaches seriously today. We seem surrounded by emergencies of the first order with only business-as-usual politicos -- dependent on the cynical and phoney baloney tools of public relations spin -- to take them on. It scares me.

Crossposted on: Democracy for New Mexico

Originally posted to barbwire on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 03:57 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I just (5+ / 0-)

    can't help myself today. We face so many horrendously serious challenges that the day-to-day political routine can seem so empty and meaningless.

    Visit my blog DemocracyForNewMexico: NM grassroots politics and activism

    by barbwire on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 03:58:57 PM PDT

    •  I must admit... (0+ / 0-)

      that when I think about the shear amount of dollars raised just in the presidential nomination battle, I too have thought about how that money could have been put to better use.  I counter that thought with the understanding that for now, this is how candidates get elected.  If you have no money, people don't hear about you as a candidate.

      We do not to change the way our candidates are selected, more free tv air time, more free radio air time, etc., but until that happens, we need the money flowing to the candidates (especially those I support like Obama!)

      •  Money is (0+ / 0-)

        one thing. But does the whole fundraising thing have to be accompanied by the fake, vapid press releases? Sheesh, at the local and congressional level races, reading a press release is like having a dull toothache.

        Visit my blog DemocracyForNewMexico: NM grassroots politics and activism

        by barbwire on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 04:36:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, but... (0+ / 0-)

          perhaps they have found the press releases actually gain them contributions.  For local races, state races and congressional level races, I think we just need more candidate forums and debates, to introduce the candidates to the public.  Locally, we have a community forum both for primary and general for candidates of all local races to come and address the community.  Unless you belong to a club or the dec, this is the only opportunity to meet and greet the candidates (who only speak for 3 minutes).

    •  You cannot heal the world yourself (0+ / 0-)

      And the most effective tool we have for doing so is honest Democracy.  Pitching pennies at individual causes is good, and does no harm, but it is also no harm to elect a real representative government to stop the destructive policies that cause this pain in the first place.

      Call me slippy "Hussein" toad. I'm one of them.

      by slippytoad on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 04:34:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  lots more money (0+ / 0-)

    cash is piling up all over the place and with all the races brewing, we're going to need it.  Donate donate donate ladies and gentleman.  The candidates need your money to sweep the Republicans out of relevance.  You can check out the latest list from electioninspectino as to which races should be competetive if they get the funds they need to compete.  http://electioninspection.wordpress....

    •  I don't think you got (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sacrelicious, drchelo

      the spirit of my post somehow.

      I give to candidates, raise money for candidates, volunteer for candidates but on days like this the whole process seems contrived, off base and way, way too slick.

      Visit my blog DemocracyForNewMexico: NM grassroots politics and activism

      by barbwire on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 04:14:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think I feel ya (0+ / 0-)

        First time I went to Vegas, for a Union conference, I was walking through the casino looking up at all the "progressives" rolling up and all I could think was "What a f#@*ing waste."  All the good that money could do...  I couldn't keep the thought to myself, so I related it to the Brother next to me.  They got kind of offended by my sentiments, actually.

        Sigh.

  •  I have a feeling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sodalis

    many more will be wondering about how money's collected in certain pockets as we plunge deeper into this worldwide financial breakdown.

    Visit my blog DemocracyForNewMexico: NM grassroots politics and activism

    by barbwire on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 04:34:58 PM PDT

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