Recently, on his PBS television program, Bill Moyers interviewed two women whose job it is to lobby against lobbyists. As they talked, the pair cited many instances where big money and big government worked together against the interest of the common man. Moyers, a former Washington insider, listened to their stories and seemed amazed by what he heard. Finally, he asked how they faced the enormous odds without losing hope. Their reply was immediate and unanimous. An informed electorate was the proper counterweight to undue influence, they said.
Having been in politics, their faith touched me and brought a lump to my throat. The ballot box can trump the cash box, but in my experience, the common man doesn’t rouse easily. He’s too enmeshed in the day-to-day vicissitudes of ordinary life. Already the deck is stacked against him. Though it’s shocking to realize, almost 165 million American households in this country live on less that $2 a day, placing them below the World Bank’s average poverty line for developing countries. (The Week, May 24, 2013 pg. 30) Chronic joblessness, a problem ignored by the Congress, stands at 4.4 million. (Ibid, pg. 31) Many veterans are among these numbers and are also homeless. Add to the count those evicted from their houses because of the mortgage debacle and it’s easy to see why so many have little time to track the ins-and-outs of beltway politics. Worse, in election years, attack ads and biased journalism works hard to mislead them.
Money talks, as they say, and it speaks loudly. If anyone questions that truth, let him or her remember that despite the overwhelming public sentiment for background checks on gun buyers, big money defeated the measure. Will the voter take arms against the powerbrokers in the next election? I’d like to hope so, but I doubt it. The common man’s too busy scratching for a square meal.
(Courtesy of photobucket.com)