Let’s say we lived in a wealthy country where:
countless people go without adequate medical care, while politicians happily take millions of dollars from the commercial health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
- the scientifically established, life-and-death threat of climate change is mostly ignored while politicians take millions from the coal, oil and gas industries.
- financial institutions are routinely allowed to deceive and damage borrowers and investors—one reason our huge wealth gap continues to grow—while politicians take millions from banking and investment industries.
Well, we do. And the full list is much longer.
The biggest danger is that more and more of us will come to accept today’s cynical system as just the way things are. If we do, we’re plainly giving up on any realistic path to positive change.
Can we change this?
Yes. It's time for candidates who understand how these dollars destroy democracy to STOP TAKING THEM. And it's time for everyone else who understands to support those candidates with dollars and energy, so they'll have a shot at winning offices where they can change the game, and prove to others who want to serve that it's NOT just about money anymore--that enough democracy survives to elect people whose sole obligation is to the people they were elected to represent.
I know there are groups in Salem doing fine and important work--for the environment, for labor and women's and basic human rights, for quality education and human services--and if elected I look forward to working with them. But I don't want their PAC money in order to get there. I want it from you, the citizens and voters, so that there can be no possible doubt that 100% of my responsibility and obligation as Senator is to you. Special interest money muddies that, no matter what the group.
[Recently a friend corrected me when I said we didn't want to be beholden to special interests. "Oh yes you do," he said. "You just have to make the people of your district your 'special interest.'" He wants us to print up campaign buttons that say YOU'RE MY SPECIAL INTEREST. We haven't so far, but the campaign is young.]
We're not saying it'll be easy
Seasoned political veterans tell us that a race like this can’t be won without plenty of help from powerful lobby groups and out-of-state funders like the Koch Brothers. They're wrong—IF the countless people yearning for better, more truly representative government decide that they are. If they—you—step up to actively support candidates committed to rejecting special-interest money—and there are more all the time—then campaigns like ours win.
Let’s do what we can do to change politics in our state and beyond.