Published in the Seacoast Online, Jun 7, 2015
by Jeff McLean
What if I told you that there is a clear and simple way to transform the dysfunctional politics of Washington D.C.? And what if I told you there is an easy — and fun and productive — way to help make a difference this July 4th?
If you are anything like me, you are fed up with D.C. failing to act on important issues — or worse, passing bills that increase the size of government, handing out favors to donors and special interests, and bickering about partisan issues instead of solving the real problems that lay ahead. This is not a partisan problem and, despite what you might hear, neither party can claim the moral high ground on the issue of systemic corruption.
The main cause of the systemic corruption and dysfunction is the way candidates are forced to spend the majority of their time begging for campaign contributions.
Bribery is illegal, and yet this almost-but-not-quite bribery is completely legal. It is corruption: pure and simple corruption, and the result is the same: a broken Congress exhibiting a profound lack of progress on every issue. By corruption, we do not mean quid-pro-quo corruption. Instead, we are talking about a corruption of an entire system… one that every politician is trapped within and seems content within. It is skewing the priorities, warping incentives, and leading to dysfunction which re-enforces itself every time a member of Congress, or the President, is forced to choose between doing what is best for re-election instead of what is best for the public.
The “tragedy” is that most of us are resigned to things being this way. There is a prevailing belief that there is nothing we can do to change this system, however degrading it is to politicians, to voters, and to our country as a whole. And because we feel the system is hopeless, we give up. This is precisely what the two parties want us to do. The two-party structure and the massive industry that follows (lobbyists, pundits, talking heads, media, political “consultants,” and many others) are the only winners.
By now you may have heard of the New Hampshire Rebellion, but in case you are not familiar, here is our goal: We are going to make the issue of systemic corruption driven by the way campaigns are funded the number one, cannot-ignore-it, issue in the high-stakes 2016 New Hampshire Presidential Primary.
No matter what issue you think needs to be tackled in this country, it cannot be resolved without first solving corruption. The Left will not get environmental protection or real healthcare reform. The Right will not get a simpler tax system, reduced regulation, or a smaller, less intrusive government. And the majority of us in the pragmatic middle won’t see an end to the partisan and petty arguments of the two-party system. Whatever it is you want changed — whatever vision you have of a better America — corruption, in the way that Congress raises money, is standing directly in the way.
We do not own a cable news network or series of talk radio stations, we do not have armies of lawyers, lobbyists, and lackies to do our bidding. What we do have is YOU – the citizens who make up 96 percent of the public who agree that our current political system is corrupt and dysfunctional and must change.
Our next big push toward making the issue of corruption the deciding factor in who gets elected in 2016 is this July 4th, when we are going to walk two routes along the Seacoast. The more who walk with us, the clearer it becomes that this issue matters to NH voters. Those who can not do the walk can join the celebration at the end in Prescott Park.
We want you to join us. Two groups will leave in the morning from Hampton and Rochester, and meet up at Prescott Park in Portsmouth in the afternoon for a rally. You can sign up at walk.nhrebellion.org.
The candidates are visiting, and the 2016 NH presidential primary is right around the corner. Please join us and help show D.C., and those running for president, that in order to get your vote, they must first tell you their answer to this critical question: “What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?”