What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: traskblueribbon
The media has been up in arms in the past two weeks over ex-Governor Spitzer’s prostitution scandal. While the outrage might be justified under normal circumstances, the emphasis in the news has little to do with the morality of the issue, focusing instead on its political implications.
The news shows little of the widespread prostitution of this nation, because nobody really cares about the average Joe that, for whatever reason, seeks the company of an “escort”, nor about the woman who has reduced herself to listing her body for sale.
Instead, we hear over and over again about prominent individuals that dabble in such promiscuous activities, like so many of their lesser-known counterparts. It seems that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
While the media focuses from time to time upon the prostitution of the body—(predominantly) women offering their bodies for financial benefit—what of the political prostitution that surely occurs in all levels of government? What of the elected leader whose vote is influenced by the donations he receives from certain PACs and large corporations? The offering of one’s services for a corrupt use, for the sake of personal financial gain, is the very definition of prostitution. Some women sell their bodies; some politicians sell their influence and power.
Wealthy interests (corporations, mostly) donate large amounts of money to politicians. In return, those politicians enact and support legislation that financially benefits those interests (at the expense of the public), thereby enhancing their wealth and power and enabling them to continue to continue the cycle. Such donations might better be referred to as an investment on the part of the contributor.
An early attempt to prevent such political prostitution (or legalized bribery) was the Tillman Act of 1907. Corporations quickly found a way around this with a bevy of loopholes and alternative approaches. Later, the Federal Election Campaign Act was born, which gave way to the recent Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (otherwise known as McCain-Feingold).
These legislative attempts to control political prostitution will never yield the desired results. Special interests and influential lobbyists will always, always find a way to maintain power and steer the course of events in their favor.
Similarly, sexual prostitution will continue so long as there is a market for it. This means that as long as there are men willing to pay, there will be women willing to sell their body.
It’s the same with politics: so long as there are special interests, wealthy corporations, and corrupt lobbyists who desire to pad the pockets of those that help them, there will be office-seeking, power-lusting vermin who will list for sale the influence they receive and the power of the law they control.