As this campaign winds down, one of the things I've noticed is the horrendous amount of money that has been raised to support the two major candidates.
The total is a whopping $684,096,144. Holy Cow!
The site of the FEC has more interesting data.
What I have not found - and won't be spending more time looking for - is just how much was spent on all the political commercials & telephone campaigns with which we've been bombarded. And since I live in one of the 'swing states' those things are STILL RUNNING!!! We all know that the amount of money spent on these things must be staggering.
Interestingly, when I searched the phrase 'political advertising regulations', the FEC site is not what came up first. The FCC came up first, but I found only regs about who can/can't, record keeping, etc. In regard to content, there is only Section 315 [47 U.S.C. §315], which is why we here that phrase, "I'm ___ ___ and I approved this message.", and the (often tiny print) phrase that says who paid for that ad.
There were several .orgs, .edus, and a couple of .coms. I don't link those here because you can find them yourself, and because I'm not interested in opinion right now; I'm looking for facts.
Here is an article on FactCheck.Org that discusses the subject of political advertising regulations.This is the first sentence:
That certainly caught my eye. The article is very interesting and says, basically, what we already know: "candidates have the (constitutional) right to lie to you as much as they want".
So, What's up with that??!!
Here's the FTC's regulations regarding truth in advertising.
This is an interesting, and timely, article from Time Magazine about truth and the 2008 campaign.
One thing that seems clear to me is that political candidates do not hold the 'truth' in high regard. Winning is the end goal, ads are (one of) the means; and many more people will see the ads than will read the fact checkers on any given subject.
And even when we read the facts, we don't necessarily change our minds.
I found several several links to forums, blogs, etc. that discuss this issue. I'm not going to link them here; I'm just worn out and discouraged and if you want to hear another opinion, you'll easily find many.
I remain concerned with the collective ethics of the American citizen, in general. I remain concerned with what seems to me an INCREASE in the us vs them attitude.
Rich people want to stay rich. I get that. I'd like to get rich - and frankly, by most standards I already am rich. (My income just dropped by a bunch and my IRAs are down by 25%.) I think I'd make a very good rich person. I like to think I'd do a lot of good things for my neighbors, my community, my state, etc. should the lottery gods decide to put me in charge of a ton of money.
Would that really be true? I don't know. The statistics on lottery winners doesn't really support that guess.
But, I don't get why we rich folks ride to our posh resorts on the backs of really poor people. Or why a populace who can spend nearly $700 millions dollars to elect one individual over another can't figure out a reasonable way to take care of ALL of our citizens. I don't get it. I don't WANT to get it.
So, I have this idea.
Remember that little box on your income tax form that asks if you want to give $3 to the presidential campaign? The candidates made a big deal of not taking that money this year.
What if we change that?
Let's don't give them ANY public money. Let's change the box. Let's give everyone the opportunity to give $3 to, say, the national debt. You're going to be paying it anyway. Think how much more quickly we could eliminate that gigantic (and embarassing) number.
Here's another (radical) idea.
Since no one can regulate the content of political advertising, don't sell/allow any more of it.
What if media outlets had to give exactly the same amount of time to each candidate and it was limited to something like 30 minutes a week? There would be no time for mudslinging and lies, would there?
And let's do something about the two-party system. We don't have an effective way of getting those 'others' into the national line of vision.
Then we give a president 4 years in office. What can he accomplish if he spends 2 on campaigning?
I promise my next post will be much more fun than this one.
I don't think it will be necessarily more important.