The Vermont Cynic

The fleeting promise of power

Letter to the Editor

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The most important belief that unites all of our country as a people is that we agree that corporations and special interest groups steal the focus of the government off its people.

I am a 20 year old progressive American, born and raised in the Finger Lakes of New York to a middle class family with amenities and privileges that I sometimes fail to realize are not in another person’s favor. There are so many people in this country and no individual is exactly like the other. But all too easily we let these personal differences stand in the way of our desire to live as happy citizens in a just and moral society.

Whether you’re red, blue, theistic, atheistic, young, old or struggling to make ends meet in a developed modern society, it’s not hard to see that politics has become festered with back door dealings and dark money that in the end hurts the general population and makes the vastly wealthy ever larger profits.

The most important thing we have to do this new congressional session is agree to make powerful campaign finance reform our first priority. It’s an extremely boring topic but has so much power over our progress as a nation. We can’t let ourselves be divided on whether this is a left or right issue, it’s an American issue.

How can we say that we are striving for “a more perfect union,” as stated in the preamble of the Constitution, when the greatest amounts of power have been concentrated in the smallest group in society? Can we honestly say that we are doing good by our founding fathers and by our national morals? Just 98 years ago in August 1920, our government convened as a bipartisan body to ratify the 19th Amendment and allow women to vote. Then, 44 years later in 1964, we signed the Civil Rights Act into law, emboldening more of the citizenry to participate in our democratic process. Those movements required protest and organized outcry by the.

The defining difference that holds our current nation back now from achieving progress on the scale of the greatest reforms in history is that we are poisoned with cynicism. We’ve been told for so long that the machine is too big to be fixed. At some point we all just silently agreed to it as fact and lost our democratic zeal. In the vacuum of our removal from political activism, the mantle was taken up by our modern aristocracy.

If we want to be successful in 2019, 2020, and further into the future as a morally and politically thriving nation we need to take back our political courage.

The power we wield as a public when we unite with common purpose is the most unstoppable machine. In 1933, in the midst of the great depression, we were small and we were terrified. Nobody thought a country so weak and so short on resources could survive.

The New Deal sounded like a pipe dream and completely unobtainable, but as a nation we realized that at that point we had nothing left to lose, so we might as well go all in. The reforms of the 20th century could arguably be the greatest legislative victories in American history. We were able to unite and put ourselves in a fight that we didn’t know if we could win, but we came out victorious and saved ourselves from dire straits.

Hopefully now, with H.R. 1 starting 116th congress we have that opportunity, where we can say, “enough is enough.”​

Money has broken the system, it has corrupted and hurt too many people for the fleeting promise of power. Now is the time for the government to work for and by the people. We have the fervor and fight, the political courage is right there! We just have to take it.

Devon T. Pernicone

Sophomore 

 

1 Comment

One Response to “The fleeting promise of power”

  1. Bugaboo on January 9th, 2019 9:47 pm

    This opinion is quite correct, when speaking of undue influence by corporate and wealthy sponsors, but this power extends far beyond elections.
    K street, global corporations and even wealthy individuals (Soros, Koch Bros, Steyer) all contribute to the dilution of the voice of our republic. If their speech (money) cannot be contained by the court, we must demand that our representatives be entirely free of funding by these entities, not only while campaigning, but after their election, in perpetuety!

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The fleeting promise of power