About a million years ago (I tucked the dinosaurs comfortably into their beds) and then I did my political thing -- At that time it was to go out to precincts and deliver 'walk around money' to the people who were doing get out the vote. Yes, we walked around and passed out money for 'Get Out The Vote'. Did we actually pay people to go and vote? The truthful answer is yes. We paid people who then paid people to vote. And we hope it was only once. Years passed and the federal government got concerned about the way money was being spent in elections. A wonderful well intentioned genius decided to craft and unfortunately institute the campaign finance campaign laws. I worked for that genius, Cong Morris K Udall a congressman from Arizona and in 1976 a candidate for President. Why was it unfortunate? For many of us it took the excitement out of campaigning. For example, as advance people, not only did we have to travel in advance of the candidate, decide on the event, set up the event and make sure everything went smoothly. We also had to pass the hat at the end of the event. Yes, much like in church or any other charitable venue, we collected money to pay for food, a little salary and transportation to the next event. The next event was never in the same city and usually not the same state, so whatever we raised kept us on the go.
Prior to 1976 campaigns could be financed by individuals, groups, corporations, businesses, the mafia, anyone who could write a check or had enough cash. Once we had to adhere to the new Federal Election Committee rules we had to keep track of what we spent. Where we ate, where we slept and what we spent on miscellaneous. In addition, we had to keep track of who gave it to us, how they gave it to us, who gave it to them to give to us and on and on and on. You see what I mean by ‘took the fun out’? Keeping track is tedious and it eliminates spontaneity. It is impossible to be spontaneous anymore because there is too much paper work. The days of challenge and flexibility have passed. Oh sure, some people are still creative about their spending but for the most part, nothing is free. There was a time when we scavenged for platforms, microphones, backdrops, chairs, and two-sided signs to hold up during the event. Now you must pay for all these items and the consequences are big egos, too many experts giving advice and obscene spending for little return. Everything you see on television has been produced by someone who got paid to do it. Boo hoo I say, boo hoo, I loved walking around with unaccounted for money.
But then yesterday, on the news we saw that walk around money is back—but in the form of a lottery. Yes, some states have decided that if a person votes in a primary they will be entered into a million dollar lottery. If they vote in the election they are entered again and get two chances to win. Some would say this is un-American. It cheapens each vote. I say anyway you can get people to the polls to decide their own destiny is a good thing. But their motives are to make money instead of create a civil society, you say. Well if enough people vote, and they see their vote can make a difference, maybe they will be more concerned about how they use their vote in the next election. It’s better than having only 30% of the population (usually with a questionable agenda) making decisions for 100% of the people. And will political people have to work harder to get the lottery participant to vote for their candidate? You bet they will. And just maybe they will use their walk around money to walk around and make a real difference. We’re just sayin…
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
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