The Right to Bear Arm = Politics = Money
Money and Politics are not so strange bedfellows. In fact, money is the lifeblood of politics going back to the time of the Caesars and before.
You have, of course, heard of the term “bread and circuses.” In ancient Rome the votes of the plebeians were openly purchased by offering food, drink and entertainment. Julius Caesar was a “man of the people” and spent lavishly on purchasing their votes.
Want to run for Congress today? Prepare to have to raise and spend more than one and a half million dollars. For the Senate? More than ten million dollars.
Why is it so costly? Competition.
Each candidate wants to accomplish something and runs against others who want to do the same thing, the opposite thing or something in between. And thinks that he, or she, is the best person for the job.
And, of course, they want the benefits, power and prestige that go with the job.
But how does one get the money that running for office entails? Why you ask people and organizations, including corporate entities, to donate to your campaign.
Why would these people and organizations donate to your campaign? They would donate to you because they believe that you support their agendas or that you will at least listen to their concerns and possibly change your current views to something more in keeping with what they desire.
They are not going to contribute to you if you oppose their agenda and show no signs of being persuadable.
You aren’t going to spend money in a market for food that tastes bad to you.
People and organizations are not going to donate money to candidates who tend to speak and vote contrary to what the organization wants.
You expect your investment banker to listen to your desires and accomplish your goals. If he doesn’t, you stop paying him and find someone else.
If a candidate, or officeholder, does not listen to or vote for the items on the agendas of the people who donate to him, he loses their support and donations.
The people and organizations that donate to political candidates and officeholders believe, or, at least to me, seem to believe that they have purchased the candidate or officeholder — or, at least, their votes.
Do you donate to political candidates or to their parties? Do you continue to donate to them if they vote against, or refuse to vote in favor of, the things you believe in?
How much do you donate? A dollar or two on your federal tax return? Ten dollars? A hundred dollars? A thousand dollars? Enough money so that the candidate you donate to actually knows who you are and what your beliefs are?
Hmmmm . . .
Well, maybe I’ve got news for you.
The National Rifle Association contributes millions of dollars to candidates running for the United States Congress and Senate.
Do you think the NRA spends this kind of money on candidates who favor gun control?
Do you think the NRA fails to make its position clear to those on whom it spends its money?
Do you think that the candidates who accept money from the NRA, and like minded organizations, are unaware that if they vote for gun control legislation that the NRA will withdraw their monetary support from that candidate (or officeholder) and will instead spend that money on a rival candidate?
Purchasing Power of the NRA — the spending of money to buy the support and votes of candidates and officeholders who oppose gun control legislation and their attempts to defeat and vilify those who seek stricter gun control laws.
Now, you may believe me to be a cynic (which I am) and you may believe that my beliefs as expressed above are nonsense, or at least carried too far.
I, however, believe myself to be a realist. Human nature has not changed in the two millennia since Julius Caesar rose to dominance in the plutocracy that was ancient Rome.
Rome was never a democracy or republic as we were raised to understand the terms. It was a plutocracy, and a militarized one at that, dominated by wealthy families of the patrician class; the plebeians had almost no political say and what they had was virtually limited to lip service.
Today, except in name, we live in a related type of plutocracy. We elect to office professional politicians who, once elected, may never again hold what most of us think to be a real job. (When they retire, they get jobs with the industries they regulated while in office. Think they voted against industry wishes?) They also vote on their own salaries, medical benefits and retirement packages and often exempt themselves from regulations and laws that apply to the rest of us.
Hmmmm . . . maybe we should call them politricians? But, I digress . . .
The NRA is spending, and has spent, millions of dollars on politicians who support its views:
In the 2016 election, the NRA spent $11,438,118 to support Donald Trump—and another $19,756,346 to oppose Hillary Clinton. That’s over $31 million spent on one presidential race.
The following numbers come from the New York Times:
John McCain — $7,740,521
Richard Burr — $6,986,620
Roy Blount — $4,551,146
Thom Tillis — $4,418,012
Gary Gardner — $3,879,064
Marco Rubio — $3,303,355
Joni Ernst — $3,124,273
Rob Portman — $3,061,941
Todd Young — $2,896,732
Bill Cassidy — $2,861,047
French Hill — $1,089,477
Ken Buck — $800,544
David Young — $707,662
Mike Simpson — $385,731
Greg Gianforte — $344,630
Don Young — $245,720
Lloyd Smucker — $221,736
Bruce Poliquin — $201,389
Pete Sessions — $158,111
Barbara Comstock — $137,232
Bought and Sold
If you believe that these people, and others supported by the NRA and like organizations and individuals, are going to enact meaningful reform related to firearms, you have a great deal more faith in the goodness of human nature than my sixty-eight years have given me.
Politicians are bought and sold. They vote in the interests of the money that bought and paid for them — maybe, with the exception of short-lived politicians like Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith. But that was fiction wasn’t it?
We aren’t going to get meaningful reform related to firearms until we elect politicians who will support that reform and that takes money. Those of you who want reform are going to have to reach into your pocketbooks and wallets and write checks to buy, er . . . elect, politicians who will vote to enact that reform.
Otherwise, we’ll just keep on moaning and whining as mass shootings keep occurring and our children keep dying.
Contribute to the campaigns of those who will vote for reform.
Vote for reform candidates.
Make your views known to those who hold political office.
Remember, you are the instrument of change. Someone else is not going to do it for you.