Independent Voters Alliance (IVA)
A Minor Change in Political Concept, But Profound in the Positive Ways Our Lives Will Be Affected
Constituent? Are You?
You Get Back Only What You Contribute
By Rich Stevenson ©January 10, 2004
Interim Acting Chair of the Hamilton County IVA
Constituency: “a body of citizens entitled to elect a representative to a legislative or other public office: the residents in an electoral district.”
Does a candidate or his/her party pick the persons or “non-persons” they choose to include in their constituency? That is the question. Is each citizen who is entitled to vote, even if they do not vote, considered to be a valuable constituent by office holders?
In our democratic republic, do the interests of all citizens have to be represented to fulfill the obligations of “equal protection under the law” in the U.S. Constitution? Must elections lead to fulfillment of our sense of fair play? These are fundamental questions.
Next Fall, and every fall, you will be bombarded by endless 20-second political ads, endless brainwashing, aired on your TV or Radio. Defend yourself. Remember to use your God-given common sense defenses against the constant assault on your natural intelligence. Think. Yes, actually think, about what political ads are designed to do.
Every political ad in our media is designed to focus your attention, to cause an emotional identification with the product, the incumbent candidate. Part of the hidden equation is that the incumbent will have as much money as needed to run many more ads than any challenger. Also, “likely voters” know the incumbent in a special emotional way. Past ad campaigns and the new one help persuade you to buy the incumbent, not the challenger. Your problem is deciding. Can you vote for a candidate sold to you like mouthwash? Does brainwashing promote liberty and justice for all in a more democratic republic?
The real ad message is slipped into your subconscious mind on a primitive, emotional level. Music is used to set the proper mood. The candidate is “making nice” with mom, common people, and his dog. The incumbent is a wonderful human being, a leader looking far into a future not seen by others. The incumbent is a long time frequent visitor to our homes, an old acquaintance.
The apparent message, in words, is not the point. The images and feelings planted in your heart and mind are the part of the ad that makes it work to win your vote. The emotional trap is set. If you happen into a voting booth on election day, you will probably vote for the person you have seen the most times on your friendly little TV set in your very own home. That candidate has been your “guest” many times, in your home. This year, and perhaps many other years! Your “guest” has earned a special status. The “guest” behaved nicely. Your “guest” may have shown you the bad character of the unknown candidate, the despicable “not-nice” behavior of the less familiar candidate who was not a familiar “guest” on your TV or radio.
By Election Day, 90% of likely voters and likely non-voters will not have seen any political candidate in person, or in a debate anywhere. All the print media coverage will have been inconclusive on who may be the better candidate. When asked for substance, the candidates will have avoided any meaningful discussion. After candidates answer questions we often think, “What did that mean?” The Ad image wins the vote.
Nothing much has changed in the forty years I have been watching elections as a populist nonpartisan voter.
In the voting booth, more than 99% of the votes actually cast are based upon the message provided by TV and Radio ads. Those ads, negative or positive, probably will have kept many voters from taking the time to vote. The issues will not have been addressed in any clear way. The rigid views of the bipartisan two-party system will have made any vote seem useless to many of the possible voters. Many more people will have decided to not vote than to vote. “Why bother?” we think.
The totally consistent result is always what the two-party system wants. Low voter turnout is achieved. Nothing changes. The same bipartisan incumbents are always re-elected 99% of the time. The political elite stays in power and serves the same constituents as usual. You are not included in the group of actual “constituents” served by the two-party system. By “you” I mean the average person who is not one of the elite campaign contributors directly connected to the two-party system. If you have not bought political influence you are not a “constituent” in the bipartisan two-party system. You get back only what you contribute to political campaigns.
With their incumbents once again in office, the monopoly two-party system governs to preserve exclusive dictatorial power over all public policy. The parties shape all public policy to completely favor Special Interests who supply all the campaign money to keep the two parties in power. The endless vicious circle is in motion. The bipartisan two-party system has retained power for over 200 years.
Primary Constituents: Are people constituents? To incumbent office holders the foremost constituent is the political party that put them on the ballot again, and all other constituents are the source of the campaign funds that enabled them to be re-elected. The constituent party governs. The money constituents tell public office holders what they want and the two parties give them everything they demand.
You and I are outside the vicious circle we call bipartisan politics. The trouble with that is that we are not represented. We are not treated as constituents. Only the interests of the powerful, the greedy, are represented.
If what I am saying is true, voters have never been part of the American political dream in our life times. However, we can choose to be constituents in the real meaning of the definition. The only catch is that we must get off our rear ends and participate in politics. We must take the initiative away from the corrupt bipartisan two-party system.
Your Move: Have a thoughtful day. Today is a new day in a new year in the life of a very young nation yearning for a return to the ideals of its youth. An intentional populist nonpartisan political mass movement is needed. You have the next move. Create your nonpartisan political future.
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rls/Jan 10, 2004
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