Political campaigns: mo' money, mo' problems

In one year, the 2008 presidential election will commence and the nation's 44th president will be democratically chosen.

Unfortunately, the term "democratically" no longer means what it once did. The development of partisan politics (the practice of political parties) has led to what is almost a dynasty in the United States. The past 18 years have seen the sitting of three presidents. Consider, however, that these 18 years have been "ruled" by two families, those of Bush and Clinton, a situation which reeks of aristocracy and the House of Lords.

Consider as well the vast monetary commitment to running for president of these United States: in 2000, the Bush campaign cost $70 million. Gore raised $55 million. These costs are inherently prohibitive to the general public, a sentiment that is decidedly against the democratic ideals on which this country was founded. Is not every citizen of this country afforded a seat in the government, should his peers find him deserving? Why should one who doesn't have as much money be excluded from running, though she/he may be more qualified by far for the post?

All of this money is used to constantly barrage the public: billboards, television commercials, radio spots, internet advertisements, leaflets, rallies, dinners and lifting small pigs in Iowa all go toward persuading the public to vote for the candidate. My question is this: how does a candidate's ability to take a photo with a farmer in the Midwest demonstrate his ability to lead?

Finally, lobbying sways the credibility of candidates in the race. It is said that every politician is bought out, and it is generally accepted that "the job makes him or her bad." Why, though, must this be the case? Money is such a huge consideration to politicians that they must sell out to the corporations and lobbying groups who stand to gain from their position.

It is clear, then, that the way in which to fix our American system lies at the root of the problem: money. If the exorbitant fees of being a candidate for high office were to dissolve, perhaps they would be followed soon after by the corruption rampant in the political arena.

This can only happen, however, if the American public changes as well. When we cease to be swayed by commercials and advertisements and return to the consideration of issues and positions, money in a campaign will matter less. Vote on Nov. 6, as it is your right, but remember who stands for the issues and who stands where you can see them.