This Day Four Years Ago

Don’t tell, but this next post from my original blog, Peaceful Ponderings, was actually posted on October 23, 2007 – not October 24 – but I figured it was close enough! So, without further adieu…

This morning I received a call from a very kind man on behalf of the National Democratic Party. His upbeat attitude pulled me in as he asked me for a generous donation. As a recently returned volunteer currently working a temp job, I did not have the money he wanted from me, but he continued to talk anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised to know that there is a quota to the amount of times he must ask a potential donor for a donation (by the end of our seven minute conversation, he had asked me probably five different times).

Instead of hanging up after telling him he had my support, I asked him a question that has always been on my mind: Where does this donor money go? What is it used for?

The millions upon millions of dollars both the Democrats and Republicans raise for their campaigns boggles my mind. When the candidates are seen on television, standing up and talking about the issues, I cannot help but feel like they are all being very hypocritical. If you care about, say, getting the homeless off the street, why aren’t you using the massive stockpiles of money you’ve been raising to do just that? Wouldn’t that be a better campaign strategy than simply talking about what you would do if you were elected?

The old adage, “Actions speak louder than words,” comes to mind here. There’s no doubt in my mind that if I actually saw a candidate doing what they promised, that I would be much more likely to vote for them.

Instead, these millions they are asking American citizens for are going to a variety of places, including salaries for all of those people calling us dinnertime every night; the short, two minute commercials that either praise one candidate or bash their opponent; and all of the other advertisements and travel expenses incurred over the lifespan of a campaign.

Does that bother anyone else? How much more money can the politicians of this country waste instead of putting it to good use?

According to Google’s Associated Press, the current financial standings of our top candidates run as follows:

  • Clinton – $90.9 million
  • Obama – $80.2 million
  • Edwards – $30.3 million
  • Giuliani – $47.3 million
  • McCain – $32.1 million
  • Thompson – $12.8 million
  • Romney – $62.8 million

Wow. Now, that’s a lot of money. All told, these candidates have currently amassed approximately $356.4 million. I wonder, what would this money look like when you put it in different terms?

  • $356.4 million can comfortably house 1,000 homeless for almost a full year.
  • $356.4 million can fund 3,240 soup kitchens annually.
  • $356.4 million can provide health insurance for almost 20,000 Americans for a year (a small dent, but a dent nonetheless, considering that about 50 million Americans are currently uninsured.

Pretty upsetting, no?

Sure, I know, if the candidates were not using the money to promote themselves, they would not have the same chance of being elected. But, don’t you think raising money to be spent on a cause in their name would generate the same amount, if not more, popularity? I know if I were running, I would definitely try this approach.

If I received a phone call asking me to donate $50 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign to eradicate poverty in America, I would be much more willing to hand my money off. Instead, I give $25 in the hopes that the promise of poverty eradication will be made good on should Clinton win (FYI, this is all hypotheticals; I am not saying I back Clinton or not – I have yet to choose a candidate).

My liberalism comes out full-force on an issue like this, to be sure. But, perhaps such sentiment will be heard by the right person one day.

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Filed under Politics, Social Justice

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