Have We NOT Learned Yet? Rich Guys Getting Into Politics Is Bad For Our Politics

This morning, the LA Times reports, Rick Caruso – the really-really rich real estate guy running for LA mayor – lent his campaign another $4 million, making the total amount Rick’s lent his campaign a cool ten million dollars. Hey, it’s not everyone who can self-finance a run for mayor of LA. But then, isn’t that the point? LA isn’t the first town in America to have an official “rich guy” aspire to run the place. New York City had Mike Bloomberg. New York State had Nelson Rockefeller. And those are just some of the obvious ones – the rich people either honorable or foolish enough to pretend that democracy means something to them. At the end of the day, great, concentrated wealth – like we have – is as antithetical to democracy as having a state religion would be. In plenty of ways, money IS a religion to some people. Maybe that’s the problem…

America is the epitome of a great idea ruined by money and greed.

Imagine if the rich, white, Christian, land-owning men who founded America – because they wouldn’t LET anyone else into the conversation THEY were having amongst themselves – had actually meant “All men are created equal” in the broadest possible sense instead of what they DID mean: “All MEN like them – rich, white, Christian, land owners – are created equal and everyone else can go screw themselves.” They made the rookie mistake – thinking their money was what made this great experiment in human self government “exceptional”. No, it wasn’t then and it isn’t now.

American IS exceptional because of its diversity – the thing James Madison insisted we make our motto (which is why it’s on our Great Seal): “E Pluribus Unum”. Out of many, one.

America is the first country ever to be made up of all the other countries. The idea can’t work if one of the countries – wealthy white men – get it into their heads that their wealth (and whiteness) make them smarter or better somehow. They think – they really do! – that beyond whatever wealth they’ve actually earned (if they have actually done the WORK to earn said wealth) – the rest has been bestowed upon them by “the divine”. As I’ve written here, they are what happens when monotheists start thinking THEY are God. And if “God” says you deserve to be wealthy then who are you – a humble rich guy – to argue?

Rich men are not smarter than anyone. Take that to the bank – just not one of theirs – and prepare to get rich. Invest in a less obviously corrupt crypto currency (if only to cut out the banks and their corruption). Rich men simply figured out how to game the rest of us. And, now that they’ve gamed us, gotten rich – and gotten ahold of the reins of power – they have no intention of giving any of it back. Hey – they’re just being who they are.

America has always been about money. The Virginia Colony – founded in 1607 – was nothing but a commercial venture. And that came as the first flicker of success following nearly a century of FAILED attempts to colonize North America.

The people colonizing were more or less full time employees of the “Virginia Company Of London”. The first year or so was brutal for most of them. Going back to London was not an option. They had all made a deal and the boss was going to hold every last one of them to it.

We like to tell ourselves that the Pilgrims came to America for different reasons – “religious freedom”. That’s a crock. When the religious purists who eventually became our “Pilgrims” first left England looking for religious freedom? They didn’t go to North America. They went to Holland. They found the religious freedom in the Netherlands but, alas, no way to make any money. Their religious freedom wasn’t feeding them or paying their bills. So they went to North America – in search of a living to support their religious freedom.

Not quite the same thing… but how do you cram all that into a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade float?

Rich guys deserving their wealth is an outgrowth of our thinking kings were anointed by the creator of the entire universe. Ummmmmm, no actually. No sky deity did any sort of “anointing” whatsoever. Even Warren Buffet understands how perverse our wealth sustaining system has become. But he’s not going to be the guy who tears down the whole corrupt structure. Why would he?

Though Bloomberg wasn’t anything like the office-holding lox Donald Trump was, he still did everything with an air of superiority borne of his wealth. Anyone rich guys disagree with gets that look: “hey, who’s the rich guy here, you or me?” as if being the rich guy made you the smart guy, too. The problem is, plenty of Americans believe it – that one’s intelligence walks in lock step with one’s bank account balance. Dumb guys are broke and smart guys piss champagne.

While – in rich guys’ defense – Donald Trump was perhaps the worst case scenario of all time for rich guys going into politics – he is the logical conclusion to the combination of rich guys and political power. Trump’s twist on the whole corrupt enterprise was to make it treasonous, too.

And – let’s be clear – every rich person in the Republican Party effin’ KNEW that Trump was a stone cold traitor even before they nominated him. Hell, rich guy Kevin McCarthy told all the other rich guys in Republican leadership as he walked into a meeting on June 25, 2016 – a month before the rich guys in the GOP made rich guy Trump their official presidential nominee – that “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!”

Did any of the other rich guys in the room react with horror or surprise or even curiosity? Hell, no! The rich guys in the room chose to listen to the other rich guy in the room – then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan. THAT rich guy told all the other rich guys that the subject they were talking about was off the table. They were NOT going to discuss the fact that they suspected or knew that their soon-to-be presidential nominee posed a grave national security threat because he’d been compromised by a hostile foreign leader. Instead, Ryan “swore the Republicans present to secrecy. Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

A family of what though?

Having great wealth distorts one’s thinking. How can it not? That doesn’t excuse the distorted end product. Plenty of great ideas never benefited the people who first ideated them. That’s almost always because some white guy seized the initiative – and the rights to the idea. That doesn’t mean he was entitled to them, only that he took them regardless.

You know what they say: money talks. Especially in American politics. When the SCOTUS went and made Citizens United a “thing” – giving corporations the same speech rights as John Q Citizen – they opened the door as wide as possible for corruption. And damn if corruption didn’t seize the opportunity! Literally nothing good has come from that decision because nothing good can possibly come from money influencing politics.

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One response to “Have We NOT Learned Yet? Rich Guys Getting Into Politics Is Bad For Our Politics”

  1. Have we LEARNED? Gee, what’s that?

    Uh, no, we haven’t learned, we’ve never learned, we never WILL learn. Not sure if you got the memo yet but the ENTIRE government is run by corporations and rich guys. The FDA is run by Big Pharma & Agra, the EPA by the Petrochemical and oil industries and it goes on and on. While everyone is frantic worrying about which pronoun to use for their LGBTQ neighbor, the corporations are making up their own rules and congress is passing them into law.

    Great system, democracy! Especially is you have a completely low-IQ, apathetic, indifferent population. Works like a charm.

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