Integrity In Politics: Why the Buck Stops With Us
By. Raimondo Graziano
~ Written sometime before the 2016 Presidential Election
Part of the reason why Senator Sanders is so wildly popular among a large part of the youth of America is because he, to my generation, is a man of integrity. A man who has been consistent throughout his political career on his stances, on the issues that matter to many of us. To many Americans, Senator Sanders was a breath of fresh air on a political scene ripe with divisive partisan politics, and political panderers – those who would say and do just about anything to get a vote. To many, Senator Sanders was a man who, for the entirety of his life, gave his sweat and time to the causes of the middle class, to the fair and just treatment of African Americans and to the general well-being of the United States.
While Senator Sanders will not be the on the ballot this election day, his political integrity and his dedication to truth and humanity in politics is in our hands to preserve. For the next group of Americans that slowly build and shape the fast approaching new world we will face, it is our responsibility to maintain the spirit of integrity and truth. In order for our politics to reflect our sentiments, corporate money must be separate from politics. Likewise, the power of lobbies in our congress and in our state legislatures must be severely reduced. Thirdly, the ability for foreign governments to support candidates in the United States must be severely reduced, if not ended in its totality. Fourthly, the polarization of our media – what ought to be the bridge between the government, information, the truth and the people – must be put to an end. The line between the media and our political parties must be made clear. Corporate media donations to political candidates and collusion between candidates and pundits must end. Consider this, according to the Washington Examiner in 2008 the “Democratic Party received a total donation of $1,020,816, given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks (NBC, CBS, ABC), while the Republican Party received only $142,863 via 193 donations.” Democrats and the then Presidential Nominee, Barack Obama, received 88 percent of 2008 contributions by TV network execs, writers, and reporters.
Corporate power, lobbies, the politicizing of our media and foreign donations are all affronts to our democracy. The guiding force in our democracy ought to be the people and the truth. The ability for third parties to influence and sway public opinion, to deliberately work to undermine the progress of the nation and the people, must be stopped. Not only does the power of corporate influence and the polarization of our media help to sow disinformation, but it also works to create a divided nation. And let’s face it – division is better for profits.
The changes many of my peers across the country are busy fighting for all involve these very things. What we want, overwhelmingly, is integrity. We want an end to dirty tactics on both sides of the political aisle, no more ‘politics,’ no more omissions, and no more partisan gridlock. We want integrity, and we want a government that works for and reflects its people.
The beauty of our democracy, our republic really, is that it is in our hands, the people, to ensure its survival and longevity. If we continue a trend of apathy and a blasé attitude towards our political process our democracy, our constitution, and our guiding principles will slowly be swept away under our noses and without a care because we allowed it to happen. America is an idea, and despite its flaws we owe it to the idea, to the experiment, to continue the lifeblood of the quest of liberty and justice for all peoples. This just doesn’t happen – the survival of our country and the ideas it is meant to stand for are not a sure thing. The people must ensure that it survives, and if the people want it to then they must vote. They must be involved in the political process, they must petition and write their congressmen, they must demand justice when they see otherwise. When there is inaction, the response of the public must be so overwhelming that no official, no lobby, no corporate power anywhere will be able to deny the sheer strength and will of the people of this country.