Letter: Money has too much political power
By Dale Cuperus, Lakefield
I wish to comment on the Globe's recent decision to start charging a fee to publish political endorsement letters.
I believe it to be the duty of a citizen in a democratic republic to engage in political discussion, even if that discussion is only an informed vote cast on election day. I choose to write letters to the editor in order to engage in political discussion. I am shy. Really quite introverted. My ideas get overwhelmed in oral discussion. I believe my ideas stand out better in the written word because I am not interrupted or sidetracked.
I have chosen to affiliate with a political party. I have volunteered to work on campaigns where I feel the candidate would make a good public servant. Every campaign I have volunteered with has encouraged me to write a letter to the editor in support of the candidate. I have never volunteered on a campaign where they offered to pay me to write a letter to the editor. I know this probably occurs on some campaigns, and I would cease to work for a candidate that followed this path.
When I read that the Globe was going to start charging for endorsement letters, I was glad. I dislike writing these letters, as I prefer focusing on policy and governing actions by office holders. I have only ever written endorsement letters after I felt the candidate I was backing was attacked with misleading or false information. Then I choose not to engage in rebuttal, but rather pointed out what I felt was my candidates positive qualities or contributions.
I am also sad. I can see where the Globe's policy for charging for endorsement letters will be used most often by those with the financial means to express their opinion. Once more, the person of modest means is having their voice drowned out by money.
In my opinion, the paramount problem with our current political discourse is the undue influence of money on our political campaigns and candidates. The Globe's new policy is only one very small piece of this growing problem. However, I felt it was worth my time to point this out to your readers.
I am an optimist when it comes to our citizens and system of government we have built. I believe we will soon reach the breaking point and the citizens of this nation will demand the end of our current money-based election process. I believe us citizens will demand our leaders return fairness to our elections. "One person, one vote" instead of "how many votes can my contribution obtain". I believe this in spite of the fact that I am looking at two negative ads sent to my United States Postal mailbox this week. Ads funded by "dark money". Ads I was not able to trace the contributors to the funding source after one hour’s research. After all our constitution starts with the words, " We the people…" not "We who control the money…".