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MEET YOUR GOD

July 14, 2012

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I may not make any new friends with this post.

What we are warned against by nearly every faith on the planet as well as secular teachings, has come to pass. In the Christian faith, the Biblical words are, “Place no gods before me.” In the secular, it’s “Don’t let money guide your life.”

Whoops.

Too late.

Whether you’re a person of faith, an atheist or somewhere in between, the bottom line is we have not heeded this warning.

A few, very wealthy, unelected people are stealing our government. These billionaires – the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Foster Friess and others – are funding the candidacies of people who mislead the public to get into office so they can do the bidding of their financiers. Add to this organizations like ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council (funded by large corporations), that write legislation such as Stand Your Ground, Personhood, Conceal-Carry, Anti-contraception, Voter ID, and Anti-tax for many state legislatures and you have the textbook definition of a plutocracy, not a democracy, or a republic.

This is neither about Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians nor conservatism and liberalism. This is about a portion of the electorate that is not aware of (or ignoring) what’s going on around them – which is exactly what the leaders of this plutocratic movement are counting on. They want us completely distracted with arguments over gay rights, abortion and gun rights while more and more power goes to a select few.

Many of us are guided at the voting booth, much the same way we’re led to believe that Red Lobster has great seafood. And while it is a fact that Red Lobster absolutely does not have great seafood, if that statement is heard and seen often enough, some will eventually believe it – or at least try their product. They then discover the selection is not at all as advertised.

How does this happen? How are we duped into believing something that is patently false? Why do we constantly ignore the obvious signs of hypocrisy and lies? Why are we so quick to accept statements embedded with so many untruths?

Money.

We’re impressed with those who have it, so much so that we think they know better than us who should hold elected office – or what the best seafood is. If enough money is spent trying to convince us of the validty of something or someone, the purveyors of the message know that many of us will eventually believe it. Let’s face it: if a computer-generated gecko can convince us that the company it represents has the best car insurance (four million people were reportedly convinced to switch in 2010), then we’re likely to believe a lot of things we see and hear in media, regardless of the facts.

When it’s products and services, we can usually recover quickly from an uninformed choice. But when it’s elected officials, we pay for that mistake for a long time – sometimes decades.

Who’s the best candidate? It doesn’t matter. Who’s telling the truth? You won’t learn from popular media. Who has enough money to buy your choice? At least 45% of the citizens in this country believe the money and end up choosing without forethought of consequence.

Meet your god.

1.)  If you blindly believe the statements of the people you are voting for without doing some research, your god is money.

2.)  If you believe spending billions of dollars to elect a president is not a problem, your god is money.

3.)  If you think it is okay for a few very wealthy people to buy the candidacies of house/senate members and a presidency, your god is money.

4.)  If you believe that advertising informs you well enough to elect good public servants, your god is money.

5.)  If you think it is okay for large corporations to be a part of the election process, your god is money.

6.)  If you think none of the above is a problem, your god is money.

If I’ve irritated you, ask yourself, “Why?” If you don’t believe what I’ve written, do the research. Don’t just listen to pundits’ talking points and assume they are informed about the issues. They get paid to keep controversy alive – truth-be-damned.

We have a country to save.

All the money in the world cannot deter a well-informed electorate. Here are some steps that I believe will help keep our country from becoming a plutocracy:

1.)  Have conversations with those who hold opposing views. There is no need to yell or pound your fist. And for the sake of everyone’s sanity, don’t argue on Facebook or Twitter. Listen more than talk. (That’s why we are provided with two ears and only one mouth.) A perfect example is my friend, Geoff Pomeroy, who is a conservative in the truest sense of the word, but doesn’t feel the need to convert others who don’t believe as he does. We differ on certain issues, but at no time do we raise our voices or get angry. Our friendship is far more important than any political or social differences we might have.

2.)  Open your heart and mind to the idea that what you have believed over the years may not be what’s best for all of our citizens. This is where most of the arguing starts in politics. The issue of abortion is a perfect example. If you vote for a candidate solely because he or she believes as you do about abortion and you don’t look any further into their record and experience, you are doing a great disservice to yourself, your community and your country.

3.)  Become informed on the issues that matter to you by reading legitimate sources, NOT watching television, listening to talk radio or reading material on obviously biased websites. Most media is bought and paid for by the same corporations that funnel money to candidates. Instead, research legitimate sources of information. You might gain knowledge about those issues that is never discussed by media.

4.)  Take religion out of the equation when discussing issues. This is a tough one for many people, but our founders specifically excluded any reference to religion (other than stating that there will be no religious test) when forming our constitution. The idea is that we are all free to believe as we wish and do not have the right to impose those beliefs on others. Therefore, discussion of the issues that affect the citizens of this country should be free of personal religious bias.

5.)  Ignore labels. They are not informative and only serve to divide us. For example: there are more pro-choice Republicans than there are anti-abortion Republicans. There are also plenty of anti-abortion Democrats.

6.)  This is not your parents’ America. Our country has been evolving since its inception. This is why the Constitution is so amazing. It really is a “living, breathing document” that has the ability to transcend current events and situations.

7.)  Vote in every election. But first, make sure you are registered properly. Many states are now trying to implement laws that will require voters to show picture IDs, even if the voter has lived at the same address and voted in the same precinct for decades. Next, educate yourself on the local, state and federal issues so that media is not defining your decisions and then… VOTE!

We must become aware.

Voting for someone just because he or she has an “R” or a “D” next to their name is complete lunacy in the present political environment. These labels mean nothing.

I’ve spoken to Republicans who say they will “hold their nose” and vote for Mitt Romney in the upcoming general election. When I ask them why, they don’t have an informed answer. When I ask them what it is about President Obama that keeps them from considering him, the answer usually does not include specifics about policies. Instead it’s “I could never vote for a Democrat” or “He’s a socialist, communist, fascist liar that was born in Kenya.” They just repeat statements they’ve heard elsewhere, regardless of how untruthful those statements might be. (BTW: If someone is a Socialist, they are the exact opposite of a Fascist. One person can’t be both. Just sayin’.)

Please don’t let a handful of wealthy people determine the future of our country. They want government (us) out of the way and our tax dollars to go to their private corporations who will provide services such as police, teachers, firefighters, prisons, airports, postal services, utilities, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. As this happens (and it has already started in many states), they will not only have control of these services, the cost for them will increase dramatically because corporations are in the business of making money, governments are not. Private ownership of these services will bring decreased wages, no benefits and no protection for workers.

Vote for money, and there’s a very good chance you’ll earn less of it.

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com

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2 comments

  1. Michael , As usual another well written and though provoking post. The upcoming election may very well be the most important decision the voting population has faced.With that being said it is a sorry reflection that most people will spend more time researching the purchase of a new vehicle or home theater than they will researching the candidates. I have heard more of the old fallback line ” my vote will not make a difference” than I ever have in my 40 years of voting. Hopefully people will wake up and take the time to learn more about the candidates beside listening to CNN or Fox. There is so much more I could say but unfortunately I lack the talent to be able to write like yourself,

    John L Hempker


    • Hi John. Thanks for the kudos. Truth is, you would be amazed at how many edits I do before I publish. It is a labor of love, to be sure. And don’t sell yourself short. You may have more writing talent than you think. As for the subject at hand, I do believe we are in the last throws of big money trying to buy our government. It’s been going on for over 30 years now but I’m starting to see a shift in people’s thinking. My hope and prayer is that in the end, all the money spent trying to push the agenda of a few very wealthy people will be met with a clear “no” from our citizens this fall. If we can stop the purchase of elected officials here, maybe we can finally consider an ammendment to our constitution that would put an end to privately funded campaigns. Until then, we will have to live with the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision, which blew the lid off any campaign spending limits and has created the mess we have now.



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