Money and politics go together like peanut butter and jelly. At least that's the way it's been since Big Business established interest groups in Washington to make sure politicians heard their views. While democracy hinges on the idea that every voice counts, it's clear that in the American political system some can speak louder than others.
A grassroots organization called Represent.Us is working to change that by enlisting the support of the masses to get their message out. This commercial, which the group hopes to raise enough money to run on all major news networks, shows in crude but hilarious form the corruption of American politics.
The commercial, which I strongly urge you to watch, starts off with a senator and an aide, presumably his campaign chief, getting ready to take the stage at a corporate fundraiser. The senator expresses his displeasure for these sorts of events, but his aide insists, "We need these guys, they have really deep pockets." From there, the senator takes the stage and begins talking about "important legislation" before the crowd starts yelling, "Take it off!" The Senator obliges and is handsomely rewarded for his performance with wads of cash.
While the video is definitely light-hearted, the message behind it is serious. The media focuses on elections as the big event and starts coverage of it over a year in advance, but corporations know the main event actually happens in the months between elections. While the media speculates on whether Chris Christie's lap-band surgery means he's running for office in 2016, big business and other special interest groups like the NRA and AARP are lobbying lawmakers for favorable legislation on everything from financial regulation to gun control. In fact, some of them are even writing their own legislation!
While Americans disagree on many issues, most citizens recognize that our political system is threatened by the systematic manipulation of Congress by organizations with money. Until we make campaign finance reform a serious issue, politicians will continue to be servants to those who contribute the most to their ability to obtain and maintain power. Represent.Us hopes its "Strip Club Senator" can get politicians to work for all of their constituents, not just the ones that write them the biggest checks.