Campaign Finance

Birch grove north of the Tate Modern

I’m experiencing a bit of a sinking spell. Some of it is affected by the weather. London was warm and sunny, and had you not known that last week of September was September, you might have thought that it was July… July in a warmer place than London. The parks were full of partially dressed people lounging in the grass, soaking up the sun, charging their batteries against the advancing winter.

The scene at the Tate Modern was so striking in an Impressionist sense that I immediately thought  of Seurat’s “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Although you cannot see the Thames in my photo, the river is just beyond. The vision, both experienced and remembered, warmed me.

And then I flew home to Colorado.

And I am chilled. Some of it is the weather. Yesterday, October 8, the ski season opened with three feet of new snow at Wolf Creek. As for the Sangre de Cristo Mountains closer to home, they too have snow. Not enough to ski, but enough to hint at colder weather to come.

Some of my gloom is related to the weather; more of my gloom is related to the 2012 campaign which sledge-hammered me once I returned to Colorado. In one short week, I received three calls from the Democratic National Committee.

Yes, I am a Democrat. Yes, I have donated to past campaigns. But I resent being hounded. I  delete all E-mails asking asking for donations. I recognize the address; I have no need to open the e-mail; I know what they want. Delete. Delete. Delete. Sometimes I am so fast with the delete key that I inadvertently delete E-mails that I want to read. The callers want my money. Paraphrasing their spiel… people are on the ground doing the grassroots work. I shouldn’t wait until the last-minute. They need money now. Can they put me down for $5,000. dollars?

I tell them that donations are a joint decision and my husband isn’t home. Undeterred, they want to know when they can call back. I want to say, “Never!” And yet… given the nature of the beast, we will give… at some point.

I clench my teeth. My heart hardens. The election is 13 months away! I go on-line. How much money is wasted on campaigns? I am not alone in my frustration: a Gallop Poll issued 10/29/2008 reported that voters responded 3-1 that too much money was spent on campaigns.

The general election campaigns of 2004 cost 4.2 billion. The 2008 campaigns cost 5.3 billion. Looking ahead, the Non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics estimates that candidates, political parties, and interest groups will spend 8 billion on the 2012 combined campaigns for the Presidency, House, and Senate.

Such a waste of money! I rebel. I won’t donate. And yet… if money is the name of the game and I want to have a voice… I will donate. Reluctantly. I can’t swallow. Something is caught in my throat.

The Ides of March (written, directed, and played by George Clooney) did well at this year’s Venice Film Festival. John Avlon, writing in the Aug. 28 Newsweek, wrote that the movie is “a political thriller that fits the feel of this election season – more dark and cynical than hope and change.”

Interviewed at the Venice Film Fest, Clooney said, “The story is about ambition – do the ends justify the means? At what price do we sell our souls.?”

I look forward to seeing the movie. I don’t want to be cheered up. I’d rather hunker down, build a fire in the wood stove, and wallow in despair. Surely we can find better ways to spend our money than to spend it on hot air.

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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4 Responses to Campaign Finance

  1. Doris, I am glad you are writing your columns again. What a different world you have returned to. When your ski season started we had several quite hot summer days, 29 degree Celsius. Thank you for your beautiful photographs. Have you got a new camera?
    Helga

  2. timeout2 says:

    Thank you for your note, Helga. I’m always adrift for a week or so when I return home from London It takes me awhile to anchor. Will post some more photographs tomorrow. Same old camera. Will respond to your E-mails in a couple of days. Doris

  3. PJ Bindley says:

    Amen, Sister. Just thinking about what a positive impact that campaign money could have in people’s daily lives gives me shivers.
    Pat is at the movie as I write….will be interested in her opinion. Hope you see it soon and am glad you are out of the “hunkered down” stage 🙂

    • timeout2 says:

      Dear Phylis, Ah yes, daily lives – those lives lived outside the golden Beltway. I’m involved in our local Sharing Center, and the needs are dire. Instead of serving mashed potatoes at a homeless center on Christmas Eve (what a great photo op!) all politicians should serve in their local food pantry one day a month. Or better yet, all the politicians should be locked down and eat only provisions provided by their local food pantry. Their release would depend on passing a real election reform bill. xo

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