Our Pledge To You

Opinion

Buying votes is very wrong unless you’re working for the very rich

In this file photo from Feb. 4, 2015, businessman Willie Wilson, candidate for the office of Mayor of Chicago, points as he speaks at a news conference after a televised debate at WTTW in Chicago. |AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Willie Wilson used his conservative, church-based constituency to win nearly all of the West and South Sides last week as he finished fourth in the run for mayor. Looking forward, Wilson is trying to sway his 50,000 supporters toward a primarily young group of newcomers for the City Council. | Nam Y. Huh/AP file photo

Buying votes is a terrible thing.

By that I mean, it’s all right for a man who is a billionaire to spend millions of dollars on TV commercials to buy an election. It’s just not good for you to get any of that money.

OPINION

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that groups and individuals have a constitutional right to spend massive sums of money on commercials in order to elect someone who is going to pass laws that put billions of dollars in the pockets or rich folks.

On the other hand, if a fellow running for office wants to hand out a few bucks on a street corner to homeless people and say, “Vote for me because I gave you money for food,” that is considered immoral, unethical and bad for the country.

Willie Wilson, a candidate for mayor in Chicago, recently handed out about $200,000 to people at a church. That became a news story because, according to some folks, he was trying to buy votes.

Wilson, a millionaire, said he was just trying to help people pay their property taxes. He said he has been doing that at church gatherings for years through a foundation he started.

Some people get checks. Others get cash.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with buying votes. Though I realize this is going to make some people gasp.

Those who will be shocked include the self-righteous folks who run organizations that buy politicians with campaign contributions and the lobbyists who give money to elected officials to buy their votes.

Buying voters is considered evil. Buying politicians is the American way.

There was a time when I thought paying people to vote was wrong. That was before I realized the only people not making a buck off elections are the people who vote.

The TV networks make a ton of money during the election season. So do election lawyers, analysts, pollsters, public relations people and advertising executives.

Millions of dollars are spent on commercials that lie, distort facts and exploit hatred and fear. That’s all legal.

It doesn’t matter because the TV networks are making money and money is free speech, according to the Supreme Court. It’s perfectly legal to spend huge amounts of money to mislead the people. But political candidates can’t slip you a few bucks to vote.

The result is an election system widely acknowledged as corrupt. We get terrible candidates and, as Will Rogers once said, the best government money can buy.

The influence peddlers will say that someone has to stand for truth, justice and the American way during elections. That would be you…the typical sucker.

You are the one who must not make a dime. If you sell your vote, even if it you do it to buy your kid some shoes or make a tax payment to keep your home, you are considered lowlife scum.

If I were king, I would forbid billionaires like Gov. Bruce Rauner and his opponent J.B. Pritzker from spending money on TV commercials. Every dollar of the $100 million they’re going to spend trying to get elected in November would go to average people.

Let the candidate handing out the largest bills to the most people win.

Heck, I hope people take their money and vote for someone else.

This is where we’re at as a nation. People with money who don’t have a clue how to run the government, who can’t make anything work right and are incapable of fixing any problem, get elected because they can buy public office.

The people who will pay for their mistakes, the taxpayers, aren’t allowed to make a dollar.

Buying votes is already legal, it’s just reserved for the wealthy.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com