Recently I’ve been reading up on how to get money for political office, because I will be assisting a friend in running for office. This quote below reminds me why it’s so important for more of us to learn how to fundraise, and fundraise well, for the causes we believe in, and to help political candidates we believe in.
According to Jerry Brown, quoted in Money and the Meaning of Life, by Jacob Needleman,
“The essence of politics is communication.
In today’s world, however, the ability to communicate requires access to mass media and this costs millions and millions of dollars.
(Aha I thought! And that’s where fundraising comes in.)
In politics, he said, the problem is not so much what you communicate, but where you get the money that is needed in order to communicate.
Wow. Can you believe it? It doesn’t really matter what the politicians say, but where they get the money to say it.
Those who can provide the money inevitably stand for special interests that do not correspond to the needs of the people as a whole. When a very small minority controls access to the means of communication, the politician is obliged to please one or another of these small groups- banks, oil, or power.
Yes, even in the age of social media, traditional media matters. I was chatting with a political consultant recently, and he said that in our state, Oregon, and also nationally, people over 55 are the main voters in elections. So the issues that most candidates have to discuss include land taxes, elder care, social security, and housing costs, even if they can’t do anything about these things. It’s sad that many of the younger people don’t vote. Those older Americans still watch TV and look at traditional media, which means that candidates still have to get massive amounts of money to outspend the opponent to get people to vote. And the special interests can aid politicians in getting airtime or space on these networks, to convince the older voters to vote for them.
Jerry Brown continued, “So, today, more than ever, the problem of democracy is how to save people if they don’t want or won’t pay to be saved. The laws that now restrict the amount of money politicians can get are of no help as long as there are no laws that restrict the cost of TV time.
In sum, he concluded, Democracy in America depends on bribery. The term “bribery” describes 3/4ths of the activities of all politicians in the US.
Democracy depends on control of money.”
Do you want to see change in your town, your city, your state, your province or your nation?
What better way to learn how to influence the world, then, but learning how to fundraise?
When you learn how to fundraise, you can help influence democracy, for better!