Over 200 years ago, on February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born. According to Lincoln, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth,” but in the wake of the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision, what about government fueled by corporations and money? Should more money be raised in the name of saving us from the influence of money in politics? David didn’t beat Goliath by playing his game.
What troubles me is the fact that money is used as a barrier to keep average people out of politics. If you are not rich enough or politically connected enough, does that mean you can’t have a voice? Is the path to political victory paved with money? Are the campaigns in Los Angeles powered by people to help make our community better or are they run by machines to simply gain more power? Now is the time for our Spring rising revolution where the success of a campaign is measured by whether it helps Los Angeles and increases participation in democracy.
I have faith that, at least in California and with the emergence of social media, you can win an election without having to spend millions of dollars on mailers. Now that the Los Angeles County Sheriff, Supervisor and Congressional races are in full swing, and over 12 people are running, I would like to issue a challenge to all candidates who will be on the June 3 ballots. Why not change the game? What if we all agreed to set aside 10% of all the millions of dollars raised over the course of the next several months and give it to community organizations that make Los Angeles better? Last May, the Los Angeles mayoral candidates spent over $7 million. This June, the combined campaigns will raise anywhere from $10 to $20 million. That means there could be up to $2 million donated to community organizations. Who are the people in your neighborhood who are in need of help or are making the county better? Why not help them? Maybe it’s Homeboy Industries, California Wildlife Center, the Boys and Girls Club, the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation or another local nonprofit.Let’s lead by example and use our campaigns as a tool to actually make Los Angeles better now, not through policies you promise to enact later. I have faith that California and Los Angeles can show the rest of our country how political campaigns can work for the people, by the people, to help the people! Politics doesn’t have to be fueled by money. We have creativity and we have the passion, now all we need is the courage to work together to help today, not after we are elected. Will you take the pledge with me?