Campaign Finance Reform vindication

Dear [American History high school teacher],

When I took US History with you in 2000-2001, we each wrote an essay on a presidential election issue of our choice. One of the things that stuck with me after all these years was how surprised you were that I was interested in something as technical and specialized-seeming as campaign finance reform. I told you it was only the most important issue of anything being discussed.

You said, “What about health care? What about the military? What about education reform? Issues that affect real people?”

I said, “How are we going to get anywhere on those important issues if special interests with plenty of money continue to buy the elections?”

You weren’t convinced.

Well, today MoveOn.org, one of the largest progressive advocacy groups in the country, has announced that campaign finance reform is the focus of their “most important campaign ever,” designed to “end the stranglehold that big corporations and lobbyists have on our democracy.”

Granted, they are as guilty of using dramatic language as anyone, but their commitment to the issue is real. Here is MoveOn’s explanation for why it has taken so long for campaign finance reform to resonate with Americans:

Change this big will require an honest-to-God people’s movement, and this is the right moment for it. There is overwhelming voter anger right now, and the number of people who believe that lobbyists and special interests hold sway is literally without precedent.

Are you still not convinced? Or am I the visionary I thought I was?

Or is it still too early to tell?

Best,
Robin


Update: I did in fact send this email, and my high school teacher replied:

Reminds me of my graduate research paper in 1967 when I wrote about John Muir setting the presecent for preservation and my professor said it was a minor issue.  Isn’t it great when you can stick it to the man! Well good for you for being a visionary and it’s still a topic I am clueless about so we need people like you who are dedicated.  Too bad I could not take credit for inspiring you but thanks for letting me know.  I don’t teach US anymore but basically about Africa.  I just returned two days ago from three weeks in Kazakhstan on an educational exchange.  Life goes on and good luck to you.

1 Comment »

  1. This is what happens when voters don’t understand economics Said,

    February 6, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

    […] a previous blog post I mentioned a brilliant history teacher who didn’t understand the importance of campaign […]

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