Get money out of politics

The term âÄúbribeâÄù is used when something, such as money, is offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that personâÄôs views or conduct. I wonder why we donâÄôt say âÄúbribeâÄù when dealing with the subject of money in politics.
It is commonplace these days for lobbyists, corporations and people with vast amounts of wealth to give donations to campaigns directly and through other entities such as Political Action Committees and Super PACs. Elected officials feel indebted to those people who donated large sums of money to help them be elected.
One might hope this really doesnâÄôt happen and that politicians actually represent their constituents, but the sad truth is that the people we elect to represent us donâÄôt really care about us unless we are able to motivate large amounts of people to fund their campaigns. One example of this comes from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who issued an executive order requiring young girls to be vaccinated with Gardasil, which prevents some types of HPV. If one follows the money, it is clear why Perry did this: Merck, the manufacturer of the vaccine, donated gross amounts of money to the Perry campaign.
It isnâÄôt just Perry or one party that is involved with this behavior. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, both Democrats and Republicans, are engaged in these exchanges of favors. The whole situation can be extremely demoralizing, and one may feel like there is no way to change this broken system. But there is: through âÄúclean elections,âÄù also known as âÄúvoter-owned electionsâÄù or âÄúfair elections.âÄù
This system describes a way of running campaigns in which the government provides funding to qualified candidates who agree not to raise money from any private sources. In a fair-election system, the people whom we elect to represent us would be more willing to listen to their constituents since they are the people who funded their campaign. It may seem like a daunting task, but we should be fighting for clean and fair elections so our elected officials work for us. If you are interested in getting involved in the movement for peopleâÄôs representation, you can check out the Democracy Matters student group on campus, which works to fight against big moneyâÄôs stranglehold on our political system.