Money talks and bullshit walks is the saying. But money also pays for a lot of bullshit. Here is a classic example. Rich guy, the billionaire type, Tom Steyer with too much money decides to spend $30 million to get folks, mostly Democrats to sign his petition—not to fund medical research, not to help rebuild homes in Puerto Rico, not to send kids to college, not to underwrite a contest among 14-year olds for new solutions to climate change—no, none of that. His brightless idea is to impeach the president.
All he has succeed in doing is getting folks to remember his name, sidetrack the Democrats from some serious public policy challenges and trying to turn this year’s mid-term elections into a one issue campaign. Single issue campaigns never win.
I know it is his money. And I know there is a First Amendment. And the Supreme Court ruled that companies are people—so they too can throw money at politics and pay for their amendments. But there are already two provisions in the Constitution for this to happen, and Steyer has not been elected to anything.
Toward getting unstuck: There is something wrong when one person can force their view on a whole community by just paying for the advertising space. Yes we can switch the channel. Yes we can put it on mute. Yes we can ignore it. But this is air pollution. It no more bumps up against the First Amendment guaranteeing free speech than shouting fire in a theatre, showing nudity in ads, selling food that has no Food and Drug Administration approval or lying about a product. Look, the networks couldn’t even say “shithole” for fear of the FCC, Federal Communication Commission: they had to say or show “s***hole”.
The networks should set aside one percent of their profits for a one-hour special on cable, like Showtime, HBO, Hulu or the cartoon channel for guys like Steyer to say what they want to say. Scheduling the show for around midnight has a certain rightness about it. Maybe it could be called: Money Talks or Loose Change.
What do you think of the problem and how would you fix it?