Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Importance of Ideals

Today NPR is reporting that President Obama is promoting Democratic Super PACs to raise money for his upcoming campaign. This is a 180-degree turn from what he's said in the past condemning Super PACs and the Citizen's United decision by the Supreme Court. The logic is, essentially, that they have to keep up with the Republicans, even though they don't like it.

Sorry, but that's not how ideals work. You stick to them, even when it's not popular, even when you might lose, even if it might kill you. If you don't then I have to question the existences of the ideals in the first place. Not long ago I criticized Mitt Romney for saying one thing and then another (about taxes). The same criticism goes to the President today. You can't hide behind the legality of a thing if you think it's wrong.

Fifty years ago it was legal to segregate and deny people the right to vote based on race, but principled people with strong ideals opposed the immoral laws. They faced persecution, pain and even death for their ideals that contradicted the laws. Yet, in the end, they won a great victory in the Civil Rights movement. One of the key markers of that victory is an African-American man in the White House.

Here's the letter I wrote to the President:
Mr. President,
I am incredibly disappointed that you would switch your stance on the use of Super PACs in your campaign. You said yourself that they are detrimental to our democracy, yet, in the face of some negative advertisements you're willing to sacrifice your ideals to win a campaign?
The Super PAC arms race can't be won in the same way that the cold war was won. We will all lose if your campaign reflects the vituperative tone of the Republican primaries.
Four years ago you campaigned on a message of hope and change. Your fund raising mobilized the youth through crowd-sourced tools online. You inspired a nation to imagine a world in which we all have a voice, not just the very wealthy. Please don't make your words of four years ago a lie by aligning yourself with any Super PAC or promoting them in any way.
I know you can't collaborate with them, but you can resoundingly condemn them for what they are - muck-rakers and borderline slanderers.
Please eschew Super PACs, for the sake of your ideals and for the sake of our electoral process.
Sincerely,
James Wood

I also started a petition at the White House website. You can sign it here.  The petition was removed because it doesn't address current government policy. I'll leave the text of it up for your perusal, even though it's not live anymore.

The text of it is:

Condemn Super PACs and refuse to support them in the campaign.
The president said: "I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities." and that "[Super PACs are] damaging to our democracy."
Yet on February 6, 2012 he and his campaign began to promote Democratic Super PACs to combat the spending of the Republican Super PACs in the upcoming campaign.
We request that the President abide by his ideals and eschew the Super PAC money. He should condemn them be they Republican, Democrat or Independent as they all serve only to drown out the voices of the people.
Please return to the message of hope and change that inspired a nation in 2008. Don't support Super PACs in this campaign.

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