Tag Archive: Politics

Money makes the world go round

$603 million. The total amount raised by Barack Obama’s campaign.

$358 million. The total amount raised by John McCain’s campaign.

Together it equals $961 million. That’s almost $1 billion. And that’s not including the money raised by other candidates who were seeking a presidential nomination or the candidates of smaller parties.

This number is not something to be proud of, in fact it borders on embarrassing.

We are living in one of the greatest economic crises of the last century, and yet Obama raised a presidential campaign record $150 million in September alone.

That does not reflect a nation in the middle of an economic crisis.

Fifteen years ago, in 1993, Fortune Magazine published an article about what you could buy with $1 billion. Here’s just a sample:

— The average annual grocery bill for 250,000 families of four.
— A lifetime supply, 30 months on average, of disposable diapers for 666,000 children.
— Two years’ worth of AIDS research at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, or a year’s worth of the drug AZT for 333,000 HIV-infected people.
— The tuition, room, and board at an Ivy League school for 10,645 students, enough to populate the freshman classes of Brown, Cornell, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale — with $50 million left for Cliffs Notes.

Think about what we have done in the last year. Most of us are probably guilty – I am. I contributed $40 to a campaign to attend a rally. Some of us have bought t-shirts from campaigns, while others have donated money directly.

We are pouring our resources – time, energy and money – into candidates who have made one promise after another. We have eaten their words like hungry lions, desperate for some hope.

But what if, instead of dumping money into a system of deception, we put money into programs that have a history of change; the UN world food program or maybe you feel inclined to support an international child.

We stand on streets with clipboards asking every person who passes if they are registered to vote. We go to rallies and attend conventions, because this man has become a hero who we have to see in person.

We can’t do anything about the last year, but we can change the direction of the next four years. What if we took our ‘election year’ energy and used it to build houses with Habitat for Humanity? What if we handed out bagged lunches to the homeless once a month?

Imagine what American could look like.

By Nora Jorgensen

Perhaps it’s because we have minorities running for president for the first time. Perhaps it’s because Bush is just so terrible. Perhaps it’s because this is the first election without incumbents in the primaries since 1928.

Whatever the reason, the U.S. presidential primaries, traditionally a quiet and rather boring process to the majority of Americans (even to the half that does vote) have become the latest craze with up to the minute updates on the latest polls, the latest endorsements, but mostly the latest gossip.

In the place of American Idol chitchat, people are talking about surprising and even scandalous campaign endorsements. Oprah endorsed Obama, but what about power to the women? Ted and Caroline Kennedy endorsed Obama, but what about their close relationship with the Clintons? But wait, who is endorsing Clinton? It seems like Obama has all the celebrities (Stevie Wonder included). On the Republican side, McCain has… oh right, President Bush!

So, are people really paying more attention than usual to the primaries or is all this just “media hype”? After all, CNN advertises live debates among the candidates like ESPN advertises a boxing match. Most major online news sources have special sections for “the campaign trail.” It appears as though the elections have taken Paris Hilton out of the headlines in the newstainment world.

The internet tells the truth — like the 500,000 views on YouTube of the Hillary/Obama “fight” at the South Carolina democratic debate. Of course that figure doesn’t compare to the over 3 million views of Obama’s music video, “Yes We Can.”

But YouTube is only one outlet. We can’t forget Facebook. There are now over 500 Facebook groups and special applications for candidates to create their own profile pages.

In 2004, there were no Facebook groups or Youtube debates. Of course, therein lies the answer to the question, when did presidential primaries become cool?

Politics has become trendy thanks to our generation, and the internet. As up and coming voting-age youth, news networks and social networking sites are paying attention to us, and in turn we are paying attention to them — maybe even more than reality TV shows.

By Mary Lide Parker