Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Political Network (2007): Democracy, Inc.

In the 1976 film and corporate cautionary tale “Network,” Arthur Jensen’s character prophesied the growing influence of corporate America during his speech to Howard Beale:

“It is the international system of currency which determines the vitality of life on this planet. THAT is the natural order of things today. THAT is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today. There is no America; there is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.”

Arthur Jensen's Corporate Vision (from "Network (1976)")

Jensen’s prophecy extends itself to the Political Network, which has succeeded in creating the illusion of Democracy in America, wherein our government is supposedly ruled by and for the people. But the system is continuously undermined by the shadows hiding behind closed doors, underneath tables and in the dark corners of alleyways. Hiding behind loosely veiled campaign finance laws, these shadows have managed to hijack Democracy, while pandering to the corporate interests of the Political Network, Inc.

In America’s Political Network, citizens over the age of 18 are given a single share in Democracy, Inc., assuming they register to vote and exercise this right on Election Day. But after all these shares are counted and the winners are declared, the cogs of the Political Network’s underbelly kick into gear as politicians begin crafting legislation. Meanwhile, lobbyists, serving as symbolic monetary reminders, step out of the shadows and persuade politicians to legislate and vote on behalf of their investors.

As political campaigns heat up, individual shareholders denounce the vast amounts of money poured into election coffers, but nothing major changes as campaign war chests grow exponentially in proportion to the rising numbers of public denunciations.

Champions for campaign finance reform speak out against this and how it’s eroding voters' faith in politicians, politicians and Democracy itself. Often their efforts, like Howard Beale's in "Network," are thwarted by the omnipotent powers that be. By shedding light on some of the political practices lurking in the shadows, individual shareholders can reclaim a stake in the political process and usurp Democracy from the corporate financiers.

Read original post @ "Iowa Independent"