By: Faizan Haq, Editor-in-Chief
Can we really blame our elected officials for compromising their ethics or selling their positions on issues to the highest bidder from campaign contributors? Shall we blame ourselves for creating an environment where content-rich advertisements and manipulated popular media are deciding our votes? What alternative does a candidate have, but to spend tons of money to campaign and reach out to our content addiction, regardless of the cost that we all end up paying, directly or indirectly? Can we, as a society, go on a low-media content diet to shed off some pounds of artificiality that is slowing our advancement? Can we rethink our organic and growth hormone-free electoral system that facilitates genuine discussions about real issues that our nation is facing?
This crisis needs to be tackled on both ends. We have to demand healthy content from the benefactors of the first amendment (i.e. media), and to limit the role of the dominant beneficiaries and enforcers of the second amendment (i.e. the NRA and its affiliates). We shall take it as a case study for many other industries and vested interests who have undue influence on our legislative branch. We must liberate the House and Senate by providing public support for campaign finance reform and freeing us from the colonization of the corporate agenda.
The student protests and the march for safe schools have revitalized our hope. We should think of ways to capitalize on this unprecedented youth activism to help solve the deeper crisis that exists within our electoral system.
The legislative guns for hire must be transformed into bodies of genuine legislative representation. It can only happen with us changing our media intake and civic engagement. We must stop drinking politics as a smoothie mixed in the corporate blender, rather than plucking and biting into the fruit off the tree that we planted ourselves. Sweet or sour, it will be ours. There is no alternative to citizen-based, grassroot activism. The student protests have provided us a vision of tomorrow, where an active and engaged generation will dictate their own agenda to their reformed elected representatives. The support of the experienced and established generation is crucial to the success of this vision. Otherwise, many of the legislators will continue to be guns for hire, representing massive lobbying groups and big money.