In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously refused to define obscenity. Instead, he responded with these words: “But I know it when I see it…” A few Sundays back, in a front-page story in this newspaper, we all saw it and we all know it. American politics has become an obscenity.
Seems that a first-term “representative” of the Arkansas Fourth Congressional District – one of our public “servants” – has raised more than two million dollars to run for re-election. If that smells a bit swampy to you, your olfactory sensibilities are fully intact. Consider these facts. The Fourth Congressional District spans 33 counties, about the southwestern half of the state. Except for Bradley County east of Camden, with around 11 thousand souls, the per capita income in every other county is less than 19 thousand dollars. In 26 of those 33 counties, the per capita income is less than 16 thousand dollars, with the poorest being Scott County just north of Mena on the Oklahoma border. There, the per capita income is less than 14 thousand dollars.
Now, if you really think that these are the same good, salt-of-the-earth folks who cheerfully donated that two million dollars – to a first-term “representative” who is hardly Mr. Smith goes to Washington – then I’d like to sell you a beachfront condo in Kabul! We all know unaccountable “dark money” is involved, especially in support of GOP candidates. If this is news to you, I’d suggest you look away now from “fair and balanced” propaganda, before it’s too late. You’ve got some serious catching up to do…
Do you think politics is a sporting event, where the candidate who raises the most will best “represent” you? Do you think the other candidate is unforgivably unqualified because she has less financial backing? Or is there something uglier going on here? Is it because she is a woman? A Democrat? Is it because she’s not a full-time politician but a public school teacher, working hard to prepare new American generations for a world that is fast a-changing, even within the 33 counties of the Fourth District?
Money won’t buy my vote. I will vote for the candidate who best represents not just me and mine, but also the least among us regardless of financial or social standing. Without hesitation, my vote is for Hayden Shamel.
Hot Springs, Arkansas