Change in Illinois

The recent scandal involving the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, who tried to sell or trade the Senate seat vacated by Pres. Elect Obama, just goes to show that someone other than Obama wanted “change.” In the governor’s case, the change that he sought was illegal, unlike the change that Obama wanted.

On a serious note, this scandal shows a few things about politics in America. First, this corruption is far from the norm. There are quite a few corrupt politicians in America but the U.S. has some of the lowest rates of corruption in the world. Second, this shows there are corrupt politicians here in America. Such corruption should never be accepted nor tolerated. Such behavior is in opposition to all that democracies (or democratic republics) stand for.

The governor was trying to sell Obama’s old Senate seat. It’s not that different from politicians spending as much money as they can to get elected. One is legal and the other isn’t, but the ethical line between the two acts is quite tenuous. This is one reason I’m in favor of adding drastic restrictions on campaign spending. Obama probably raised upwards of $600 million during his campaign, maybe close to $1 billion! That is an obscene amount of money. I know a lot of it came from fairly small donations from a lot of people but that much money, regardless of the source, is still a lot of money. With how the money is spent on advertising and a lot of other things, candidates effectually buy themselves their seats. Now, a lot of other things factor in, such as their message, their charisma, their political party, their religion, and their age, but money has a huge impact on outcome. Further, if we expect our government to be more frugal in its spending, we should greatly reduce the amount of money candidates are able to spend on their campaigns.

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