Your average petty criminal gets a pretty bad rap, all things considered. At first glance your burglars, muggers, and other varieties of thieves appear to be among the lowest of the low that society has to offer, but compared to those who are gradually pilfering the most important parts of our democracy, you begin to see the first group of lowlifes in a new light. For example, most burglars will wait until you’re away to steal all of your worldly possessions. They know, as do we, that if they were to appear in broad daylight while we were at home, they would be caught and subjected to whatever punishment the law handed down. That small act of waiting until your back is turned to rob you blind seems like a measure of respect compared to the electoral shenanigans of North Carolina’s own Art Pope.
The local election purchasing impresario and his regiment of personally financed “non-profits” have sharpened the game of funneling corporate money to state candidates into an art form. In the 2010 cycle, his foundations channeled a ridiculous amount of money across the state. Now that Pope’s cronies are being installed into positions of power, they are working to roll back North Carolina’s voter owned elections programs. In combination with the supreme court’s citizens united ruling, this would make it almost impossible for anyone but the most well-funded interests groups to have any impact on state elections, effectively shifting the right to free elections from the electorate to the private sector.
Interestingly enough, former speaker of the House Tom “the Hammer” DeLay was just sentenced to three years in prison for the money laundering that he did in 2002 to win Republicans the Texas state legislature. As Democracy NC’s Bob Hall points out, it is illegal in Texas just as it is here in NC for corporations to give money to state candidates. I bring this up so that I may digress my original point. While a common thief may have the common decency to rob you while your back is turned, right now our liberties are being pilfered and sold off to the highest bidder right in front of our eyes. If nothing is done soon to protect the meager progress we have made towards free and fair elections then soon control of our destiny will be taken out of our hands, and put into the care of men like Art Pope.
Thanks to Democracy NC and
the Institute for Southern Studies for the links.