The Price of Politics and Poverty

It's difficult to rationalize the pricey outcome from this campaign season and the lives that remain unchanged due to the inability of those who are supposed to represent them to pay attention to their cries for assistance.
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We can take a look back over the 2012 election cycle and discuss at length the significance of reelecting the first black president for a second term or we can delve into the obscene amount of money invested in the presidential election across the country. Choosing the latter would greatly benefit the society at large and provide introspection into a topic that gets easily glossed over in politics: poverty.

Although it might not be popular; it needs to be addressed. The United States of America has 46 million of its citizens living in a perpetual state of poverty and another 23 million who are unemployed. One could surmise that at least half of the 60 million votes President Obama received on Tuesday came from this voting bloc. Out of these great numbers of citizens, many have become disenchanted and disillusioned with the level of partisanship going on in Congress to solve the financial issues that plague their communities daily.

Money seems to be the common denominator when it comes to politics. If a candidate's campaign can't raise the necessary funds, a candidate with the most well-meaning platform has absolutely no chance of winning their political party's nomination. It's all about the almighty dollar. How did we get to this point? Over the past four election cycles, the bare minimum of one billion dollars has been spent by both political parties vying to win the presidency. The problem became accentuated with the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court two years ago.

As a result, the money being spent during election cycles has reached asinine levels and there is no end in sight. The fundraising power of independent groups including Super PACs far exceeds the power of any non-profit organization's ability to recruit uber-wealthy contributors in their fight against the rising cauldron of poverty. There are children and adults who wake up without food to eat and a roof over their heads while the wealthiest in this country made it rain in our living rooms with political advertisements like rappers dropping money at strippers in a strip club.

CNN Money reports that according to the Center for Responsive Politics, "In the presidential race, those supporting President Obama have spent $931 million, while those supporting Republican challenger Mitt Romney have spent more than $1 billion." It was estimated by the same agency that close to $4 billion could be the final total shelled out in the 2012 election cycle making it the most expensive election in the history of the country. Numerous citizens could rightly argue why it costs so much to become the leader of the free world. Nine super PAC donors gave over $60 million dollars to various political causes within the same time frame.

There is another looming financial crisis coming in January. Political pundits have accurately dubbed it the "financial cliff." It is being reported the poor will bear an even greater burden if President Obama and Congress can't find a bi-partisan resolution. So -- for all the money disbursed by both sides of the political spectrum the country still finds itself in a monetary quandary and poverty still hangs around our necks like an albatross.

It's difficult to rationalize the pricey outcome from this campaign season and the lives that remain unchanged due to the inability of those who are supposed to represent them to pay attention to their cries for assistance. The working poor and impoverished continue to languish in despair because the money that could help them rise from the ashes like a phoenix go to those who don't need another check with five, six or seven zeros behind it.

The fact remains this country simply can't afford this train of thought as we move forward. Turning a blind eye to an increasing problem only exacerbates it. The only way to assist the 69 million who are looking for an opportunity to achieve the "American dream" is to begin redistributing the wealth in a fashion conducive to uplifting the poor and impoverished out of their status quo in American society. It is becoming apparent the poor will never have a representative in Congress to properly address their circumstances due the political climate that exists today.

Of the two presidential candidates, President Obama spoke about the need to reform our tax code and provide a helping hand to the citizens who reside at the bottom of the totem pole during his second term. He now has the political capital to make good on his promises and let's hope he delivers. There should be a law enacted to allocate the monies left over from the campaigns to go to nonprofits and programs that specialize in supporting low-income communities. To think about all the wasted money remaining in the hands of election campaigns is enough to wonder what those dollars could contribute in transforming impoverished areas. It would be revolutionary.

In the words of former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, "Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings."

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