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October 30, 2014


"Big bucks support the Machine’s carefully chosen candidates for Mayor and the City Council. Political action committees mostly fund their campaigns, which, as happens everywhere in this country, makes the candidates dance to their donors’ tune after being elected."

Mésalliance comes to mind, though I do not think the word has been used as to describe the unholy alliance of money and speech. Perhaps the word I am seeking is “alloy:” “a substance composed of two or more metals or of a metal and a nonmetal intimately united usually by being fused together and dissolving in each other when molten.”

What the Supreme Court has done through Citizens United has been to create an alloy of money and speech. We describe eras of history in terms of metal: Bronze Age, Iron Age, periods in which dominance of one group over another came as the result of their ability to alloy metals to create something stronger.

The alloy created by Citizens United puts us at a competitive disadvantage with your machine. No matter how hard the parties attempt to deny it, the mésalliance of money and speech has created a master key that unlocks access to those in power. The seduction of power is addictive and money is now the foundation of political power. Money-cum-speech guarantees access that speech alone can never do.

Our republic is destined to fade into the past in the same way as did Bronze Age civilizations. Unless we come up with an alloy of equal or greater strength, our republic turns into an oligarchy. Our primary Bronze Age tool, the vote, is now a dull and brittle tool, incapable of defending the principles of our republican values.

Brian, you need to haul RVP's outstanding pointed little comment up to a blog post with a permanent link of its own. I'll be stealing that metaphor quite a bit, it's really well put and useful. Thank you, sir!

Thanks for your great column in the Salem Weekly, Brian. Kind of a mega-truth bomb! The Salem City Council has been dominated by monied special interests since 2003. That's a long time. This year the evil axis of the Chamber/Homebuilders/Realtors elected three of their hand-picked candidates. One received 93% of his funding from them and another received 59% of his funding. Thankfully we beat back the axis candidate in Ward 2 who received 42% of her funding from them. Tom Andersen, who took no funding from monied special interests, will be a breath of fresh air representing Ward 2 next year.

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