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If not now, when?

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 2:53 p.m. CST

In my last letter, I voiced my frustration about party politics and the lack of quality leadership amongst our political leaders. Now, I would like to turn the tables and look at our political machine from another angle.

In my opinion, our political system is broken. Broken to the point that we need a complete overhaul or at least a complete systems check to determine what is actually working for our democracy and what is not. Even though I am likely “preaching to the choir,” let’s discuss a few areas which cause me great concern, to say it mildly.

First, I think it’s wrong for political candidates to spend more time raising money for their upcoming campaign than they do with the voters in their district. It is well-known in politics that the candidate who raises the most cash is typically the winner. So, the system requires candidates to cater to big wallets, even those wallets who can’t actually vote for them.

Second, once the cash is donated to a candidate’s campaign, the candidate feels lots of pressure to satisfy this donor. So, strings are attached to this cash. And, our representative becomes a puppet with many strings pulled by many donors. Unfortunately, the system is full of puppets who are unable to vote according to the needs and concerns of the people they are supposed to represent.

Third, in order for voters to be adequately informed about the candidates, voters need to be able to depend on information they hear in campaign ads or other sources. Voters need a reliable way to assess the candidate’s qualifications, priorities and action plan for governing. This is essential for a legitimate democracy. At this time, the system is promoting distortions, exaggerations and outright lies

And, fourth, in my opinion, the power of the incumbent candidate is too strong. Some politicians need to be removed but they are most likely re-elected for another term. Our political system knows this, and both the Democratic and Republican parties will pressure their incumbents to re-run for their position even if they are no longer effective. So, the system is inhibiting the most suitable candidate from entering the political system as a new leader, resulting in career politicians who may not have intended to stay that long.

Now, comes the point of my letter. We know our political system needs to change. We know it needs to happen now. But, who is responsible for this change? The government? The Democrats? The Republicans? Warren Buffet? The next generation? My answer is none of the above. Instead, you and I are responsible. Every single eligible voter is responsible, no more passing the buck, no more blame game.

Will you stick your head in the sand or will you expect and demand more? If not now, when?

Respectfully,

Ruth Smith

Independent Candidate for Iowa House

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