What if America became a true democracy? Could you imagine? What if you became your own representative? No more politicians, no more lobbyists, no more PACs. Just a justice system and law enforcement. What if you were able to read a proposed act and vote from your computer using your protected social security code? How would America change?
My dad and I have had several conversations involving this kind of scenario. America has the technology and the security to permit this kind of voting system. If every American used their social security card or another type of code, logged in to a secure website via a computer and voted yay or nay on a proposed bill, I think we’d find that people have more common sense than politicians do. Obviously, Internet security would have to be boosted and fraud would cancel out votes or call for a re-vote, but time and again, representatives have turned away from the voices of the people and voted based on their personal beliefs.
Recently, Americans launched one of the largest protests in history against SOPA and PIPA. Not only did individuals send letters, emails, and calls to their representatives, but websites provided links and petitions that made contacting senators and representatives easier than ever before. It worked. Many more representatives removed support from these acts and many started to oppose them. SOPA and PIPA were dropped. So, why can’t we do this more often? Can’t we cut out the middle man?
Although it’d be nice to no longer have to deal with political scandals, racism, sexism, conservatism, liberalism, and many other –isms, there are those that may abuse and manipulate an electronic-only voting system.
Unfortunately, the voting system we have now is just as corrupted and manipulated. The following is a list of representatives that received money (“donations”) from organizations either supporting or opposing SOPA/PIPA.
Several of the politicians on these lists received donations from both sides of the issue, whether or not they have declared a position on the issue at this time. Ie Senator Harry Reid. We have italicized those that have taken a public co-sponsor position on the issue.
Donations from organizations supporting SOPA/PIPA
House of Representatives:
Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7] $668,192
Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28] $590,398
Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5] $557,107
Rep. James Clyburn [D, SC-6] $486,927
Rep. Michael Capuano [D, MA-8] $465,500
Rep. Bruce Braley [D, IA-1] $438,839
Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] $416,100
Rep. Allyson Schwartz [D, PA-13] $409,019
Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8] $403,800
Rep. Gary Peters [D, MI-9] $395,798
Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] $3,502,624
Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $2,648,770
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $2,080,651
Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $1,431,843
Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA] $1,364,872
Sen. Robert Portman [R, OH] $1,363,009
Sen. Patrick Toomey [R, PA] $1,291,744
Sen. Michael Bennet [D, CO] $1,019,172
Sen. Mark Kirk [R, IL] $911,296
Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT] $905,310
Donations from organizations oppossing SOPA/PIPA
House of Representatives:
Rep. William Owens [D, NY-23] $303,609
Rep. Chellie Pingree [D, ME-1] $204,200
Rep. Gary Peters [D, MI-9] $168,370
Rep. Niki Tsongas [D, MA-5] $153,550
Rep. Gerald Connolly [D, VA-11] $110,530
Rep. Kurt Schrader [D, OR-5] $108,550
Rep. Michael Capuano [D, MA-8] $100,050
Rep. James Moran [D, VA-8] $99,750
Rep. Allyson Schwartz [D, PA-13] $97,300
Rep. James Himes [D, CT-4] $96,500
Sen. Michael Bennet [D, CO] $1,359,304
Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $388,914
Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] $339,226
Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $303,434
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $289,894
Sen. Patrick Toomey [R, PA] $281,655
Sen. Patty Murray [D, WA] $280,072
Sen. Chris Coons [D, DE] $212,550
Sen. Richard Blumenthal [D, CT] $170,199
Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA] $152,369
This information is provided by Michael Vass’s political blog. Senator Michael Bennet from Colorado received over $1 million to oppose SOPA/PIPA.
I don’t know about you, but that’s buying a vote. No matter how a company or politician spins it, this is pure and unfortunately legal manipulation.
Because an electronic-only voting system is years ahead of us, one of the only ways to fix this issue is to make it illegal for people who hold political offices to receive money from organizations and individuals who are associated with an upcoming possible legislation. Of course, in order to make this illegal, Congress has to vote on it.
Congress members are already paid more than their fair share of salaries. The Speaker of the House makes $223,500 per year (I hated typing that).
I understand the position is important, but there is no way that he or she needs that much money a year. It’s excessive, wasteful, and robbery. Congress is the only institution that gets to set its own pay and pay raises. Where are the checks and balances? The smallest salary for a House member is $172,500 per year (Chaplain). In the Senate, the President pro tempore makes at least $193,400 per year. A Chaplain makes $155,500 per year. That’s your money going into their pockets.
Don’t give excuses for this kind of salary. They didn’t earn it. They were nominated for it and you nominated them. But you didn’t nominate the salary. You probably didn’t even know their salaries until you read this. Know how you can stop it? Contact them. Bombard them with emails and get your friends to write emails too. We just stopped SOPA and PIPA because we got involved, and with the Internet, it’s easier than ever to get active. You don’t even have to leave the couch. No more excuses. This is your America. It’s what you make of it. So, stop bitchin’ and start typing.