Fixing Dollarocracy with Democracy

Guest Post by: Courtney Kronschnabel, Future Public Relations Practitioner

Books about politics has never been on my “must read” list. That is the very reason I chose to read this book. I thought, I’m in my twenty’s and I need to get with the program and maybe Dollarocracy can help me get there. Well, it’s safe to say I made a good choice in deciding to read this book.

McCThis is not only a book about politics and money, it’s a book that is calling young people to action through facts, figures and carefully crafted words that explain in a somewhat simple way the crisis America has on its hands. John Nichols and Robert McChesney write about how money and the media is essentially destroying America through our government. They explain how money is dictating the system and how “we now have a system that is now defined more by one dollar, one vote, than one person, one vote.” It’s a game that politicians and media corporations play, and sadly, the citizens of the United States are thrust into the game with out even trying out for the team.

When speaking at Marquette University, Nichols explained the reason we are all thrust into this game is because we have all suspended our belief in the system. We have come to think that money allows the system to work, but in reality, big money is just how the system works. It has become so common that we think it’s normal. And there it is…that was me before reading this book.

McC graphicI was completely one of those blind players not realizing how much politicians spend on elections and not realizing that it isn’t normal. What really drove this point home was when McChesney explained how America spent a total of $10.3 billion in the 2012 elections, while other countries spend a fraction of that. He gave the example of Germany. The U.S. spent $32 more per person in election spending than Germany did. Now that’s a lot of money!  After realizing I was one of the millions of Americans that didn’t realize what was happening, my next though was: sooooo what am I supposed to do about it?

Well not surprisingly enough, they mentioned and focused on that exact question in their speech. Nichols gave a very impressive call to action. I am not sure about the rest of my classmates, but I felt inspired after his speech. After hearing all the somber words containing the harsh facts and figures from McChesney, Nichols brought a light of hope. The solution is simple, “fix dollarocracy with democracy.” He explained how young people just like myself have the power to change the system. We are not always an object of the government. He said, “money is not speech, corporations are not people and votes are not equal to dollars.” And that is exactly right!

A corporation is not me, and one dollar sure is not as valuable as my vote. He called on everyone in the crowd to take a minute and think back at all of the times that the constitution was reformed and then asked us to think about who pushed those reformations through…it was young forward thinking people…it was us. He left us with this thought “you need to decide if you are going to become those founders again.” And so we do, the future of our government is up to us. While that’s a scary thought, I’d argue that it is an exciting one.

Dollarocracy has taught me more than just how congress gets bills passed, how much money other countries spend on elections, or how much my vote is worth. It has taught me that I can be a founder of our government – it just takes a little understanding and perseverance.

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