Make no bones about it, politics has become growth industry in this country. Ever since the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, money has flowed into campaigns like never before. I used to think it was bad 10-20 years ago, but in 2012, the political money machine is simply out of control.
The blizzard of visual pollution on television, in front yards, along highways and byways, and in the mailbox, along with the mind-numbing droll over the radio and in robocalls makes the political industry the number one mass polluter on the planet in my book. Is this really what our founders intended when they wrote the Constitution. I sure hope not!
Given the 24/7 news cycle, politics is no longer a now and then annoyance, but has become a daily dose of hyperbole. No sooner than the election is over tonight will the pundits be predicting the 2016 front runners. Ugh! If you are a political junkie, you need to go cold turkey for awhile. Please!
On the positive side, I have found that no longer having a land line has kept me from getting any robocalls. Yay!
All this leaves me with the question, are there any other ways (short of moving to a monastery or the moon) to limit the pollution of politics without infringing on free speech rights? Sure, there are limitations on when signs can be posted (being challenged here and there) and they must be taken down fairly shortly after the votes have been cast, but aren’t there any other options? Please feel free to send along your ideas, suggestions, and links to any corresponding ordinances you may know of.
Here are a few untested ideas I have – some may be options for planners and some will require action by the Federal Elections Commission or legislation:
- Limit the time frame of the campaigns nationally. Primaries and debates from January to May and general election from September to November. Let summer be summer from June-August.
- Advocate through the APA for the reversal of Citizens United.
- Require all campaign signs to be biodegradable and/or recyclable, including the stupid posts.
- Require all campaigns to include a reminder to recycle and to display the recycling logo on all printed literature and mailings.
- Prohibit robocalls to cell phones and to anyone who wishes to opt out of receiving them.
- Someone please invent a device that automatically blots out and/or mutes any and all political commercials on the television.
- Limit yard signs to one per candidate per yard.
- Designate specific “political event parks” where campaigning and rallies may be held and which have the infrastructure in place to handle the crowds.
- Require all campaigns and candidates to clean up after themselves when thy hold a rally or event. Otherwise, bill them for the cost of clean-up.
Free speech does not give anyone the right to freely pollute with anything other than ideas. Politics may now be a growth industry, but it also should have to follow adopted codes and ordinances just like any other industry. Unfortunately, there is little we can do about the foul odor of bad ideas.