U.S. can never whitewash its ugly money politics

By Zhong Sheng
Certain Americans are doing everything to defame and stigmatize other countries under the disguise of protecting human rights. However, the more they act like a “lecturer in human rights”, the more they expose their own problems. For instance, the in-name-only civil and political rights in the U.S. are no secret for the rest of the world.
China’s State Council Information Office recently issued a report on the human rights violations in the U.S., illustrating with abundant facts how worsening money politics distorts public opinion and how money games are affecting U.S. political elections.
At present, the race to raise money for the 2020 presidential election is heating up in the U.S., presenting another money-driven political carnival. According to data released on Dec. 29, 2019 on the website of the Federal Election Commission, candidates have raised more than $1.08 billion for the 2020 presidential election and spent $531 million. Besides, spending in the 2018 elections for Congress topped $5.7 billion, shooting past the $5.3 billion spent during the then-recording breaking 2008 presidential election and making the battle for control of the House and Senate the most expensive midterm ever.
Statistics suggest that over 86 percent of the largest spenders in the 21st century finally won the lower house elections. CNBC reported that U.S. presidential elections have turned into a war over money. America’s self-touted freedom and democracy are nothing but a monodrama staged by the rich.
Big money in politics has overwhelmed the political process, granting wealthy special interests more power now than at any time in recent American history, “distorting the voices of everyday citizens and putting the foundation of our democracy at risk.”
The Supreme Court of the U.S. ruled in 2010 that corporations and independent groups may spend unlimited funds for or against candidates for president and Congress. This later facilitated the continuously increasing “purchase power” of the billionaires in elections, and owners of some corporations even bargained with politicians in public.
In recent decades, a pair of intertwined developments have magnified the influence of money on politics: The rich keep getting richer, and the Supreme Court has made it much easier for politicians to tap that wealth, said U.S. press. Political scientist Martin Gilens with Princeton University concluded that the political policies adopted by Washington in the past 40 some years showed that the actual policy outcomes strongly reflect the preferences of the most affluent but bear virtually no relationship to the preferences of poor of middle-income Americans. In the U.S. political ecology where money outweighs votes, the public will mouthed by politicians is just a fig leaf for capital.
Money politics in the U.S. is making citizens harder and harder to exercise their political rights. In 2018, Martin Luther King’s cousin Christine Jordan was blocked from voting in Atlanta, 50 years after the assassination of the U.S. civil rights leader.
The Guardian commented that Jordan’s troubles were not unusual, and there is mounting evidence of systemic attempts to prevent growing numbers of Americans from being able to exercise the right to vote. Seven percent of Americans do not have photo IDs, which means they cannot exercise their democratic right to vote. Ten percent of counties in Georgia only has one polling station each, and the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck System is also eliminating registrations arbitrarily.
In the game of the U.S. money politics, civil rights are repeatedly trampled upon by the interests of politicians and capitalists, which makes “free and fair” election a farce.
Money politics has also led to a proliferation of guns in the U.S. where a total of 39,052 people died from gun-related violence last year. Though there have been increasingly louder voices for gun control, political games around the topic eventually faded.
The U.S. has a huge industrial chain centering on the manufacture, trade and use of guns, which forms a gigantic interest group. In the country where “money is the mother’s milk of politics”, the fact that a person is killed with gun every 15 minutes is nothing comparable to the huge political donations made by the interest groups, including the National Rifle Association. Money politics, which indulges the proliferation of guns, has posed severe threats for life, personal and treasure security of the U.S. citizens.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter warned that money in politics makes the nation more like an “oligarchy than a democracy”. Such warning came from helplessness, as the American “lecturers in human rights” do not care about the human rights at all in their own country. They can never hide the non-existence of the civil and political rights of the U.S. citizens – a result of money politics, no matter how ignorantly they defame and stigmatize other countries.
An ancient Chinese proverb might offer some help here – one can never correct the mistakes of others if he fails to correct his own.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)

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