About Me

My photo
Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

Popular Posts

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Pay to Play: Health Lobbies Buy Their Access

"This is not a democracy. It's an auction." Those are the words of a bumper sticker we stuck on a car I used to own. The obscene amount of money that are spent to elect and influence government officials keeps growing because it works. Money keeps buying access. If you might have money to give, then candidates and incumbents want to talk with you. If you already gave money, they want to keep the relationship for next time. And savvy lobbyists know what kinds of assistance and treatment specific legislators want. They also know how to sway the direction of corporate news and the TV-watching and talk show-listening public. In U. S. politics, money makes the world go 'round.

Michael Winship of truthout reports that enormous amounts of money have been spent on lobbying against health care reform in the second quarter of 2009: over $133 million in three months from insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and hospital corporations alone. This does not include spending by other organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and political action groups which is also on a grand scale.

According to community organizing, there are two kinds of power: organized money and organized people. Theodore Lowi, in The End of Liberalism, wrote that organized money had managed to dominate U. S. politics so heavily that we now operate by a de facto new constitution. Representative government flows from powerfully organized lobbies. Theologian John Howard Yoder warned Christians not to be fooled by the rhetoric of democracy, the rule of the people, when the U. S. polity is better described as a plutocracy, the rule of the wealthy.

There is faint hope in that community organizing has experienced a renaissance in the past quarter century. But grassroots movements still have most of their influence at the local level, and occasionally at the state level. There are ambitions for more national power from grassroots groups, but for now the organized money is in the lead.

I'm going to keep on asking folks to demand that Congress listen to the people and get us a universal health care plan that cuts costs and promotes preventive care. We may be a voice crying in the wilderness, but the voices of Isaiah and John both made a difference when they stood up for the truth.

No comments:

Baptist Bloggers
Powered By Ringsurf
Christian Peace Bloggers
Powered By Ringsurf