The Ice-PAC cometh
The most fabulous video game of the 1980s turned out to be Pac-Man. The object of the game was to direct your Pac-Man (with jaw working) through an elaborate maze, eating every dot you could spot along the way, all the time moving to avoid being eaten by the various ghosts and monsters.  The game raked in billions of dollars, one quarter at a time.

The newest video game is political, called “Super PAC Man.” Its object is to bolster a political candidate by spending millions of dollars on negative ads that discredit (with jaw working) any political opponents. The ghosts and monsters the ads create are designed to scare off voters, not to educate them. And the PAC men (and women) don’t have to reveal themselves until after the election. They just appear out of nowhere. They don’t even have to raise their money one quarter at a time.

You see, the Supreme Court in 2010 decided that money talks, and because it talks, it deserves to have its freedom of speech protected.  It’s not as if politicians of the past haven’t bankrolled their elected offices, but the Super PAC makes it even easier for big money to launder its opinions and unfairly influence elections by creating a syndicate of television bogeymen.

The Newt’s slam dunk in South Carolina is a case in point. News media reported that one PAC donation to the Gingrich campaign from a wealthy friend amounted to $5 million, which permitted the pro-Gingrich forces to rally a counter-attack on the ads being aired by The Mitt’s pro-Romney forces. Diehard supporters of The Newt can only hope he didn’t spend all his money on one primary, but on the other hand, the idea of a mute Newt has some appeal.

The entire PAC (political action committee) issue is a complicated money trail for the news bloodhounds to follow, but even worse for the general public, it’s still a long, long time before the 2012 elections finish and the politicians will finally PAC it in. If the Republican primaries are just the appetizer, let me confess I’m already fed up.  I’m not looking forward to the political wars continuing all spring, summer and fall.

If there was a solution, some elegant clause enacted by the FCC, the public wouldn’t have to suffer through another political overload. It’s not as if Americans should drop out of the political process, but voters’ ideologies are not being directly or honestly communicated through the unending smokescreen of campaign ads, which is why I’m in favor of creating a new PAC – an Ice-PAC – of grass and glacial roots, an anti-inflammatory movement to reduce the swelling of all those political egos.

It appears in American politics that once a citizen has accumulated several million dollars of personal wealth, he or she suddenly believes the gift of social insight has been bestowed. Billionaires, of course, feel they possess that entitlement from birth. Why they don’t just go out like Andrew Carnegie and sink their excess wealth into a project like building libraries, I’ll never know.

If the Supreme Court or Congress continues to refuse to moderate how politicians get their campaign financing, then we’ll just have to adjust how politicians get their message out to the public. It would be nice if the Ice-PAC could simply say “Cool it,” and the politicians would take notice.
 
Unfortunately, the negative ads, no matter what the public says, will continue to run. But wouldn’t it also be nice to confine them, say, to one afternoon or evening, like a political Superbowl, or a truly “Amazing Race.” We could stay up late, just like on the real election night, and find out through a kind of People’s Choice awards which political campaigner might be the next president, and which ones got voted off the continent.
I know, an Ice-PAC could be accused of trying to control the media, though aren’t we all pretty much victims of whoever decides to plunk enough cash down on the networks’ desks right now?

Maybe we need to adjust our message. Even if the media won’t listen, I’d like to see a revolution when it comes to campaign signs. Let’s abandon the traditional goose step of political parties and instead, into every neighborhood lawn, plant our opinions so they boldly express what we believe, not for whom we’d most likely vote. “I’d vote for health care” instead of Obama/Biden, or “I support fair taxes” instead of Romney/O’Donnell 2012 – signs of the times, not of the politicians.

Of course, the radical opposition will always pop up like weeds: counter-signs declaring “I vote for loaded guns” or “Environmentalists, make my disaster.” But that’s what’s so invigorating about a diverse culture – the ability to hear what’s in our hearts instead of the noise the political intelligentsia wants to PAC into our heads. And besides, I would feel so much more informed walking through my neighborhood if I could more clearly see what instead of who is on my neighbors’ minds.

– David Feela
 

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