Dylan Ratigan: Get Money Out of Politics
He may be uncomfortable in a cape and tights, but MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan is quickly becoming a superhero nonetheless.
Inspired by the powerful, but unfocused Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, Ratigan is channeling their energy toward the obvious, unstated goal of both movements: eliminate the obvious rigging of the system so that everyone in America has a fair chance at success.
To that end, Ratigan has propelled a movement called Get Money Out, which has the singular purpose of ending the rigging of America by eliminating the influence of money in politics. There is a website, www.getmoneyout.com, where you can sign a petition supporting the goal, as well as collect information and — perhaps most importantly — share it with your friends and family.
"The petitions started at 30,000 (signatures) and quickly jumped another 30,000," Ratigan told Benzinga Radio this week. Ratigan expects to eclipse 200,000 this week. From there, the sky is the limit.
"If we get to 200 we can shoot for 400. 400 we can shoot for 800. 800, 1.6 million. We do this ten times and we're 100 million people strong for the conventions, sending three words to both conventions: 'Get Money Out'."
Notice the game plan that Ratigan and his team are going for. It's ingenious. Rather than go to Washington and beg those buzzards to change the rules and take money out of the system, Ratigan and the movement are taking their message directly to the people. The people will build a wave of support that will, if successful, flood Washington with a message of change, cleansing it along the way.
"You have to think of me like a surfer on a wave. This exists. People are pissed off. People know that they live in an unfair system. I don't have to do anything. My trick is how do I harmonize with the energy that is there and try to guide it to a positive outcome as opposed to what typically happens, which is either self-annihilation or destruction of something else," Ratigan said.
"We have to go to the philosophy of discipline and encouragement, which is a personal decision that each person who signs the petition has to make for themselves. If you hear the heroes and villains thing, whether it's Dylan Ratigan or anybody else, is a losing proposition."
This is where Ratigan really captured not only my interest, but my attention. I do, after all, go pretty hard after the Tea Party movement. And there are other writers and activists who go similarly after the Occupy Wall Street movement. Instead of focusing on one or the other and the things that divide the two, Ratigan suggests coming together under what unites both movements (and millions more outside of either movement).
"The greatest strength of this movement is the ability to teach all of us about what it means to live in an open-source universe, in a world where everybody's own identity is not made to be homogenized into some system, but is actually made to be differentiated and celebrated," Ratigan said.
"What I mean is this. Every person I've met at these protests agrees to one thing: the system is unfair and is rigged to the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others. Everybody agrees to that. The reason that they are there and the personal story that each individual has, whether it's a Texas Tea Partier or a union member or an anarchist or a lawyer or a teacher or a biker or an old granny. Whatever it is, the reason that they individually are there is unique to them."
Rather than try to label this anger at the injustice, let's come together, acknowledge the injustice and the core problem — that the government is not a democracy but is, instead, what Ratigan calls an auction government — and change THAT. We all agree on that part, so let's start there.
"As long as we have an auction system for our government, where 94 percent of the time, the candidate that raises the most money wins, we just have a policy auction that is not, by definition, a democracy. By definition, it is a corrupted system with misaligned interests that prevents us from doing anything else that we want to do."
This is spot on correct. This is why we cannot get a plan passed on anything that solves any problem. This is why we cannot fix health care. This is why we cannot fix education. This is why we are mired in wars across the globe. This is why we cannot agree on taxes or spending. This is why we cannot get a handle on environmental issues. This is why, year after year, Congress after Congress, Republican or Democrat, nothing gets done. At least, nothing positive gets done. Big donors get their handouts, big business gets their bailouts, and all we get is the bill.
So we've identified the problem. Now, how do we fix it? If the problem is money in the political system, we have another problem: The Supreme Court has already ruled that money is speech. In other words, it is not only legal, but Constitutionally protected to be able to buy the government of your choosing, if you're wealthy enough. There's only two ways around a Supreme Court decision: get the Court to reverse itself (which will not happen with this current Court) or an Amendment to the Constitution that nullifies the Supreme Court's asinine decision.
Get Money Out will be pursuing the second option of a Constitutional Amendment. They'll do so by amassing an army of supporters (who, really, disagrees with this proposition?) and bringing their demands for an Amendment directly to Congress and directly to the State Legislatures, which are the two paths an Amendment can go down.
It's a long haul and will be a lot of hard work. After all, over $1 trillion was spent on the last election cycle. Those folks, the one percent, the elite, whatever you want to call them, they are not going to give up power easily.
Ratigan is aware but unfazed by the challenge.
"To sit around and talk about how hard it is to climb Mount Everest guarantees you'll never climb Mount Everest," Ratigan said.
"To get off your ass and start climbing gives you a chance."
Now is our chance. Will you join? Sign up, as I did just now, at www.getmoneyout.com. Be part of the solution.
To comment on this (or any of my columns), visit my user page at Benzinga.
© 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.