In this recent tweet, The Timmy Tebow brings up a valid point on the issue of priorities and values. He implies that the spending on campaign ads demonstrates a mis-step in priority and values, but he doesn’t articulate who makes the mis-step. In other words, who has spent the money on the ads? Who has provided the funding for the money to be spent?
I know that at least some of the money comes from voters. Or, at least, that’s what an influx of emails tells me every day. As of August 2012, Obama raised $348m to Romney’s $193m so far. However, this doesn’t take into account additional fundraising from their parties – the Republicans have raised $239m to the Democrats’ $210m – or the money generated by the campaigns’ political action committees (PACs) (McGuiness).
Those PACS can include corporations and unions. There are also non-profit, social welfare groups that contribute money.
So, we’ve got these categories of organizations that sound so vague and general, we sometimes forget that these organizations are comprised of people. Individual people. Primary voters.
When we give donations, we give an organization the right to use it however that organization sees fit to do so. Whether we donate $3 or $3 million, our priority is made clear in the giving.
Every time we choose to spend aka donate a dollar, we’re making an argument of our priority.
We do love to say that we prioritize education. (Focusing on education as this is an education blog.) We want our students to be on “top”, but we don’t want to pay a penny more in taxes. We cannot have the educational system of Finland, for example, which provides for truly equal opportunities for students. Why? Consider these points from Kaiser’s article,” Why Can't We Be Like the Finns?”
Finns live in smaller homes than Americans and consume a lot less. They spend relatively little on national defense…Their per-capita national income is about 30 percent lower than ours. Private consumption of goods and services represents about 52 percent of Finland's economy, and 71 percent of the United States'. Finns pay considerably higher taxes -- nearly half their income -- while Americans pay about 30 percent on average to federal, state and local governments.
Willing to live in a smaller home so that our children can have a better education? Ready to spend less on national defense? Ready to pay half of your income to the government?
Sorry, Mr. Tebow. Until we’re ready to demonstrate, through our choices of donation and spending, what our priorities are, then you will see millions of dollars spent on these and similar endeavors. It's far more accurate to tweet:
American voters have spent almost a billion dollars on ad campaigns so far.
Be mad. Be very mad.
Kaiser: Why Can't we be Like the Finns?
Mindy Keller-Kyriakides is the author of Transparent Teaching of Adolescents: Defining the Ideal Class for Students and Teachers. Become part of the conversation!