Let's get rid of big-money influence

March 21, 1997

The Sun's March 13 editorial rightly criticizes the ''flawed big-money system," but stops short of recommending specific reforms.

Real campaign reform would involve a fundamental change in our existing system. Public financing of elections is the most effective way of removing the influence of money from the political process.

To equate huge financial contributions with freedom of speech, as the Supreme Court has done, is a perversion of the term. What the present system amounts to is freedom of speech for the wealthy, while the rest of us are essentially shut out of the process. The terms of the debate are framed by the rich for the rich.

In addition to elected officials and their wealthy benefactors, the media bears much of the responsibility for the influence of big money on our political process.

Public financing is dead, at least until the Supreme Court reverses its ruling. For now, the media could support free air time or print space to all qualified candidates for public office. This would be a dark day for corporate media's profit margin, but a great day for democracy.

Lee Lears


Pub Date: 3/21/97

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