A Second Open Letter to Senator Schumer (D-NY)
| By Chris Capuano |
A second open letter to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York:
Dear Senator Schumer,
Americans are frustrated. Gone are the days where citizens were capable of playing an active role in politics beyond simply showing up to the polls. Frankly, it feels to me that it is impossible to do more than sit back and watch as our government struggles to act. It is hard to have faith in a government that sees reaching across the aisle as more similar to reaching across the Grand Canyon; it is hard to have faith in a government that fails to co-operate and compromise to make sure its citizens are happy.
One reason in particular that I feel constituents are no longer being heard is the increasingly prevalent existence of lobbying. In other words, it seems like representatives don’t care about the average constituent because the voice of thousands or even millions of dollars from corporations and interest groups is a lot louder than the voice of that average constituent. “Money talks” is not an untrue idiom, as is exemplified by far too many people each day they step onto Capitol Hill. As one of my senators, I ask that you begin the fight against lobbying.
I am not accusing you, or anyone specific, of falling victim to the calls of money. Nor do I think it is the wrongdoing of interest groups, as they are simply taking advantage of a policy that allows for what essentially amounts to formalized bribery. This is an issue that cannot be blamed on a single person or group; Congress is at fault for neglecting to take legislative action against a corrupt process, and thereby sacrificing the inclusiveness of American democracy.
Some may argue that lobbying is essential to democratic discourse in that it allows for the voices of constituents to be heard far more than would be possible without it. This argument is wrong in two ways. First, lobbying does not allow for the voices of all citizens to be heard. It allows for the richest citizens, the richest groups, and the richest companies to be heard. And the reality is that the interests of the richest rarely align with the interests of the American population. Secondly, the internet has revolutionized the way we communicate, and it is no longer as difficult for citizens to gather together and fight for a cause – digital communication facilitates the organization of rallies and marches, and social media can be used to voice opinions as a group.
I turned 18 less than two months ago. When I think about the first time I head to the voting booth, I worry that my vote will not matter in the long run, as those with more money than me will ultimately be able to pay for what policies they want to be enacted, however indirectly this process actually occurs. I fear that the voices of myself and my fellow Americans are unheard over the screams of millions of dollars from lobbyists. I urge you, as my Senator, to spark a change. Fight for the people and not the cash. Ensure Americans are heard once again.
I do not believe that banning or limiting lobbying would be an immediate solution to the many problems plaguing our government and our country. I do think that it would be a step in the right direction – a step toward compromise, toward working for the greater good, toward a greater America. Together is the only way we can move forward. This is just one way that change can begin.
For the Next Generation,
This letter has been edited and uploaded by Editor Mateo Portelli