Mark Dunn: What if serving in office were a duty? 

  • Hadley Town Hall. GAZETTE STAFF

Published: 5/25/2020 5:00:07 PM

I read Anthony Fyden’s letter (“Disappointed in paper’s political ‘hit piece’ in Hadley,” May 14) and thought that’s a good question. Why should I let anyone tell me how much money I can spend? My first reaction was “Isn’t that cutting into my freedom of speech?”

So I thought about it over dinner. The more I spend on my campaign, the more voters I can reach. Then they will recognize my name more than someone who doesn’t spend as much. Human nature steers us to the familiar and away from the unknown. “The devil you know versus the devil you don’t,” right?

Thus, money spent increases electability. So while doing the dishes I realize that campaign spending limits would not infringe on my freedom of speech so much as protect us from heading down the rabbit hole to where the wealthy make the rules and the working Joe, or Jane, does not have a voice, per se, at the table.

Well, I only had to think of our national political scene to see the truth in that. I’m not saying that Jimmy Stewart can’t still go to Washington, but he’d have extremely long odds against all the billionaires and millionaires who pay the professional campaign industry to help them get donors to buy more advertising to get elected.

Then once they’re in office most see it as a career instead of a service. They bend to their PAC’s and corporate donors to get re-elected. The longer in office the more they lose touch with the intended purpose, to represent their home voters. They grow a misguided sense of self-importance, “protect” themselves in gated communities and vote themselves wild privileges (like free health care for life).

So then where has human nature taken us? Well, Hadley is not DC, yet. What if serving in office were a duty, not a privilege? What if, like jury duty, we all had to do a term in office and then go back to being a regular citizen? All that campaign spending would be available for us to increase our charitable giving and make this a better world for all, not just those with more money.

Mark Dunn


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