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The Hypocrisy of Our Democracy
Zoe Rastegar -- Talk Show Host Zoe Rastegar -- Talk Show Host
Washington , DC
Saturday, October 20, 2012


With our new elections approaching, it is appropriate to focus on one of the most important aspect of American democracy- presidential election process.

I am a naturalized American citizen who has lived most of my life in this great country. I am also a very disappointed citizen as I witness our broken system of election process, degenerating every year not allowing us citizens to learn truly about our candidates and choosing the right person.

America has become a marketing land for gaining profits regardless of what we are selling.  We market our candidates for the highest office of the land and the leadership of the world as we advertise and push for selling Nike or papa john pizza.

The American process of electing president has become a farce and we are not doing anything about it. The corporations, super pack organizations and lobbyists are choking the system and running our all branches of the government directly or indirectly influencing our lives and our future generations and we are just watching.

We criticize other countries for manufactured elections and failed systems. Is ours really a healthy system with so much money spent marketing our candidates for the most important office in the world?

The candidates for the presidency should be elected on their merits, their backgrounds, abilities, education, leadership capacities and similar qualities. They should project all these qualities through their everyday practices, actions, decisions,  and  how they can articulate their visions for the country. They should not be sold to us through phony television ads.  Are we citizens not smart enough to choose the right man without listening to all this nonsense? 

In our election process nothing looks or sounds genuine.  Everything is manufactured for a good show and whoever is a better showman wins the presidency. The system does not allow people to see through the real person as he or she truly is. All is prefabricated, packaged and paid for to convince us how to vote without real substance. And we are wondering why nothing happens and no promises are fulfilled when the elected president goes to the White House.

All the ills of our government and the inefficiency of our presidents and our law makers stem from the campaign money and the lobbying system in this country.

The astounding billions of dollars that goes into campaigns and the number of negative, vicious and unproductive ads  that  swallow all this money for the benefit of other big businesses is a total waste and harmful to our democracy, when the  process should be much more simple, honest and productive for electing the right leader for our country.

In real democracy with real people and truly eligible candidates we do not need to waste all that money and often send the wrong person to the White House.

The solution is simple. We must have a special budget designated every 4 years by the federal government for public radio and television to provide a free forum for the candidates to present their platforms.  A limited amount of donations by the individual citizens and not the corporations or big businesses could be added to this fund.  The primary season should be short and productive allowing the candidates present their platforms and express their visions for the future of the country through the public media.  The primary dialogues should be only in Town Hall style with the full participation of citizens.  The candidate must describe, inform, discuss and answer the citizens' concerns and questions without spinning or side stepping from the main issues. This process could be done in 6 months or less with a clear vision of what they stand for.

Later in the presidential debate, they should be given more airtime via public radio and television to present their final agendas and visions focusing more on the serious issues and less on this media frenzy deluged with all sorts petty comments 

and many not so much experts contaminating even further our already infected political debates.

This would be a money well spent for Public broadcasting by the government while preventing all the special interest money pouring in for special favors which in turns block and delay every future decision making in congress,  paralyzing our legislative process.

I understand this sounds very simplistic and I am putting thousands of beneficiaries of current system out of work.  But this is an idea, a very healthy and patriotic concept with support of millions of our citizens that could be studied, refined and implemented if we really care for our country.

Zoe Rastegar
Washington, DC
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