I smell lawsuits.
After the latest high jinks by opponents of the hydroelectric plant I’m hoping that Aspen will become ground zero for testing the election finance laws. If we can’t overturn these miserable rules, our local values are compromised and the ability to buy any piece of our much-mourned democracy will be sanctioned and sanctified. Aspen, and a few of its democratic-minded citizens, might be the perfect foils to Citizens United and the selling out of our country.
The amount of money that could be generated by the bottomless pit of prosperity that makes up the community of Aspen is mind-boggling. It’s safe to say that Pitkin County could purchase half of the Third World nations on the planet and turn them into ski boot factories. Aspen citizens can take a few of the pennies found in the couch and use them to influence elections, or change the world for the better by returning democracy to our democracy.
Despite all the money floating the town, the Aspen electorate is really a few simple folks trying to make a living. Situated in a county that can reliably be counted on to vote for the Democrats, Aspen is part of the 47 percent of the country who believe we are entitled to food and other luxuries and would be victims if we were denied those things.
Aspen has long been one of best democratic small towns on Earth with many passionate players involved in local issues. When the voting’s all over we shake hands and go about our business. We like our elections clean but hard fought, and if they are financed by big money, we at least want to know the players. However, this new era of secret election buying may shake the foundation of the town.
A Denver lawyer representing two groups that would fall into the anti-hydroelectric diversion camp has refused to divulge the players that are financing the mailing of some slick campaign literature because it is an advisory question and doesn’t bind the Aspen City Council to any concrete action. In his opinion, it is unnecessary to reveal who is funding the advertisements. I suppose that means the City Council could just go ahead and construct the hydro plant against the wishes of the voters. Makes you wonder why anyone would spend any money whatsoever to influence this election.
Wall Street’s biggest bank could be funding the hydro project’s defeat, but we couldn’t prove it because there is no paper trail of transparency to follow. The sky’s the limit and the people on the side of the issue that benefit most from its nefarious financing see nothing wrong with elections being influenced by secret entities that may or may not be Satan as long as their interests are furthered.
Satan? Why in the world would I think the Prince of Darkness is bankrolling this campaign? Truthfully, I don’t even believe in Satan, but without election transparency, the devil might well be in the details.
There have been many stories told of Satan buying this soul or making that deal to his benefit, but the one that stands out in my mind is Adam and Eve and the apple offered by that snake. The snake, as we all know, was actually the devil but he wasn’t being transparent about it if you know what I mean.
By not coming clean about who he really was, Satan conned Eve into eating the apple at which time she had to trick poor Adam into believing apples were good. Then they both had to get dressed and leave paradise. Had the snake been a little more transparent, I would venture to guess that Eve would’ve avoided his trickiness and we would all still be living in Eden sans fig leaves or algae blooms or whatever size greenery fits your stuff.
I’m sure that it isn’t Satan behind the anti-hydro campaign literature but, without transparency, who can say for sure? I don’t think that attorney over in Denver would represent Satan, or would he? It kind of scares me to think that the electorate could be influenced by the devil himself, but because of campaign laws we will never know.
The point is that without the knowledge of who is influencing our thinking, the electorate might make the biggest mistake of our lives by voting against our own interests, much like 99 percent of Republican voters. Secretive democracy is not democracy. It is Banana Republic corruption all wrapped up and presented to those who can afford it.
Let’s sue the devil out of these tricksters and return transparency to our elections. I smell lawsuits, or is that sulfur?