Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 04:38:40 PM PDT
In a country where we value competition and the freedom of choice it seems absurd to me that we have an election system set up to exclude as much competition as possible. During the primaries we saw Ron Paul being excluded from the ballot in Texas because he would not sign a republican party loyalty oath, and we saw Kucinich and others excluded at the last minute from debates they were invited to. Now we have Obama backing out of any debate that allows the independant candidates to share the stage including the Google debates in Louisiana and the Fort Hood debates organized by veteran's groups. All this despite telling Tim Russert on Meet the Press that he would debate "any of my opponents about what this country means, what makes it great."
Now we will see a few debates between the Republican and the Democratic candidates paid for and hosted by powerful corporations, with a format that the candidates agreed to, but not made public by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
I understand the purpose of the primaries is to narrow the potential candidates down to one, but I disagree with how campaign financing works and the weakness of the equal time rule. Both skew the nominating process in favor of the candidates who receive the most money from corporations. I want to at least hear from candidates who are unencumbered by the desires of the most powerful forces on the planet. That's why I was heartened when I ran accross OpenDebates.org, a group that works to ensure that the presidential debates serve the American people first. I urge everyone who cares about democracy to sign their petition which reads:
We, the undersigned, support Open Debates' campaign to reform the presidential debate process. We believe that the presidential debates should serve the American people first, not political parties. We support replacing the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates with the nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission, so that inspiring formats can be employed, pressing national issues can be addressed, and popular independent and third party candidates can be included.
Sign it here.