Editorial: Election undemocratic

NW Staff

On Tuesday, April 8, NMU students turned out to cast their votes in the 2008 ASNMU general election.
Those individuals who voted should treasure the memory, as Tuesday was likely one of the only times in their lives that they will be a part of a truly democratic election.
During almost every national election, voters are pelted with stories of the underdog, the kid from Smalltown, America, the president that never should have been.
In 1992, we heard about Bill Clinton, the original “comeback kid,” who progressed from the streets of tiny Hope, Ark., to the Oval Office. This year the electorate is blessed with the heartwarming tales of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Clinton is the first female presidential candidate to ever make real political waves. Obama, who never misses a chance to tell the nation about his father from Kenya and his mother from Kansas, uses his candidacy to illustrate the American Dream. It seems that if he can do it, you can, too. But that’s not exactly true.
The basic idea of a democracy is, of course, that anyone in the country can rise up and occupy the highest office in the land. The painful truth is that if you have a dream of one day becoming the president of the United States, you’d better start preparing today, because you will need an enormous amount of money before you even stand a chance.
Just look at the numbers from this year’s campaigns.
John McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination weeks ago and he did so cheaply, spending only $56 million at this point.
Obama and Clinton are still in a fight for the Democratic nomination, and each has spent in excess of $130 million during the campaigns. In the month of February alone, the two Democratic candidates combined to spend more than $71 million.
And when Mitt Romney dropped out of the running a couple of months back, it was claimed that he had raised $105 million, still more than any other Republican nominee has been able to muster. Of course, $35.4 million of that money came from Romney’s own pocket.
Anyone with any hope of becoming president must have a small fortune, despite his/her background. The schoolteacher from Detroit or the corn farmer from Nebraska has virtually no chance of ever taking office.
A true democracy is one in which any citizen can stand up and ask for the chance to lead. But with today’s election process, only the rich can ask for that.