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Senator Once Fancying Himself as Luke Skywalker Now Drawn to the Darkside

By Frederick Meekins
April 10, 2001

John 3:19 says, "...and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." Often ignorance is spoken of metaphorically as darkness. In such a case, that verse could easily be applied as a warning against politicians.

Unscrupulous government officials often gamble on the fact that in all likelihood the American people will not find out about their questionable dealings. The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill would turn such informational oversights into guarantees nefarious legislators could bank on.

There is more to the McCain-Feingold Bill than limiting how much candidates for office can raise for elections or how much supporters can contribute. The proposal is in fact a statutory muzzle upon the unfettered exchange of information essential to keeping the elected in check.

One prominent provision forbids unions, corporations, and advocacy organizations from commenting on or communicating with candidates regarding their positions on particular issues under congressional consideration sixty days before an election. According to the Washington Times, this would essentially outlaw forms of communication such as voter guides, newsletters, issue papers, and informative broadcast spots.

Yet little will be done to curb the influence of the rich and powerful. Critics have referred to this campaign finance reform bill as the incumbent protection act since it forces broadcasters to sell air time to incumbents at the lowest available cost. Furthermore, it sets no limits on the amount multimillionaires can spend in the pursuit of office.

But perhaps most disturbing, the bill would slant America's ongoing public dialogue in favor of the elite. For while interest groups will be compelled to stifle their expression, specified mainstream media outlets will be allowed to continue to publish stories and editorials favoring their take on political reality.

What the McCain bill fails to acknowledge is that issue advocacy organizations play a crucial role in propagating perspectives and alternative sources of information that would not otherwise be able to compete with ensconced bigshots. No wonder the bill is supported by influential political personalities and journalistic institutions.

It would seem that those supporting this brand of campaign finance reform have a personal aversion to individual liberty. Chief among those suffering from this affliction is the bill's namesake, Senator John McCain.

It should be recalled that McCain made a campaign appearance last primary season in Virginia to chastise and repudiate Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for daring to enunciate their beliefs on key issues of the day such as abortion.

Many liberals will no doubt welcome any measure designed to diminish the influence of the Religious Right over American society and public policy. Yet it must be remembered that this law will apply equally to the National Abortion Rights Action League and National Right to Life alike. Just because it's aimed at one's opponents today does not mean it won't be aimed at yourself tomorrow.

In the United States, political disputes were intended to be resolved and solutions arrived at through a process of public debate and persuasion, not by legislative whim or congressional fiat.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." One wonders just what about "Congress shall make no law" John McCain fails to comprehend.

Campaign literature in no way runs afoul of the "Clear and Present Danger" standard employed by the courts in justifying the abridgement of certain kinds of inflammatory speech. If anything, the clear and present danger is posed by politicians, bureaucrats, and jurists who would employ such a standard as a smokescreen to hide their own crooked activities that have no bearing upon legitimate national security concerns from the American people.

John 8:32 proclaims, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." If Senator McCain has turned his back on truth and on freedom, perhaps he has more in common with the Communist thugs who held him captive during the Vietnam War than he is willing to admit or even realize.

Copyright 2001 by Frederick B. Meekins

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