I am Colbert SuperPAC and so can you!

Posted: July 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

In case you didn’t know, Colbert was allowed to run open his new SuperPAC and is currently accepting donations. In essence Colbert SuperPAC can raise and spend unlimited funds without disclosure on elections across the country in the 2012 cycle. I didn’t start writing this just to share the story though. I started writing this post because I got very… seriously… PO’ed at the media and election laws in America. But don’t worry, the post ends on a light note.

What’s bothering me though is how the media coverage paints Colbert as a joker taking serious issues and trivializing them. He’s not. Colbert uses satire as a tool – a tool to expose how wrong our political processes and media coverage have become, and making it digestible for the masses through the satirical medium. The risk with satire is that humor is cathartic – my fellow members of the Colbert Nation face the risk of laughing ourselves into political oblivion if we misconstrue satire as childish ambivalence, however.

That’s what makes Colbert SuperPAC so bloody beautiful. Once our rage has dissipated some after bitterly laughing with Colbert at the inanity of Washington, we have an outlet for the remaining rage: we don’t laugh ourselves into oblivion but into action. We act by donating to the Colbert SuperPAC and get something so much more in return – our voice heard.

Our election laws are a hot mess. Citizen’s United was an assault on our democratic way of life (yes I said it) but federal campaign financing has and remains to be “jacked up”. Integral to that is not just how campaigns are financed – it’s also who and for what reasons modern campaigns are financed to the expensive extent that they are. Today’s campaigns tend to be large, farcical productions requiring investments of millions upon millions of dollars. The next presidential campaign is supposed to cost into to the low billions to pull off – should it cost that much? The who are conglomerations – companies, unions, advocacy groups, Wall Street bankers; the reasons are for political control – “advocating for their interests” in political parlance; they vie for their pound of flesh from the uncoordinated, disunited purple mass that is America.

Did you know Karl Rove and Sarah Palin each have PACs? They’re paid Fox contributors and talk about it on TV – no one bats an eye. They can (and likely do) what we in the fundraising profession call the “soft ask”; you don’t ask for a specific amount or anything, just mention the need for supporters and what you do, the prospect takes care of the rest. Commissioner McGahn (see NPR story), the line disappeared a long time ago, and with it we also lost even more of our journalistic integrity, and the responsibility of our press to hold leaders accountable to the public interest. Media organizations that engage in surreptitious electioneering aren’t fighting for us, their fighting for themselves, their narrow political interests and their shareholders.

Colbert SuperPAC is here to save us. In an America where I haven’t gotten anything close to the change I voted for, Colbert has given us an avenue to make our voice heard, or as he said we can “have a voice, in the form of my voice, shouted through a megaphone made of cash…” Because let’s face it – in an America gone mad, cash is the only way to make your voice heard.

*** Yes, this post was, in part, a soft ask for Colbert SuperPAC. I was in no way compensated to make this request, nor was I asked by representatives of Colbert SuperPAC. ***

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