Indirectly Nurturing

Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor in California spent $90 million of her own money during the primary in order to beat out her opponent Steve Poizner. Steve Poizner himself spent $24 million of his own money to give running a shot. We’ll have to wait until November for the final tally of how much of her own fortune, billionaire Whitman will have spent. Still, $90 million is a sizable sum. It is more than millions of Americans will earn in a lifetime, more than many wealthy people will pay in taxes over the course of their lives, and, if building a school in Africa costs $25,000 the sum would build 36,000 schools, enough to educate quite a lot of young people. The issue is not someone using their own money to run. It is theirs to do with what they please. In fact, it reflects a strength of the United States where individuals are free to spend their wealth however they see fit. The issue is our complacency. We allow people to furrow their way into elective office. Meg Whitman is not the first, nor will she be the last. She is only a symptom of the problem we abet and indirectly nurture. Our acceptance, oblique as it may be, is changing the U.S. where equal opportunity is meant to be a cornerstone, into a country where wealth is becoming a requirement to open the door to being a political candidate.