Last month, in anticipation of moving into a new home, my wife and I decided to hold a garage sale to get rid of our junk. In just a few hours, we were able to sell dozens of items that serve no useful purpose around our home, much like our three children. By the way, our children are still for sale if you’re interested. And no, there isn’t a return policy!
Our failure to sell the kids notwithstanding, we had a very profitable day in the garage sale business. And as my first mortgage payment is rapidly becoming due, I’ve been frantically looking for some other useless thing to sell for a quick buck. For a while, I thought I had found my answer – to sell my vote in the upcoming presidential election on eBay.
After all, if history is any guide, I wasn’t going to use it anyway (at least, not if anything good was on TV on election night). Besides, like many Americans, I’m ambivalent about the choice of our next President. As I see it, choosing a President is like choosing a spouse in that, no matter whom you choose, you’re going to regret it. Therefore, as I see it, my vote is a lot like that too small “World’s Greatest Daddy” t-shirt I sold at my garage sale. It didn’t fit me, so why not allow someone else get some use out of it?
Interestingly, I wasn’t the only one with this brilliant idea. Just last week, an Ohio man put his vote up for sale on eBay. He promised to vote as instructed by the winning bidder of his auction.
Unfortunately, in less than 12 hours, eBay was forced to pull this auction because Ohio state law prohibits selling your vote. In fact, all state laws make it illegal to do so. But why?
The theory behind these laws is that if we allow people to sell their votes, then the wealthy will ultimately control the political process. But obviously, this is precisely what has happened anyway. In fact, if the political process were held any more hostage to the interests of the rich, it would make a video tape and air it on Al-Jazirah.
Besides, buying and selling votes is as much a part of politics as shaking hands, kissing babies and sleeping with interns. The entire campaign contribution system is based on the unspoken premise that you can buy your representative’s vote. After all, do you really think that people attend $1,000-a-plate political dinners because they can’t get enough baked scrod? Of course not. In addition to a terrible case of indigestion, they are expecting some future payback from the recipients of their largesse.
And this is exactly what they get – payback. How else could you explain U.S. energy policy – masochism? Or how else would you explain Halliburton’s “uncanny” ability to win government contracts despite the fact that its billing practices are more questionable than the judging in the Olympic men’s gymnastic all-around?
The bottom line is that our politicians’ votes are for sale so why shouldn’t our votes be for sale also? After all, they’re selling our welfare to the highest bidder. Shouldn’t we at least get a piece of the action?