Al Gore criticized the commodification of the American political system during an interview with Bloomberg at the Milken Institute 2013 Global Conference in Los Angeles, candidly proclaiming that “our Democracy has been hacked.”
Case in point, Gore cites the Senate’s failure in passing the proposed bill to expand background checks on gun buyers last month, despite having “90 percent of the people in favor of background checks for gun purchases,” said Gore.
Gore didn’t verbally call out financial backing of Congressional voters by gun lobbyists, but when the failure of the bill’s passage is lined up with what National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesperson Andrew Arulanandum said about fighting such legislation, “We are prepared for a very long war and a very expensive war,” it’s clear to see how the bill got blocked. Very expensive, indeed, as the NRA spent over $2.9 million lobbying in 2012 alone.
“The influence of big money is at extremely unhealthy levels,” blazoned Gore in L.A. “Congress is incapable of doing what the American people want.”
Since polls of the bill’s support from the American people fell on deaf ears, they let the government know exactly what they wanted as the bill’s opposing politicians saw some heavy repercussions. Politicians who voted against expanded background checks for gun buyers suffered a tremendous loss in their approval ratings.
According to a report by The Huffington Post, some Republican senators sustained massive dips in approval as Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) ratings fell 16 points and Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) ratings took a huge plummet at 18 points, throwing him into the negative.
Now, what’s to be said about Gore’s indication of the lopsidedness of what Americans truly need versus what politicians want, or rather, the billfolds of politicians? It has been very clear what lawmakers in America are truly after and inspired by, and this is just further proof that the hearts and minds in Washington are a commodity and they see human life as mere figures and statistics.
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.