Broken Politics

The public matters.

It’s easy to blame politicians and special interests that write huge campaign contributions, but the public has a responsibility, too. Over time, the public has beaten down and convinced that our vote won’t matter and that our voice doesn’t count. Both are untrue.

The truth matters, and context matters. And the truth is this: the small acts of political involvement and your single vote – these are the big things that make a difference.  

Understand Why Willie Robbed Banks

Are all politicians crooks? Oh, there are some real stinkers, for sure, but most politicians are far from corrupt. Our political system has become a bastion for greed to rule the day, cleverly disguised as a fair process. Politicians throughout Florida are surrounded by greed (polluters and thieves of the public’s resources) because, obviously, greed gravitates to what makes them more money or power or both.

The famous criminal Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. His response was simple: Because that’s where the money is.

Throw in campaign contributions and an army of “friendly” lobbyists, and the unsuspecting don’t stand much of a chance – greed is very cunning. We cannot excuse this outcome, but it helps to understand the inexplicable. That’s why elected officials need us, all of us. Learn more, speak up more, find a way to get through to them. That’s our collective charge. By the way, we never said this would be easy.

When the human brain meets up with greed and what can we do about it.

The destructive influence of Big Sugar is deeply embedded in both political parties in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. 

Though Floridians have consistently supported legislation to regulate pollution and restore the flow of water south, the enduring political influence of Big Sugar has ensured the status quo remains by funding both parties and positioning their lobbyists to write the rules. 

Okay, so how can we change this?

The quick answer: When enough Floridians have had enough!

Think about the tobacco industry. For decades, they ran the show with politicians in the face of overwhelming science and facts. Until they didn’t.

We’ve had the science, the plan, and the money to fix all of this mess for decades. The stranglehold the sugar industry has held on our waterways and political system can only come to an end when the public has had enough and will, though their voices and their votes, demand it. 

Of course, there is more to it. Understanding the nuances of this wretched game requires a deeper understanding of human nature and how it is used against all of us.

As we say in the Everglades, a little sugar won’t hurt you – but Big Sugar will.

The brain is an imperfect organ, but it’s all we’ve got to understand the world around us. You can imagine, then, the challenge you face when you present someone with information about something they’ve never seen before that contradicts their current beliefs. They’re likely to discount or disbelieve it. Our brains can trick us into maintaining our past views or predictions at the cost of recognizing new information.

It gets even harder when there’s a full-court press by special interests involved. So, what happens when our decision makers’ inability to take in new information meets up with the formidable force of greed? Well, you get the destruction of America’s Everglades and natural resources all around you.

Your vote matters.

Think your vote doesn’t really matter? Ask former State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D), who lost his bid for reelection to the Florida Senate by a mere 34 votes in 2020.

At the end of election day, the vote count is the only number that matters. And your vote matters just as much as the mega-donor or the well-connected political insider.

Your time matters.

Two Yale professors, Alan Gerber and Donald Green, studied the most effective ways to reach voters, and found that good, old-fashioned block walking – not expensive TV ads or glossy mailers – worked best.

Even easier than literal block walking is virtual block walking – talking with your friends on Facebook and other social media forums.

Quick and simple emails to your lawmakers makes a big difference – especially when you’re joined by hundreds of thousands of other Floridians. Together, we have moved political mountains and made more gains in the past five years than the 25 years before combined.

A portion of our website is dedicated to ways to make a difference.

Refresher: Definition of Greed

Greed (or avarice) is an uncontrolled longing for increase in the acquisition or use of material gain (be it food, money, land, or animate/inanimate possessions); or social value, such as status, or power. Greed has been identified as undesirable throughout known human history because it creates behavior-conflict between personal and social goals.

Thankfully, it is one of the deadly sins that doesn’t ensnare most of us. Dante’s Inferno likely provides a glimpse of what lies in store for the greediest we deal with. Let’s just say we would not trade places with any of them.