Ruth Marcus in the Washington post gets it about the current national soap opera that is the trial of John Edwards. Edwards is unquestionably a self-involved, narcissistic cad. We knew that. What he did might, just barely, crawl into range of campaign finance laws. The very idea that what he did deserves thirty years imprisonment is ludicrous.
Meanwhile, as the American people allow themselves to be distracted by this lurid, colorful, and essentially meaningless national soap opera, the 2012 campaign season is in full roar, complete with the abominations known of as “SuperPACs”.
Unlike what Edwards did, SuperPACs are unquestionably legal. They’re also a far nastier manifestation of money distorting politics than anything Edwards or his supporters did. They epitomize the problem of money distorting the relative strength of different voices in the political discussion that is the election — those with more money have megaphones, and drown everybody else out. The Internet helps even things out a bit, but only a bit and only for those who know how to read it so as not to be overwhelmed by the noise from the “big players”.
I don’t believe in the politics of class. I don’t think that rich people are all tacky greedheads with nothing of value to say; I don’t think that poor people are all saints who can say and do no wrong. It is because I don’t believe in the politics of class that I want to be free to listen to those whom I will without having the megaphones dictate who I can hear. :/ In my experience (in slightly over 50 years of life), I’ve concluded that under the surface differences of rich and poor, the only important issues are matters of perspective. No point of view is inherently more valid than another: they’ve all got stuff that they see better than anybody else, and stuff that they don’t see at all. If we want to figure out the best way to run this country, we need *all* of that information.
Right now, we aren’t getting all of that information. We hear what the Mitt Romneys, the Barack Obamas, the Warren Buffetts, and (God help us) the Rush Limbaughs and Kardashians have to say. We individually hear what we ourselves and our families and friends have to say. But unless somebody is famous, rich, or lives near us, we simply don’t get the information that they have and can tell us better than anybody else.
THAT is the issue that deserves our urgent attention. Edwards is a sideshow.