In Texas, Lyndon was running for Congress. In a Texas hotel, he was sitting on a chair. There was a table in front of him, full of $5 note stacks. It was a large table but there was no space left. Below the table several briefcases kept open, filled with even more stacks of $5 notes.
He was not a businessman. It was after the election people came to know where he got all that cash.
On that day several poor people from the neighborhood got an invitation to the hotel. It was busy already. There was a long queue line that goes back to the entrance door. An assistant was calling each person, one by one.
When the assistant calls a person, he steps forward, standing in front of the Table facing Lyndon.
How many people in your family are voting?
Taking four notes from the stack and put it in an envelope. Shook his hand and gave that envelope.
“Here is a little gift. Please remember me on the day you vote. Please remind your family as well.”
This went on till the sunset.
Vote buyers keep their eyes wide open, eagerly looking at low income and poor people. Due to the unfortunate situation, they are willing to exchange anything for a coin, including their vote. Vote buyers are well aware of this and they are ready to exploit this vulnerability.
But, is it ok to sell our vote?
We should make sure that the person we appoint to the government is acting on our interest rather than their own interest or someone else’s.
If anyone can buy their way to the highest office then it is the richest person who will always be in that office. Will the richest person going to rule according to the interest of those who voted? Not always. Besides, he doesn’t have to. He already paid what is worth for our votes. So why should he think about us every time he spend a million, our tax money?
If money can buy votes, we should remember that other countries also use the same money. So, if North Korea want to put a Kim Jung Un supporter in our highest office, they can simply do a little bank transfer and plant his puppet in our office. We cannot say anything if he rules against our interests.
“I buy your vote” Kim would say. “Now I rule. You no rule”
The main function of the government is “to help people caught in the tentacles of circumstances; to help for them to fight forces too big for them to fight alone.” It is only those candidates whose values match our own will fight for our causes.
Our votes should reflect our dream, our principle, and it is our vision. Our dream, our principles and our visions are not for sale.
Caro RA. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: the path of power. Vintage; 1990.
Caro RA. Master of the Senate. Vintage; 2003..
ECPR. The vote selling: A political response.
Schaffer FC, S. What is vote buying. Elections for sale: The causes and consequences of vote buying. 2007