To The Editor:

You probably know that if you give money to a politician, your in-box will soon be full of requests for contributions from other politicians of the same or similar persuasion as your first recipient. Is the answer to refrain from donating to anyone in the first place? No. This flood of money requests can be very annoying — but it is necessary to a healthy democracy.

You have heard of the finest Congress (or legislature or city council) that money can buy. Corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals are waiting in the wings for those politicians to call on them for financial support. They know that political contributions are the best way to ensure that their particular interests get top priority by lawmakers. But their interests are not necessarily the interests of the majority of the citizenry. If you wonder why the people's concerns are not being addressed, just look to who are financing the campaigns.

Democracy can be bothersome. It takes time and thought, and a little nervous energy, to figure out to whom to award our limited resources. A reasonable alternative to this individual effort is not to leave it to the big donors, but rather to craft a system of public financing of elections. If campaigns are funded by public money, the recipients, the politicians, will feel the obligation to work in the public interest.

Larry Lowther



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