Super-PACs: Stop It

Image: Dreamstime

You turn on the television, unlock your Ipod, or open up your Blackberry to check out the latest news.  You squeeze in catching up on the daily headlines in the little “free” time you have found while watching your family savings drain into that ‘maybe it’ll be stolen this year’ gas guzzler.  You overwhelm yourself, instantaneously, hovering over the toilet, staring at the flat screen in your hand, and hoping to stay current.

You think you’ll just brush up on the details:

“American politico Gingrich ruined a bunch of marriages, but won a primary in that adorable southern state, so the National Institute for Marriage endorsed him?  Check.”

“Europe’s economy is as messy as the plastic surgery done to girls on The Jersey Shore.  Check.”

“Iran is as attractive a vacation plan as taking a sleepy Concordia cruise.  Check!”

Then you see it.  Instead of this being a quick once-over of the news, it hits you.  Another new term you’ve never heard of, nor has any of your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Google+ contacts, or Words with Friends opponents.


You think to yourself, “Self!  How did you miss this in all of that expensive college education, that post graduate work, and that first-hand work experience?  How could you have overlooked such a menacing entity?  Wouldn’t you have been frightened of that large a monstrosity?”

Stephen Colbert has made a mockery of the term, creating his own and handing it, and its “hoards” of money, over to his friend Jon Stewart.  The idea surfaces repeatedly in the media, scaring the wits out of people, apparently wielding unstoppable, super-human power.  Tell your sons and nephews, Lex Luther is a nobody compared to these things.

In related news, Wikipedia was down for a day, probably so that the staff could work on figuring out how to effectively create a description for the super-term.  Super-PACs have taken over the hearts and minds of most.  It has to be said: everyone is petrified of their capabilities.  Well, except for all those masses of faceless individuals, corporations, unions, and small groups involved with one.

In two days’ time, the website was updated.  Political action groups are private groups, “regardless of size” that organize to influence outcomes of elections or legislation.  In the case of super-PACs, the amount of money raised from unions, corporations, individuals, and other groups (basically anyone) is unlimited, and they are “independent-expenditure” exclusive.  This means candidates and “parties” are prohibited from coordinating directly with these monsters, but they can communicate via the media (truly an indirect communication device).

The truth is, I’m a bit perplexed.  What makes a PAC so super?  Can it fly and run upside-down?  Can it go down pipes, breathe under water, and eat magic mushrooms?

I’m a simpleton.  I prefer simple, straightforward, streamlined information.  If someone is going to scare me, I want them to jump out of the bushes like any normal menace.  It works in my brain somehow.  I can’t be intimidated by quantifying language.  Now that’s just silly.



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