So far today I've received at least 3 emails from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) panicking about Paul Ryan's fundraising success and asking me to donate money to help Democrats regain control of Congress. I considered donating - after all, I don't like the Republicans and the policies they're promoting, so it seems like helping Democrats would be a no-brainer - but on further reflection I decided not to. Here's why.
It starts with one of the basic points covered in any economics 101 class: Money (or other resources) used for one purpose are then unavailable to be used for another purpose. You can't spend the same money twice. Now if your name is Trump, Romney, or Gates, this doesn't really affect your life much: You've got so much money you'd be hard-pressed to spend it all a first time. For the rest of us, though, this is one of the major facts affecting our lives.
From there we'll need to sidestep a bit and talk about Kate Bornstein. Kate is an author and an activist and a wonderful person who I'd love to have a chance to meet in person. One of her books is at least partly (possible even largely) responsible for the fact that my daughter is still alive today. Kate is also a cancer patient.
Which is how we get back to Congress. Because Congress has failed to enact single-payer healthcare, Kate Bornstein is faced with overwhelming expenses in order to get the treatment she needs for her cancer. Her friends and fans have started a fundraiser to help her pay for the treatment she needs. I've glad that the technology exists to help Kate in this way, but I wish it weren't necessary. It is, though. It's just as necessary and just a reprehensible as all the fundraisers my children have to do to ensure that their schools have the money they need.
I hold the Democrats responsible for this. They've allowed the Republicans to hijack our government, to channel our money into giveaways to millionaires and corporations, and to spend more defense than the entire rest of the world put together. I expect nothing less from the Republicans - they make no efforts to even pretend they care about the interests of ordinary people. But Democrats do make that claim. They claim to care about ordinary people and then fail to act in the people's best interests. It doesn't matter to me if this is a result of conspiracy, incompetence, "the political process," or some other reason. The fact remains that Democrats are falling down on the job, and so even if I want to help them take Congress back from the Republicans, I can't because I'm having to use my resources to make up for their failures. And that is why I donated money to Kate Bornstein today instead of to the DCCC.