In the 1980s, I lived in a "dry county" (no liquor sold legally) in rural Kentucky. In many dry counties, the sheriff retired rich from bootlegger payoffs.
At my first election there, the sheriff and other key positions were up for grabs.
A neighbor showed me the ropes at the polling booth. You stood in the parking lot as if uncertain, and someone would slip you a half-pint of 'store-bought' whiskey to vote for their candidate. I could not believe that such corruption existed in the U.S. My neighbor scored eight half-pints! There were no cops in sight until the polls closed, when they rounded up the drunks.
I was recently reminded of that by a news clip of a Cleveland woman yelling that we have to re-elect Obama because he's giving out free food (food stamps) and free phones. (Since 1997, the federal government has given "free" local phone service to low-income people; now it has become free cell phones. (We pay for this with the "Fed Universal Service Charge" on our phone bills.) Two years ago, TV showed a Chicago woman who received heating assistance payments stating that "Obama's paying my heating bill with money from his stash!"
These programs were in effect when Bill Clinton and George Bush were president, but no one was shouting "Bush/Clinton is giving out free food, free phones, and paying my heating bill!"
Buying votes with "freebies" is corruption. Failure to correct (possibly deliberate) misinformation about freebies is just as bad. If President Obama had any sense of morality, he would make a televised statement that "anything the government gives you was provided by taxpayers, not me." But he won't.
Please — vote out this type of corruption.
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