By the time the election ended, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and the PACs that supported them spent a total of $2 billion to buy the votes of the American people. To put that into perspective, that is enough to fund the education of about 16,000 people at Mines.
The money would do the world a lot of good and yet it went towards advertisements. Even the internet was not immune to the disease. Ads for Obama and Romney covered websites and even made their way into Pandora’s ad rotation. Sadly, these advertisements were only good for one thing – getting elected. They did not end poverty or lower the national debt; instead, they focused on somewhat trivial issues that should not have an effect on someone’s choice in voting. In fact, political advertisements are nothing more than propaganda meant to add fuel to the already partisan fire. Attacks from both sides of the aisle are often baseless, yet each side preaches to work with members from the other side. If political advertisements are not even civil, how can the senators manage to have a conversation without arguing?
A lot of this falls back on the American people. These advertisements fill the airwaves because the propaganda they provide works. It sways some voters, which is enough for a candidate to win in a close election. For candidates, it is worth it to spend so much money for only a few votes. After all, most of the time, the candidates are not spending their own money. Those affiliated with a major party may not have to spend a cent of their own funds to run for president. They do not care much about how much money they spend on advertisements. They only care about winning, not necessarily how wasteful they are on their way to the top. In fact, the advertisements benefit only the networks that air them. All this money could easily go towards helping millions of people that truly need it as opposed to helping companies that already have more than enough to keep themselves afloat.
The end of election season should be a chance for politicians to rethink their advertising practices. In today’s world, there are so many better things to do with $2 billion than simply attack an opponent because of his opinions. $2 billion could feed starving children in Africa, industrialize third world nations, or even help give thousands of American children the education they deserve.