Pine Nuts: The No PAC Pledge |

Pine Nuts: The No PAC Pledge

Thomas Jefferson predicted America’s agrarian society would last a thousand years.

This titan of reason was only off by 800, as in the rush for gold, America would lose her economic virginity. Addressing this state of affairs, Mark Twain would weigh in: “The California gold rush for wealth begot the lust for money which is the rule of life today, and the hardness and cynicism which is the spirit of today.”

And Ben Franklin might like to pile on: “There are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effect.”

Enter Jay Gould, about whom we will allow Twain another at bat: “Jay Gould is the mightiest disaster which has ever befallen this country.” People desired money before his day, but he taught them to fall down and worship it. You see, the new gospel after the Civil War, as spread by Jay Gould, was: “Get money. Get it quickly. Get it in abundance. Get it in prodigious abundance. Get it dishonestly if you can, honestly if you must.”

Fast forwarding, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010 breached the dam that held back a free flow of large amounts of corporate and union money into our election process. Legally, China could gain control of major U.S. corporations and influence our elections. One man one vote was supplanted by one dollar one vote.

Super PACs can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence an election, providing they do not coordinate directly with a candidate’s campaign, and so we are witness to the predictable result, a polarized government, and a society thrown off keel by perverse inequality. The wayward voter asks herself, “Why should I bother to vote when the candidate I’m voting for is beholden to special interests?”

And she stays home on election day.

Well, the cavalry has arrived. “Thank you, but no PAC money accepted here.” That’s the rally cry that a growing number of voters and candidates are floating as a stand against big money in politics, and this balloon is fast rising. The stated goal is to elect a congress that represents the people ahead of special interests, lobbyists and mega-donors.

Political Action Committee donations are gaining toxicity, while small individual donations are blossoming. Watch Texas, where Beto O’Rourke, refusing any and all PAC money, has raised upwards of $23 million, placing him out ahead of Republican opponent Ted Cruz.

The “No PAC Pledge” has arrived and is gaining traction. I have $20 that I was going to put on a fast pony by the name of Emma Quick Chick, but this morning I have a more enterprising idea about where to place my bet.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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