Thursday, October 23, 2008

Keep your money for your campaigns

Quite rightly, American political law forbids foreign nationals from donating money to candidates or campaigns. So, for instance, my partner, who is a permanent resident of the United States but a citizen of Argentina, cannot donate money to McCain or Obama or for Proposition 7 here in Californian or against Proposition 8 or in favor of either of the two very annoying people running for our City Council seat—seriously, guys, if I keep getting mailings from you, I will write in someone else.
The idea, of course, is that those who are not citizens should not have a say, either through their votes or through giving funds to help people or campaigns gain others' votes, in our political campaigns. All for the best, I say! 
For, while there might seem to be something mildly unfair about being governed by those you did not get to pick, that is the difference between citizenship and non-citizenship, or anyway one of the differences.
But, by parity of reasoning, it seems that people from outside California—i.e., non-citizens of the State—should be barred from donating to campaigns within the State. There is something distasteful and disingenuous about the massive amounts of money pouring into California to support Proposition 8—a referendum to change the State's Constitution to bar same-sex marriage, since the (mostly conservative) State Supreme Court has ruled that there is no basis in the Constitution for making a distinction between heterosexual and homosexual marriage. By what right should residents of New Jersey or Minnesota or Utah (the campaign is largely bankrolled by the Latter Day Saints and there aren't that many Mormons in California) have a say in campaigns that affect Californians? We don't let them cast ballots here, why should we allow them to spend money to influence the vote here? (And, I'm willing to be fully principled: I don't think any out-of-State money should be allowed in our campaigns, whichever side it's on.)


Anonymous said...

I suggest after your big day on Halloween, you and Fernando visit your Assemblywoman and inquire why there exists so much xenophobia in not allowing foreign nationals to contribute..Are we worried that Brazil is going to invade California?

Or watch Lou Dobbs.

Tyler Hower said...

It turns out that I was wrong, the holders of green cards, but not of visas, may donate to political campaigns.