Wednesday, May 25, 2005

House Parties...

Yesterday evening I spent three hours welcoming and thanking 30 or so wealthy Silicon Valley Democrats at a house party to raise money for a Democratic cause. It was my first fundraising event and I had been briefed in advance that there would be a lot of money changing hands and that the people attending the party would be some of the most influential people in the Valley. Originally I thought I wouldn't mind the whole situation, but now that I think about it, the whole scene was very wierd. By wierd, I mean uncomfortable. After leaving, I kept wondering, will the candidate be beholden to these influential and wealthy executives? When these men and women reach their state-imposed limits of $23,000, will there money be transformed into special favors?
I had never had any strong feelings about campaign finance reform; but after seeing the ease with which these millionaires wrote $1000-$10,000 checks, I thought to myself, there must be something motivating them besides simply how great the candidate is. Does social justice motivate them to contribute? Or does the hope of having a representative that supports their causes worth giving up a few grand?

Perhaps I am too cynical. Maybe there generous people are motivated to cure the inequalities of this world. Maybe this candidate really does have a solution to California's problems...I guess only time will tell whether or not taking large donations from the high tech millionaires and billionaires of the Sillicon Valley will influence policy in the future - not to mention the outcome of the election.

70 Comments:

At May 25, 2005 6:58 PM, Blogger Marie said...

It can be dirty, but you still have to have some fondness for "limousine liberals". Maybe they will get special treatment and favors, but that money can also contriubte to the furthering of ideals we all believe in, which is why good candidates need wealthy friends.

 
At May 26, 2005 3:11 AM, Blogger Gilbert Martinez said...

I loathe limousine liberals. I call it liberal when convenient. *sigh* But, I have met enough amazing politicians to know that not all are bad. I'm a Democrat out of conviction, not party loyalty--if it was 1870 I'd be a Republican--and can still say there are enough legit Democrats to make the whole fundraising thing worth it.

Of course, just because someone is nice to me, doesn't mean I'm willing to sacrifice a whole lot for them--I can even name a few Dems that I feel that way about.

 
At May 26, 2005 10:33 AM, Blogger Eric Z said...

Does being rich mean someone isn't allowed to have a social concsious?

 
At May 26, 2005 10:49 AM, Blogger Gilbert Martinez said...

I should distinguish between "limousine liberal" and wealthy liberal. The former has negative connotations and stereotypes (at least to me, apparently), while the latter doesn't have such a negative connotation. Wealth isn't an inherently bad thing and there are plenty of wonderful wealthy liberals--silicon valley is full of them.

 
At May 30, 2005 11:56 PM, Blogger Nell Selander said...

My only problem with wealthy people and, of course, this is not all wealthy people, is that they may not know the best solutions to social problems because they have never enocuntered them. After having worked in a homeless shelter for six months I do not feel any more confident that I know how to solve the problem of extreme poverty. After having studied the topic in class for nearly the entire year, in addition to my work at the shelter, I honestly cannot say that I would trust someone to solve the problem or influenece the solution of the problem that has not lived through it or at least come very close to it. I think what we lack in this country is a true understanding of what others go through. The rich and the poor are divided not only by the amount of capital they have, but also by physical location. The wealthy Atherton folks that I dined with were physically and mentally removed from poor people. So, how can they truly know what is best for the poor?

 
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