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Get Real Sergey, But Here’s How You Could Actually Help

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Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm

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Get Real Sergey, But Here’s How You Could Actually Help

Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, is getting a little bit of ink for his suggestion that all politicians elected today quit their parties and “govern as independents in name and in spirit.”

Here’s how he puts it in his post on Google+:

I must confess, I am dreading today’s elections.
Not because of who might win or lose.
Not because as a Californian, my vote for President will count 1/3 as much as an Alaskan (actually it won’t matter at all — I’m not in a swing state).
Not because my vote for Senate will count 1/50 as much as an Alaskan.
But because no matter what the outcome, our government will still be a giant bonfire of partisanship.  It is ironic since whenever I have met with our elected officials they are invariably thoughtful, well-meaning people.  And yet collectively 90% of their effort seems to be focused on how to stick it to the other party.
So my plea to the victors — whoever they might be: please withdraw from your respective parties and govern as independents in name and in spirit.  It is probably the biggest contribution you can make to the country.

[If you agree, pass it on to your newly elected officials.]

Come on Sergey, get real. Partisanship has existed since the founding of our republic.  Different people have different ideas about how things should be done and groups coalesce around views and work to get things done.  Nothing wrong with that.

There is something terribly wrong with our political system though and it’s something you can help fix. It’s the way money has completely corrupted the process.

You guys at Google are spending money like drunken sailors in your efforts to buy what polices you want in Washington, DC. To refresh your memory, lobbying disclosures filed in October with the House of Representatives showed Google spent $4.18 million, in the third quarter, a 76 percent increase from $ 2.38 million in the comparable 2011 period. For the first nine months Google’s total lobbying spending hit a record $13.1 million. Google spent $9.68 million in all of 2011.

So, it’s simple.  If you want good government, stop trying to buy our representatives.

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 361 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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