I’ve been hard on Facebook in the past, especially with regard to their role in the recent elections. I was surprised and pleased to read that private money from Mark Zuckerburg helped secure the status of the 2020 election in areas like the suburbs around Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, this is another example of private individuals or public companies stepping in where the government has been neglectful.
With a tight budget and little help from the federal government, Chester County applied for an election grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a previously small Chicago-based nonprofit that quickly amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to help local election offices — most notably, $350 million from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.
While it is wonderful to see the rich become philanthropic, it does cause a bit of unease that businesses and their leaders seem to be leading the way by moral example. For the most part, we are talking about businesses that are ultimately beholden to making money for their shareholders. If doing the right thing is no longer popular, will we see their altruism wither? The government in a democracy, by contrast, is ultimately accountable to the people that put it in power, and thus should always theoretically be doing the right thing for those constituents. We can’t keep expecting private industry or benevolent individuals to pick up the slack where our government is letting us down. This is an area in which it is in our power to demand more from those we elect.