Thursday, September 10, 2009
Corporations are People, Too?
In a sad development for the roots of democratic republics - and a backdoor victory for oligarchy - the The Supreme Court's conservative bloc sounded poised Wednesday to decide, on free-speech grounds, to end the ban on corporations spending large amounts of money to elect or defeat candidates for Congress and the presidency. The "ironic" issue of money as "free" speech has always troubled me, though I understand the reasoning behind it. Of course, it wasn't nearly the problem thirty and eighty years ago before the rise of television, especially cable. Now we have trillions behind spent to promote agendas, and the concept of truth in politics and ideology becomes even more bent.
This development - corporations being freed to use their resources to specifically influence individual political races - is a nail in the coffin to any hope of campaign finance reform. Perhaps the most disturbing concept is the idea that "Corporations are persons entitled to protection under the First Amendment," said Olson, who represented Citizens United. This is an absolute affront to the rights of the individual and democratic republics. A corporation is NOT a person, and that was not the intention of the First Amendment. If individual members of a corporation want to exercise free speech, I support it. If the corporation wants the same right to use its massive funds to override representative voices of individuals, that's a move toward oligarchy.
Thom Hartmann - and I know he's very liberal - first brought this to my attention in his critical book What Would Jefferson Do. Issues like these really do bring Supreme Court appointments into prominence. While I was bothered by the Courts ruling on private property last year, I am equally, if not more, bothered by this one.