The votes were tabulated and compared as to how much money was contributed to each
Congressional member by opposing sides. In each and every case, Congressional members
voted in favor of the side who gave them the most money. Sad as this may seem; this came
as no surprise to anyone.
Recently, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a corporation is a "person" and that money
is free speech; therefore, it has now been decided that it is unconstitutional to prohibit
corporations from using their money to make contributions that will assuredly bias the
political process in favor of corporate economic interests. In other words, Exxon-Mobil,
Goldman-Sachs, and Google, corporations who make billions in profits, are now free to spend
as much money on political influence as they deem necessary. The five regressive Catholics
on the Court overturned numerous previous court rulings and years of congressional actions
to arrive at a conclusion which threatens the very nature of participatory democracy in this
country. "Participatory democracy" is the very heart of a democracy. Without a broad base
of citizen participation, a democracy is no longer a democracy and very quickly transforms
into an oligarchy.
Think back to the 2008 Presidential campaign and imagine this ruling being in place.
Obama revolutionized political giving by building a huge base of small contributors. Millions
of Americans gave small amounts, enabling Obama to raise upwards of $100 million; and
more importantly, outraised his Republican opponent in the process. Obama's financial
advantage enabled him to pour money into traditional "red" states forcing McCain to spend
his limited resources in states normally not in "play", resulting in Obama's victory. If this
current Supreme Court ruling had been in place, then corporate America would have been
allowed to spend billions to elect McCain. Exxon-Mobil alone could have contributed more
to McCain's campaign than all the millions of Americans who gave to Obama. Wall Street
most certainly would have offered McCain a bottomless warchest from which he could have
matched and far surpassed Obama's spending in any state.
Here's a look into the future that our Supreme Court has cunningly crafted for us (I use
the word "cunningly" with no hesitation, for their vote was intentionally contrived): The
health insurance industry and the banking industry are regulated at the state level as well as
the federal level. Imagine yourself running for the state senate or assembly on a platform to
reform either industry. Now, due to the wisdom of the highest court in the land, you will be
facing an opponent with unlimited resources provided by the very companies who you want
to regulate. What local candidate will ever be able to raise enough money to offset what
corporations will potentially be able to pour into races in your state and each and every other
state in the country? Consider the precedent set just prior to this stunning decision by our
Supreme Court. It is no accident healthcare reform faced such a difficult road in Congress.
The lobbies representing health insurance companies, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry,
and others spent more than $1 million per day influencing how the legislation was to be
shaped. Of course, the healthcare industry is going to contribute more to those Congressmen
who oppose change or regulation. If a businessman offers a contribution, you can be sure
they expect something in return. Because of this problem of unfair influence, Congress and
President Obama claim to be trying to change the rules on Wall Street, to rein in the practices
which led to the meltdown of the financial industry. In reality, they are merely standing back
and watching their proposals slowly being watered down and diluted by the Wall Street
lobbyists. They know the problem, but they do absolutely nothing. This is how business is
done in America. It's business as usual and it's 100% legal.
This new Supreme Court ruling intentionally rewards and encourages these same
companies that have been buying influence to extend their influence in the national and state
arenas of government. The more people the corporate elite can get elected who are
sympathetic to their concerns and positions, the easier it will be for them to eliminate both
reform and regulation. No elected city, state, or national official will be exempt from their
influence. Elected officials everywhere will be facing well-funded opponents every time they
run for public office or re-election.
Most elected officials spend a portion of every day either working toward or actively
raising money for their next campaign. Now, faced with the unlimited resources of a pro-
corporate opponent, the "honest" public-minded official will be totally out-resourced. A
minor league player simply can't stand up in the major leagues. He won't have enough hours
in the day to raise enough money to fight this kind of power.
We are told by regressives that the worst kind of Supreme Court justice is an "activist"
justice. The kind of justice who sees the Constitution as a living, breathing document. A
justice willing to overturn precedent. The fact that an issue can arise that our founding fathers
never anticipated scares regressives to death. They stay up nights worrying that such a
justice will ignore the "will of the people" as expressed through their representatives in
Congress and overturn laws which have been on the books for years. Well, the five non-
activist justices who voted to overturn participatory democracy as we know it did just that.
They overturned court precedents set in the last 15-20 years. They ignored a series of laws
passed by Congress intended to limit the political expenditures of corporations. What's
going on here?
This legal hocus-pocus was somehow justified in the regressive mindset with the excuse
that they were viewing the Constitution through the "original intent" of the founders. The
problem is, at no time did the founders intend a corporation to be considered a "person",
nor did our founding fathers ever equate free speech with political contributions. Yet, this
cabal of regressive justices had the audacity to issue a ruling for which "original intent" is
merely a high-sounding excuse. All sophistry aside, they chose to impose their will and the
political philosophy of those who appointed them on our law, and thus show they are no
different than the "activist" justices they claim to fear. Friend, it's all "smoke and mirrors";
none of their excuses or justifications hold water. Simply ignore their pious gesturing and
follow the money.
It is difficult to overestimate the damage this ruling does to the political process and
to democracy. One member of Congress said it turns our nation from a democracy into a
corporatocracy. Money is the mother's milk of politics and now corporate America can pour
its largesse into any race, anywhere. The idealistic myth of the honest politician has been
put out of business by our highest court of justice (but don't get me started on justice in
America). What candidate could ever raise enough money to oppose them?
Supporters of the Supreme Court ruling will point to the fact the ruling now allows
labor unions to do the same thing as corporations. They can pour their money into any race,
anywhere in the nation. Using their theory, labor unions will now be able to act as a counter-
balance to corporate influence. Counter-balance? That sounds good. O.K., let's say labor
could raise $150 million in an election cycle...Hold on here! The fact that labor unions have
never been able to raise that kind of money should answer any questions about playing this
contrived "what if" game. Even at $150 million, all labor money could be matched by one
corporation. Consider what an entire industry could throw at an election! Is there anyone
who seriously thinks the working people of this nation (only about 10% of whom are unionized)
could ever raise enough money to offset corporate profits which run into the billions?
Goldman-Sach's pool of bonus money was more than $20 billion alone. Labor, grassroots
activists, neighborhood car washes, and bake sales combined couldn't raise $1 billion let alone
$20 billion. End of discussion!
This decision by the Supreme Court has opened the door to a corporate oligarchy.
Corporate Titans will most certainly prevent opponents on all elected levels from interfering
with their corporate agendas. From city hall to state house and Congress, no one will be able
to run on a level playing field (hell, it wasn't even level before this ruling)! They will face
well-financed competitors every time they run for election or re-election; and they will be
Which of these issues appeals to you: Reforming healthcare, improving the environment,
controlling greenhouse gases, banking regulation, good-paying jobs, safe jobs, coal mining,
energy, military budgets, war, education, privacy, or national security? The list is endless.
But more importantly, what is corporate America's position on these issues? Imagine trying
to run for office to take on the corporate agenda on any of these issues and imagine what
corporate America will now be able to do to your campaign.
For years I've been saying that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the most evil
organizations in the country. Now, with this Supreme Court decision, the Chamber will soon
be more powerful than ever. It virtually guarantees that all voices for change, moderation,
or opposition will be drowned in a tsunami of political spending never before imagined.
Corporate/monied interests have already left their mark on Congress, and now it's the
Court's turn to be contaminated by those whose sole motivation is profit. This decision is
sanctioned by the highest court in the land! A disturbing conclusion easily drawn is that our
country has been hijacked. Doesn't this qualify as an ethically criminal act directed at the very
foundation of democracy in America?
You will get to see the first fruits of this ruling in the 2010 midterm elections when the
entire House of Representatives and one third of the Senate are up for re-election. It will not
be a pleasant experience. What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals.
Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org