Need a new mantra? How about “The Day When $$$$ Equals Speech”?
I caught word this morning that the good people at The Center for Media and Democracy are calling for an online day of action today and so wanted to spread the message in hopes of others doing likewise. The cause in question concerns the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court last year that not only codifies gobs of filthy lucre as being the equivalent of free speech, and thus protected under the First Amendment, but allows corporations (and yes, unions*) to conceal both the amounts they spend on elections AND where that money is coming from. Keep reading and kindly click on a couple links if you’ve wondered any of the following:
~ How the hell a yahoo know-nothing nobody the likes of Ron Johnson could oust the venerable Russ Feingold from office;
~ How Republicans swept the halls in 2010, particularly in state legislatures and governors’ mansions;
~ How the no-dialogue ideologues of the so-called Tea Party, despite their fringe freak show, have accomplished as much as they have since January 20, 2009;
~ How anonymous, no-limit contributions and ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) have so adroitly gutted the democratic process;
~ How over $30 million was spent on the eight recall elections in Wisconsin in only the last four months (compared to the $3.75 million that was the sum of all the State Legislature races in 2010!); or
~ How this gargantuan harangue will play itself in next year’s presidential election (think lots of drunk, angry elephants in a cutesy boutique china shop).
So consider joining in the “this is bullshit!” call to action. Along with the Center for Media and Democracy, Public Citizen, Common Cause, Greenpeace, People for the American Way, Demos, The Story of Stuff Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, Coffee Party USA, the Hip Hop Caucus, Move to Amend, North Carolina Center for Voter Education, Public Campaign, USAction, and The Young Turks, all are involved today. Not to mention countless citizens around the country — real citizens at that, not the throwaway apologists for the 18th Century literalizing the Constitution and its intents with more black-and-white lack of imagination than a Manicheistic theologian.
While I am probably the least likely person to encourage folks to post a message on social network sites — I who don’t even know what Google+ is and do not partake in the daily bread of Twitter of Facebook — hell, I don’t even text (and only have a cell phone begrudgingly) — nonetheless, for the greater good of the just cause, it is encouraged that you post this to those (and any other) social media networks:
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ www.DollarsOrDemocracy.org #WeThePeople
The www.DollarsOrDemocracy.org link encourages folks to join the online protest and explains the impact of the Citizens United decision.
Additionally, if you haven’t seen this, it’s well worth checking it out:
For whatever it might be worth, there’s a separate video that critiques this one. Some of its points are fair, though mostly in only an exhaustively technical, lawyerly way, refuting the merits of an argument not on its moral standing or the deleterious ramifications of such and such, but rather the argument’s logical construction, which perhaps is germane considering that what’s at stake here is a decision by the Supreme Court and is constitutional grounding. For example, that most businesses today are actual corporations or what the meaning of “incorporated” was in the heyday of the forefathers. And when you have strict original intentionists like Justices Alito, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, what was is what is. Fine. But we live in a nuanced world whose shades of gray require that we be flexible, adaptive, ingenious, open-minded, and evolving. Otherwise gents, don your perukes and powder horns! Ladies, your hoop skirts, please! Lads, out you go with your hoop trundles! Constable, m’lord, arrest this scallywag — to the pillory with ’em! What I like most about the critique is its split-hair revelation that we do not in fact live in a democracy; nay, we abide in a constitutional republic. Awesome — we’re also apes! But leaving biology aside, I think most of us fancy ourselves as people. You can watch the critique here, if you so desire. It’s instructional insofar as familiarizing oneself with the opposition’s point of reference and framing.
Caveat: this is probably well-known, but Citizens United (note the lack of italics) is a conservative non-profit (but really, any entity that does the bidding for corporations — that exist solely to make profits — has no business, so to speak, masquerading as a non-profit) that spent at least $300,000 in the Wisconsin recall elections against State Rep. Fred Clark-D and his bid to unseat State Senator Luther Olsen-R. And it’s thanks to their victory in the high court that Benedict Arnolds like Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, and the Tea Party Express, have so effectively fucked up our politics and electoral process. And this brings up the * above when I mentioned unions. Superficially, corporations and unions are on the same page in terms of $ = 1st Amendment right, but measuring these two in any realistic, meaningful way as being somehow commensurate with one another is like comparing, well, an elephant and a donkey and bidding on which one would win in a fight. Given the staggering dissolution of union membership in the last 30 years, to say nothing of the current attacks against public employees so popular these days and the agenda to decertify them, it is righteously disingenuous to assert that unions are on an equal footing with corporations. But even if that were true (which is so laughably absurd it hurts), is that the spirit we want to enshrine, to perpetuate? A race to outspend the other, to outspend all others? A race to embrace the most venal, the most shameless issue or straw-man empty suit? Wherein a no holds barred trough-fest of this little piggy goes to the stock market and weeeee! all the way home? A race to the best government money can buy as the bottom line?
I hope not.
Addendum: unrelated to this directly, but altogether relevant is clicking here to send a message to presidential hopeful Mitt Romney that while corporations, yes, are composed of people, the entities are not in and of themselves actual people entitled to the same Bill of Rights as living, sentient, warmblooded, bipedal guys and gals like you and I.