Thursday, January 21, 2010

Free Speech. Not Priceless.

I was astounded when courts interpreted the Second Amendment while consciously ignoring the reference in the amendment to militias.

I was appalled when Congress passed a law that destroyed habeas corpus.

Now I'm speechless.

Today the Supreme Court some how decide that corporations, that previously had at least some of the same rights as an individual, actually have the constitutionally protected right to free speech.

And when I say I'm speechless, I'm actually speaking for all of us. We are all speechless. Our individual speech will now be drowned out by unlimited speech from corporations.

Politicians generally do not vote their consciences. They vote to please their constituents and their donors. Now corporate donors are no longer limited in the amount they can funnel to a candidate. Sure, we still have to vote, but the political discussion and process can be bought with huge sums of money. That happens all too much today. Starting tomorrow there are no limits on how much a corporation can spend to buy an election. No politician will be able to get elected without lining up huge sums of money from corporations. They will be bought and you and I are too poor to play in this game.

Corporations are not individuals, even though they may have been granted some of the same rights. They are not citizens. They can't be drafted. They can't serve on a jury. They can't vote. They can't marry (think about that). Or can they? Once they can buy elections, there is no limit to what powers they can give themselves. Their power will only be constrained by other large corporations.

We have been trying for decades to prevent individuals or large groups from buying elections and politicians. That is all gone.

You can imagine dire consequences of this ruling. Maybe we are making too much of this. But if we are correct and this is as bad as we think, once the tipping point is reached and corporations really control Congress, we won't be able to change it back.

I think the solution may be to change the law to make it clear that corporations are not people.