It was brought home to me today that it has been more than a year since the dreadful Supreme Court decision, ‘Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission’. A one-time friend from my youth whose present wrongheadedness in most things political does not border on, but rather EXCEEDS the utterly maniacal, took advantage, in a recent exchange, of gloating on the fact.
In trying to understand his position it occurred me that he had never in his adult life worked for anything but major corporations. I grimly predict that a day may arrive when his masters put him out to pasture, social security and medicare gutted, and his pension stolen outright, which might alter his views somewhat. Or not. His views are mighty extreme.
If you are groping here a bit as to what that Supreme Court case was about, here are the broad strokes. The five Republican judges appointed by Geo. W Bush carried a majority opinion that corporations should have the same freedom as individuals to practice “free speech”, which includes the freedom to unlimited investment of corporate assets and monies on political campaigns. It does not matter that the ownership of such corporations may be primarily foreign, or antithetical to what is best for our society at large, but only that they be licensed on United States soil.
Nor does it matter that, unlike individuals, they can never be held accountable for crimes against society in any meaningful way. You can’t incarcerate BP, as much as you may want to at times. But BP can certainly spend the dollars it takes to buy the election of your next senator or congressman, without regard to its lack of safety in its business practices.
None of this is particularly cheerful to contemplate.
My reply to my former friend included a caution that a populace disenfranchised from meaningful involvement in the selection of its government has an annoying tendency of rising up, sooner or later. I further expressed my hope that this would not become necessary. The news from Cairo sounds just awful.
There are people who say it will take an amendment to the constitution to right this situation. Let’s start thinking about that instead!