Personal Soapbox

Another take on the great issues of today.

Rolling in Their Graves...

If anyone seriously thinks that our Founding Fathers would look favorably at the Supreme Court decision on the January 21, 2010 to remove limits on corporate and labor union spending in political campaigns, they are drinking the laced with greed, thirst for power and influence, and self-interest over the greater public good.

The Court's decision may well be the single most destructive act to the idea of representative government in the history of our republic. It certainly constitutes a seismic shift in the resources available to a select few at the top of our largest corporations and labor unions to purchase overwhelming amounts of campaign advertising in favor of their selected candidates. It also threatens to drown out the voices of individual citizens in the political process in favor of those who control millions of dollars without the informed consent of shareholders and union members.

Those who pretend that this decision is justified on free speech grounds have a long way to go to show how the will of corporate or union management should be an acceptable substitute for the will of the individual citizens who own those corporations or work in those unions. As a current shareholder in some corporations, I have NEVER been asked if I want those corporations to spend money supporting any candidate. Information on those corporation contributions is never shown in the annual reports, and is practically invisible to shareholders. Although I am not a union member, I suspect the same situation holds true for union rank and file as well.

Worse still, corporate or union contributions to a particular candidate, while serving a narrowly defined purpose for some particular special interest group, may result in my indirect support for a candidate who holds views on many other issues which are totally opposite to my own.  If I would never support the candidate with my own money, why should I be forced, as a shareholder or union member, to support that same candidate against my wishes and/or without my knowledge and consent.

We really face a larger issue here: Is our government elected by the collective will of individual citizens? Or will we allow groups of individuals who control vast sums of other people's money to influence our government by purchasing the political power they need to achieve their aims.

What happened to government of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE and for the PEOPLE? Where in our Constitution does it grant to ANY group of individuals the right to become a special entity with the same rights as a single individual human being?

Corporations were established to provide a means for companies to conduct business as a single legal entity that could enter into contracts and other agreements without relying on the personal assets of the owners and officers. They were NOT set up to act as "super citizens" with the power to use enormous amounts of money to influence the election of corporate puppets in Congress or in other local jurisdictions. The same holds true for labor unions.

I know the Founding Fathers are not lying still in their graves. They are spinning in disbelief that their cherished principles of empowering the individual to decide the form and extent of their government are being subverted to achieve the aims of those who see only dollars, power and influence, and who could care less if the voice of the individual is heard in our land.