14 June 2011

Another Step Away From Democracy - Toward Plutocracy

This is some bad news for those of you who enjoyed living in a representative democracy. A misguided federal court judge, James Cacheris (appointed by Ronald Reagan), has decided that the rich and the corporations don't have enough power in the United States and has rendered a decision he hopes will rectify that. The judge has thrown out indictments against two men who were charged of reimbursing political donations made by other people from corporate funds.

This amounted to a corporation donating money directly to a political candidate, which is (or was) illegal. The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court had unwisely allowed corporations to spend as much money as they wanted in campaign advertising (but did not extend this campaign spending to allowing direct donations to candidates). Judge Cacheris' decision extends the Citizens United decision to also cover direct contributions by corporations to political candidates.

The judge claims the Citizens United case made corporations equal to people on all campaign spending issues, and since individual people can donate money directly to a candidate that means corporations can also do that. I think this judge has misread the ruling and made a grievous error in judgment, but considering the current make-up of the Supreme Court I doubt the judge will be overturned. Instead, I expect the court will jump on this chance to expand their ruling giving corporations even more power.

In modern political campaigns, money talks. And individual donors cannot hope to match the huge donations of corporations. That means the candidate that offers corporations more will get the most money in campaign donations. We were already too far down the road to plutocracy (a country ruled by its wealthy class), and this terrible decision just kicks the country even farther down that road to the death of democracy and the ascendancy of plutocratic government.

I don't care what the Supreme Court says, corporations are NOT people, and they shouldn't have the rights guaranteed to all American citizens. They are a business entity interested only in making ever larger profits, and the good of the country or its citizens doesn't enter into those business decisions. In fact, a corporation will act against the best interests of American citizens as long as it enhances the bottom line (more profits).

It may be too late, but a movement needs to be started in America to pass a new constitutional amendment -- an amendment that would deny the rights guaranteed to citizens to any corporate entity. That amendment should define "person" as a living breathing human being and restrict right to those humans (including the right of free speech). Does anyone really think our Founding Fathers (who wrote the Constitution) ever envisioned or would approve of giving business entities the same rights they guaranteed to citizens? Of course not.

Ask yourself -- is corporate rule the best form of government? That's where we're heading if somethings not done -- and soon.
Posted by Ted McLaughlin

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