The saying "putting money where your mouth is" assumes that there is a distinction between the two. The US Supreme Court's ruling this afternoon that corporations and unions can limitlessly fund political campaigns overlooks this distinction, and in so doing puts an end to American democracy as we know and love or hate it. This is one more act of an interventionist court that, as we have previously reported, is imposing a court-run democracy on the country.
"Money talks," another saying goes, but money doesn’t have freedom of speech-- people do. Whether or not free speech is a right for natural persons only, as opposed to legal entities such as corporations and trade unions as well, the constitutionally blasphemous logic of the Supreme Court is the same. Funding political campaigns can be compared to funding terrorists in that neither has to do with the free speech.
Who benefits most from allowing corporations and trade union to spend limitlessly on political campaigns? The anser is simple: most of campaign money goes to advertizing, which means media companies like Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.-owned Fox, to single out the most openly politically biased, are going to get their greatest windfalls and revenue streams, ever. This may be the biggest and most blatant act of political patronage in human history, no exagerration.
The limitations were originally put in place by the Supreme Court in 1907, during the so-called Gilded Age of massive corporate conglomerates and tycoons. Then, and why not now is beyond us, it was held that corporate financial influence on the political process would not only disrupt it, but that politicians would consider corporations as their constituents rather than their voters. Once in office, it was assumed and still proves to be the case, elected officials would keep corporate, not citizen, interests at heart.
Has anything changed since the Gilded Age? Now it has, and to boot. Now, corporations and trade unions can once again replace dollars for votes as the basis of democracy. Now, “rule by the people” (in effect or not) has actually been replaced by “rule by the legal entity.” Sure, citizens will still cast votes, but they will do so based on information provided to them by the media platforms the donations of corporations and trade unions offer. And, once in power, elected officials will cater to the needs of legal entities over those of natural persons more so than they ever did in the Gilded Age because there are so many more concentrated interests to coordinate.
The end of American democracy as we know it, love it or hate it, is not something to be taken lightly. This is a clear Republican preemptive assault on the fulfillment of President Obama’s campaign promise of campaign reform with both eyes fixed on the midterm elections of 2010 in November. For that matter, John McCain promised as much and has already worked hard towards it. Mass protests have often been mounted against elected legislators, but rarely against appointed members of the judiciary, let alone the highest court of the land. Never has there been more reason or, better yet, getting every free-speech loving lawyer in the country to get the overruled ruling overruled once again.
The Supreme Court’s supremely contentious decision today is one more nail in the coffin of the American Republic as its founders and immigrants to it envisioned, now the cradle of a dictatorial empire.