Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Chair Now Recognizes the Senator from Monsanto

Being the strict constructionalists they are, the five Supreme Court Justices who struck down campaign finance reform this week really had no choice but to interpret "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech" in the First Amendment to mean that corporations have the constitutional right to pump billions of dollars in to elections.

Justice Clarence Thomas alone thinks Congress can't even require corporations to report spending on elections or put disclaimers with their advertisements. Corporations should be treated like the rest of us, in his view. This is an odd channeling of the founding fathers, who counted a slave as only three-fifths of a person.

Campaign finance laws are off the books so once again we will enjoy the fruits of deregulation.  A big business bail out will be accomplished in less than five working days when the right people get elected, and the advertising industry can hire all the white guys who got laid off recently to create clever and misleading Swift Boat campaigns. Our White House can be re-named the Gillette House for a hefty sum to pay down the deficit. It's not all doom and gloom.

For now, though, shareholders are people too. We might just decide to read the 500 page company prospectus to see how our money is being "invested" in political speech before it's lost. Our democracy might be sold to the highest bidder thanks to the Supreme Court, but good old fashioned capitalism means we can vote with our dollars. We can buy things from companies that pledge to exercise rights of free speech fairly and reasonably. We can choose to not buy Lipitor and hybrid seeds.

1 comment:

Spelt Right Baking said...

Ohhh, perhaps my large corporate stash can help me get a stronger voice in Washington. Thank you Mr. Thomas.