NO WE CANNOT: A case which is being revisited by the Supreme Court and which will, if decided for the corporation, have a huge influence on our lives and not, in my opinion, for the better. As Bill Moyers on his site says: "The case, Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission has grown from a limited question about [the showing of] a political documentary [funded by an anti Hillary Clinton corporation] to a broad challenge to the government's right to restrict corporations from spending money to support or oppose political candidates." This is about putting the free speech of a corporation on par with the First Amendment free speech of a person.
The person in this country, historically, has had to suffer at the hands of the omnipotent corporations because, as individuals, a singular person does NOT have the resources available to him with which to fund opposition. The issue of corporate person-hood has waxed and waned over time. Today we know our representatives in Washington are smothered by corporation PAC money in every sphere from health care to oil. Corporations have undue influence on our bodies and, often, our lives. Now they want to usurp one of a person’s few remaining reserved elements of political power – the free speech of the First Amendment-- as a rationale and excuse to control the whole Washington enchilada.
Mr. Abrams and the ACLU (an entity I usually adore), are arguing before the Supreme Court the corporate side of the equation that this is a free speech First Amendment issue and that the corporation’s free speech should be equal to that of a person. It is, I submit, NOT a person and should NOT be subject to the same free speech rights. Elena Kagan, the Solicitor General of the United States is arguing that point.
What ordinary human being can compete with the money that the corporation has at its disposal? The corporation behind the film against the candidacy of Hillary Clinton took Mr. Abrams and the ACLU for all they were worth to find yet another way to legally insinuate itself into Washington politics. A decision for the corporation will free up the corporation to do and say anything it pleases with as much cash as it can muster.
I believe, this is NOT what our Founders meant by free speech. They meant that right to be reserved for real, live, breathing people to espouse anything anywhere no matter how odious. They did not mean for the corporation with its billions of loot to have the right to do the same and easily override the individual’s impact on policy.
The corporation should NOT be considered a human being. It has no feelings, it has no sense of fair play, it cannot get sick and it cannot die BUT we can. The corporation if the Supreme Court decides in its favor will have unlimited capital to advance its agenda.
This important case is about FAIRNESS. It is not fair to make MY opinion any less valuable than another’s. By endowing the CORPORATION with person-hood with respect to the free speech issue, the Supreme Court will put it on the same footing as everyone else. The corporation is NOT like everyone else. This case is about nothing less than the undue influence of MONEY in politics which is what the corporation has at its disposal to influence who occupies the seats of federal power. How can an individual compete with that? If the Supreme Court rules FOR the corporation in this case, the president's new mantra may as well become NO WE CANNOT no matter WHAT we do!