Recent Supreme Court gives Corporations a Monopoly over our Political Process

Forget the usual subterfuge indenturing democrats and republicans to corporations.  The Supreme Court's recent judgment, ( i.e.: Citizens United vs. FEC) allowing unlimited corporate funding of campaign ads means the wealthy and corporate elite can now buy democrats and republicans in a public auction, sanctioned by the marketplace, the media (comprised of a few corporations which reap big profits from campaign ads) and the U.S. judicial system.  That monopoly power over elections, exacerbated by the Court's decision, all but guarantees we will never see true democracy in America and the poor and middle classes will continue to be oppressed by the plutocracy/corporate oligarchy we now suffer.


Corporations are not an oppressed minority, and thusly, the Court's equating free speech with their preferential monetary access to the media is reprehensible, perpetuating a dysfunctional political process which determines the outcome of elections on the basis of paid advertising rather than candidates' qualifications, ideals, and visions for America. This systemic failure promotes a two-party (really "uniparty") dominance of America's political landscape on which repeated elections of interchangeable parts guarantee a long deteriorating status quo responsible for America's decline.  Unless the electorate rejects those candidates, who fill their mailboxes with staged photos and illusory or exaggerated accomplishments or on behalf of whom corporations flood the TV and radio waves with multi-million dollar ads, we will not do what we must to save America, vote out democrats and republicans alike in 2010 and elect candidates, who represent the people.  Otherwise, democrats and republicans will continue to play the same sour notes orchestrated by institutions of wealth.


The Court has given neither a microphone to an unheard minority nor a microphone to America's majority incarnate.  It has given all the amplifiers inherent in the Constitution to what is already the loudest voice, the same shrill holler which resulted in bailouts for Wall Street, failing automobile manufacturers, medical insurance companies, financial institutions and military industries.  All hold the country hostage.  All demand ransoms of mounting tax dollars, deepening national debt, and congressional proposals designed to cede them power and continued control of America through congressional subsidies, military contracts and permission to destroy the ecology.  All rent the political stations currently leased by democrats and republicans in order to keep our wars open-ended and global, our profligacy uncompromised, our energy independence sacrificed to 739 foreign bases, the 5th Fleet and weapons contracts.  By equating consumerism to freedom (in particular, freedom from responsibility), the corporations keep our citizenry addicted to imported goods, imported oil and endless, albeit debilitating, credit.  Democrats and republicans get elected each cycle by promoting that dependency, trafficking enslavement to corporate profits.


Let us examine the constitutionality of the decision to treat corporations as individuals, a history stemming from an 1886 court case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company.  That Supreme Court decision in favor of the railroad ostensibly led to corporate personhood and free speech rights, guaranteeing protections under the 1st and 4th amendments.  Or did it?  Did a relatively mundane court case grant the same rights as individuals to corporations?  Chief Justice Morrison Waite wrote, "We avoided meeting the Constitutional question in the decision."  But, when the court case summary was written, holding itself no legal status, the Court reporter wrote: "The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution of the United State, which forbids a state to deny any person within its jurisdiction to equal protection of the laws."   Apparently, the Court had made no such legal determination, and it is the Court clerk's misrepresentation and opinion of the case upon which current claims of corporate personhood and free speech entitlements reside.  That Court reporter, by the way, was a former railroad president, named J.C. Bancroft Davis.  Is it not a legal paradox, or at least a legal inconsistency, that inanimate, constructed entities should be awarded rights as individuals in America not yet fully granted the living (e.g., sentient non human animals with well-developed cognitive abilities)?   It is time to revisit Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. The Green Party will fight to overturn that 1886 ruling.  No other political party, no other candidates, no other elected congressman will.


When corporations are treated as citizens, it diminishes the power of real people and life in general.  Now is the time to coalesce into a populist movement and, in November, vote out the two parties subservient to and elected by corporate money.  Casting votes should be about the power of ideas not the power of bankrolls no matter how the media and occasional co-sponsors of political debates try to marginalize democracy and the power of ideas on the basis of campaign funding from special interests.  The Supreme Court's recent decision means economic inequality translates into political inequality.


Must it be so?  Imagine if GM put as much capital into developing fuel efficient/alternative energy cars as it does into democratic and republican war chests?  The money spent enabling their candidates to win, the bailouts to flow and the quality of vehicles to stagnate relative to fuel efficiency and pollution, could provide us a cleaner environment, energy independence and mass transit.  Imagine if the financial industry had retained in 2008 the $400 billion spent annually on republican and democrat campaigns?  Would our economy now be on the ropes?  Would we now have affordable and accessible health care for everyone if the pharmaceutical and medical insurance companies were not kept between us and our physicians by the untold billions of dollars in democratic and republican campaign donations which keep their administrative costs at a whopping 25%?  Would we be bailing out the military establishment with repeated and unnecessary contracts, paid with our taxes, if such earmarks were not guaranteed by their donations to incumbents?

For decades we have been politically abused and betrayed in America by an archaic and tyrannical two-party system.  But, despite our growing anger, like an abused spouse, we accept the repeatedly broken promises of corrective behavior, the insincere acts of contrition just before the elections and the surreal political propaganda of high-priced campaign ads funded by special interests.  We all know that democrats and republicans swarm to campaign donations from corporations, the obscenely wealthy and special interests like flies to sweet cream.  This nation we love is in serious decline because of such political practices, an abusive status quo stacking the deck against our better intentions, better qualified candidates and the very concept of democracy itself.  Thanks to the Supreme Court's recent decision, November 2010 may be our last chance to replace democrats and republicans with progressive, third party candidates and  resuscitate this nation.

                                      G. Scott Deshefy

                                      Lebanon, CT



Scott Deshefy is the 2010 Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd Connecticut Congressional District



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