The U.S. Supreme Court stuck it to me again yesterday. It will further dilute my one, meagre vote for political candidates and important issues. I feel disenfranchised more than ever. One man, one vote. Don’t make me laugh.
The Court, long shanghaied by big business and right-wing radicals, ruled in the so-called Citizens United case that corporations can not be limited in the amount of money they direct to political campaigns and candidates.
In essence, corporations will now enlarge their stranglehold on politicians. Not only at my loss but at the cost of democracy. Democracy being a mere concept, a concept that no longer holds practical reality in this country.
Anyway, the Court has said corporations are comprised of people and have the same rights as an individual person. It’s a matter of free speech. Congress can not ban such corporate expressions as it has tried to do in the past.
As an investor and a very small shareholder in 10 corporations, it is bewildering how five of the nine Court justices can remotely think of a corporation as democratic institution.
I own 100 shares of Berkshire Hathaway, the Warren Buffett corporation. And, yes, I am allowed to vote as I did recently on the 50-to-1 stock split. But do I, as one person, have an equal vote with Buffett’s? Get real. As a shareholder, I get to vote my 100 shares. And Buffet, with his millions of shares, gets to vote those millions of shares. In short, my vote is less than nothing. It’s ceremonial.
While you can look at corporate rights as free speech, it is free speech for the few, free speech for the wealthy elite. In other words, a corporation with 50,000 shareholders is at the mercy of two or three majority owners. They alone decide what candidates to back, how many lobbyists to hire.
Take pro-life. While 49,999 of those corporate shareholders may be proponents, one man at the top can decide to express the opposite view using the company’s funds to pay-off politicians and develop TV promotions. As a shareholder then, you’ve in reality voted against your own political interests. If anyone can see democracy in that, or even common sense, please enlighten me.
It’s not so astonishing that middle-class and blue-collar conservatives buy into this idea. I suspect they are too busy playing with their computerized toys to pay attention. Or caught up in small peripheral issues, polishing the brass fittings as the ship sinks.
Nothing will change anytime soon. I see little difference between Democrats and Republicans. I know, I should write the Congressman and two senators who on paper represent me. I should ask them to enact a law that would at least make my corporations’ political expenditures much more transparent. But I probably won’t contact any of them. They are already bought and paid for by corporations and other large interest groups.
It’s the kind of America I live in. It’s sickening.