Thursday, January 21, 2010

Class War, American Style

The SCOTUS has decided that corporations can now freely advertise in elections. This is needed because of freedom of speech:

Corporations, labor unions and other political entities are gearing up to play a larger role in elections in 2010 and beyond after a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down elements of campaign-finance law.

The Supreme Court Thursday made it easier for entities to influence elections for Congress and the White House by stripping away rules that limited their ability to fund campaign advertisements. The court also struck down a part of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law that prevented independent political groups from running advertisements within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election.

I find it utterly fascinating to read the language of the above quoted story and this one in the Wall Street Journal: "people" now have more responsibility for what they say, "groups" can advertise more, trade unions are roughly equal to all the corporations in power and so on. What remains unsaid in all this is that any attempt to define the situation in those terms is as if we were putting an elephant and an ant to box in the same weight class.

So it's class warfare but nobody is supposed to notice. Just imagine the corporate power here in smaller states with limited population base and not much money to spend on elections! Just imagine the fear etched into all politicians' hearts: "What if the IBM or the General Motors decides to take me down?" Just imagine trying to get environmental protection through in states where powerful corporate interests don't want it. Well, you can stop imagining now because we shall all find out how the best democracy money can buy got even better.

Sure, you can argue that this is how things already are, except a bit less frightening. So why not just step all the way into corporate power in this country? Without blinders, that is.

Sigh. Freedom of speech for those with lots of money. The right to listen to them for the rest of us.

THIS is why the composition of the SCOTUS matters so much. And THAT is why it matters to vote for Democrats. You hear me, Massachusetts?