Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Excellent Idea

I first heard of this idea from Jame Kuntsler's column today. That is, a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would preclude corporations from claiming protections under the bill of rights. That is, an amendment that specifically undoes the 19th century Supreme Court decision by which corporations were defined as "persons" and thereby entitled to the rights that you or I have as a citizen of this country and, be it noted, as a real, genuine person with a pulse and all that. Section 1 of this proposed amendment says it all: "The U.S. Constitution protects only the rights of living human beings." What an excellent idea.

Who would have ever thought it could be otherwise? But in the madness that seems to infect our national government from Supreme Court to the Congress to the Defense Department and beyond, we confront a situation where the rights of corporations and unions to free speech (first amendment) entitles them to give unlimited amounts of money, and in most cases, unaccountable money, to influence elections. This as a result of the egregious Citizens United v FEC decision of last year. In plain English, what this decision did was turn over control of elections in this country to concentrated wealth. It is no longer a figure of speech--it it ever was--to describe a senator or member of Congress as bought and paid for.

We are about to embark on our first presidential election under these newly established "rights" for corporations and unions. (I mention the latter solely for accuracy . . . there is no comparison in terms of dollars available to buy elections.) Already, the sums of money being amassed by the president and his prospective challengers is obscene. And it's just going to get worse.
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