Saturday, January 23, 2010

The US Supreme Court

I'll be brief, and here's my brief: until this week's Supreme Court ruling on corporate election funding, we could all choose to close our eyes and pretend that our country was not for sale to the highest bidder. Now, though, it's legal.

By what stretch of the judicial imagination vast corporations wielding billions of dollars become "people" I am unable to say. But what I have been saying for years now, first in "The Bush Diaries" and now in "The Buddha Diaries" is official and surely undeniable. We live in an oligarchy at best, at worst a simple plutocracy. Who can any longer deny this simple truth?

It has been the work of thirty years and more. We thank President Gerald R. Ford for John Paul Stevens; we thank Ronald Reagan for Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy; we thank George Bush Sr. for Clarence Thomas; we thank Bush Jr. for Samuel Alito and Chief Justice Roberts--the five wise men who hold American justice in their hands, and now apparently American politics, too. The Court that cynically--and disastrously--gave us George W. Bush now hands us the corpse of democracy.

These men, I've heard it said, pay homage at the altar of the US Constitution. Did the framers of that supposedly sacrosanct document see democracy thus? I like to think not. But now, as I see it, the form of government that the founders foresaw is a thing of the past in this part of the world. I trust it will raise its head somewhere in some other unlikely place, but who knows. The world is an increasingly weird and uncomfortable place. It may be time for a definitive eulogy.

Have a great weekend, friends!


Adam said...

Part of me wholeheartedly agrees. However, I have a close friend that practices campaign finance law and he said the following: "corporations should be able to make independent expenditures. Regulate the hell out of them, but allow them. Otherwise, you just have people like me figuiring out ways to get the same thing done WITHOUT regulation--so then no one knows who the f$%* is saying what about who and how much they are spending on it."

Just something to think about. Seems like either way, the people are the ones getting screwed.

Gary said...

There is no more wild and no isolation from those who control the flow of information and money.
Democracy was sold to corporations long ago.

Elitists in power have tended to become isolated by power and their wisdom has been stripped away by that isolation.

ADAM IT IS A f$%*ing PLUTOCRACY! Money talks etc

Corporations have the world in their hands and the US Supreme Court is a direct reflection of the last 40 years of conservative manipulation of this check against balance. The stock market and insurance companies with the banking sector have control of their/our world.

It seems to me that my decisions at Home Depot,
Whole Foods or AT&T are the only place I can regulate my freedom of choice. What I buy and how I spend and if I vote can make a difference though I really can't measure it's overall effect.

Words like supreme and wealth seem to define success.

I look to art and science to discover what is beautiful and reasonable.

I look to politics and government to see what is marginalized and compromised.

I look in my boys eyes and hearts to see the joy and hope for the future they wish to make for their lives. I'll work with them to do what we can and give them the tools to do so if possible.

robin andrea said...

Actually John Paul Stevens wrote an eloquent dissenting opinion. I can't remember who nominated Anthony Kennedy, but he's the fifth schmuck in this gang.

mandt said...

Time to go underground

John Torcello said...

I saw a bumper sticker the other day: 49% of Americans agree with 90% of the world.

When a powerful minority can no longer 'win' by a simple majority; all sorts of distortions of influence, redefinition of terms, and the practice of and adherence to basic democratic principles disappear.

It seems the Cold War never ended; because of its own seeming insecurity, in an effort to self-perpetuate itself and convince the world; unregulated capitalism has shifted to a battle with its own citizens.

Borrowing from Peter's theme, it seems relentless 'Persistence' belongs to opposing thought too.

LillianAbel said...

As part of the declining middle class this leads me to comment: Money and Corporations have a stranglehold on the public. Insurance companies and banks have total control of the people's financial behavior. When everyone survives by living in constant debt due to the high cost of necessities such as housing, utilities, insurance and health care, they are doomed to pay the high interest of debt for their lifetime. Just 30 years ago the people could pay off their debts long before retirement. and 20 years ago "homelessness" was rare. If living on credit were nonexistent, everything would be affordable. The people are paying as much as 75% (25% is acceptable) of their income on housing alone.

The banks are paying low interest on savings and charging high interest on loans. The bank executives are receiving obscene bonuses.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, all, for these thoughtful responses! May we all come together in seeking out a more sustainable future...

They call him James Ure said...

It's become a nightmare. A lot of people aren't talking about the international connection with this ruling.

Due to our lovely global economy we have multi-national corporations that would technically allow foreigners to influence our political process. Niiiiice.

As a historian I can tell you that the founders would be furious over how far we've shifted.