The year 2010 brought us Citizens United from the Supreme Court of The United States. This is without a doubt one of the most controversial court decisions of all time. What makes Citizens United such a controversial decision?
It was based upon the belief that a corporation is a person, and that donating money to political campaigns is speech. Therefore, if a corporation is a person and money is speech, it would not be constitutional to deny the corporation the right to give money to campaigns or political groups of their choosing. Furthermore, the money can be donated anonymously, so the groups taking the money do not have the obligation to disclose where they money came from.
Proponents of Citizens United will argue that those of us who are fortunate enough to have enough money to donate to causes that they believe in should be able to do so, as it is their right. Citizens United also argues that since a corporation is a person, it should be able to have the same right to donate to campaigns as a regular flesh and blood United States Citizen can.
The United States is supposed to be a democracy of, by, and for the people. A major portion of this is the concept that we as a people have the right to vote, and that any one person’s vote will count just as much as anyone else’s vote, regardless of how much money they do or do not have. Allowing unlimited money from a corporation in favor of or against any proposed law will put us as voters at a serious disadvantage, as we do not have the same resources to promote our viewpoint to the voters to attempt to influence them as to why we do or do not support any proposed law.
Part of democracy is having an informed public. Meaning, that they can fairly hear both sides of an issue, and then vote according to their best interests. After all, how can voters make an informed decision based upon what would be in their best interests if they are hearing one side of the argument more often and regularly than the other, simply because one side can out spend the other? Also, shouldn’t voters know what corporations support and or oppose any piece of legislation, so that they know who would or would not benefit from doing so?
I am a capitalist, and I do not believe that I am entitled to wealth. I do not oppose or resent anyone who has more money than I do. However, I do oppose people (corporations or not) using money to promote propaganda for one side and silence the other side by out spending them. That is why I fully support ending End Citizens United.