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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/22/11

One Year after "Citizens United"

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Yesterday, the one year anniversary of the infamous "Citizens United" v/s "FEC" ruling by the Supreme Court, this writer attended a conference called, "For The People", a "summit" that focused on the idea, corporations are not people.

The "summit" included a number of speakers and panelists, among them Lawrence Lessig, Dean Baker, John Bonifaz and some others (interestingly) who resided politically on the conservative and libertarian right, but who also were deeply concerned with the dire effects of corporate personhood enshrined by the "Supremes" (in their "Citizens" ruling) that dramatically changed the electoral landscape with the complete unleashing of the torrent of corporate money influencing the election process.

Now the phenomenon of big moneyed and special interest largesse influence on candidates, (their elections and their influence in setting the political agenda on those they sponsor and how those legislators vote) didn't just begin with the advent of "Citizens United". When polled, over 80% of the American people recognize money buys influence and why Congress' approval rating is a dismal 11% positive.

What SCOTUS did with "Citizens" was to sanctify the complete takeover of the political process by big moneyed corporate and special interests all but drowning out the peoples interests on election outcomes.

During the "summit" an interesting point was brought up, though 80% of the people when polled recognize money's corrupting influence on our elected leaders only 21% of those people have ever heard of the "Citizens United" ruling. That was a staggering revelation which goes to the heart of the matter and the imperative need to inform and educate the people, get them to connect the dots and get them behind the effort to repeal this horrendous ruling by getting them to support an amendment to the Constitution as the clearest way to restore the mandate clearly stated in the Constitution; this is a country of, by and for the people and not of, by and for the corporation.

Ironically, the Supreme Court's ruling in "Citizens" did the people a favor because it crystallized the issue and brought it out in the clear light of day. We either have a democracy that is truly representative of the people or we have a corporatocracy, the usurpation of the Constitution and the dictatorship by the corporations.

Our democracy is hanging by a thread. We are as polarized politically as we have ever been. But there are times certain issues go beyond partisanship. This is one of those times. It has happened in our past with women's suffrage. It happened with the civil rights movement and legalized segregation. The women's suffrage movement wasn't about liberal, conservative, progressive or libertarian women getting the right to vote, it was about ALL women getting the vote. The same for black people and civil rights; it had to do with ALL black people, not just those of a particular political persuasion.

It is now the same for the idea of personhood embedded in the Constitution.

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