United States Capital Building
On occasion, the corporate media (in this instance, the editorial section of today's New York Times) will cut through the fog and come right out and say it, "only a constitutional amendment can counter the misbegotten Supreme Court assertion that money is speech".
That "constitutional amendment" the Times editorial was referring to, is of course, overturning the Court's ruling in "Citizens United" which permitted an avalanche of big money to influence and overwhelm the electoral process.
In this recent election cycle alone, some $6 billion, much of it in secret donations from unknown sources, overwhelmed the electoral process in favor of those moneyed interests. And it didn't matter whether it was to underwrite the campaigns of Democrats or Republicans. The majority of those elected were backed by big money.
It also didn't matter that the largesse coming from some deep pocketed donors backed a losing candidate. The overwhelming majority of those elected were backed by big moneyed contributors. Only in rare instances did those candidates who refused big moneyed donations win their elections (as happened with Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont). If there is a bipartisan alignment that is unequivocal it is candidates from both major parties prostituting themselves and their integrity in taking the big bucks to win their elections.
Under the "Citizens United" ruling it's all legal and according to the majority on the Supreme Court namely Justice Anthony Kennedy who wrote the majority opinion, "The Court now concludes that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption and appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy".
Admittedly, big money contaminating and corrupting the electoral process is a recurring theme of this writer and is not new to readers of this space. However, the redundancy seems necessary.
Regrettably, it takes repetition for some people to "connect the dots" that big money controls the electoral process, chooses who runs for office and the majority of those who ultimately win elections.
And that majority establishes the all important political agenda that proposes and enacts the laws and regulations, determines the oversight and enforcement that goes to the benefit of the big moneyed and special interests that underwrite the campaigns of those elected.
The simple fact remains those controlling that political agenda hold the key and determine the outcome of every significant problem and issue we face.
To bring about real change you have to control the political agenda. That was the key failing of the occupy movement. It identified and vocalized the problems and issues but refused to accept getting control of the political agenda required getting money out of politics as the key element and focusing and demanding "Citizens United" be overturned, the electoral playing field be leveled and a majority of candidates not beholden to big money be elected to rectify the very problems and issues we face.
All the problems and issues we bemoan from climate change to war, from health care to financial regulation are all connected to who controls the political agenda.
The reality is one or two office holders, like a Bernie Sanders or a Dennis Kucinich, who have forsworn against taking big moneyed contributions, are not enough to offset the overwhelming majority of those elected who do; for they are the majority in office that control the political agenda.
We can't throw up our hands and say we're powerless or we don't care about politics. We can't become cynical and say it's no use.
We're a country and planet nearing the tipping point, possibly the point of no return with a climate crisis and environmental degradation making an unlivable planet.