March 2012

Losing power over our own government

By Galen Larson

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which made corporations into people, we the voters have lost the power to pick our leaders. The candidates will, through the influx of foreign and domestic money contributed by anonymous super-PACs, become beholden to the corporations instead of the average person.

Let’s face it: A $5 million contribution up against my $5 contribution doesn’t leave much doubt about which one the candidate will favor.

In the end, the votes of lowly citizens like me will mean as much as those purple fingers in the Iraqi elections. “Citizens United” should have been labeled “Citizens Getting Screwed.”

The right to vote in any meaningful way is slipping away from us. If Citizens United is allowed to stand, the whole idea of “one person, one vote” will become a joke. If money is speech, then some people have a whole lot more of it.

Like thieves, the corporations steal our rights, leaving no fingerprints or clues to their identity behind the forces influencing our elections. If we choose to accept this it makes us complicit in their crime.

Millions have died, suffered injury and been imprisoned to earn the right to vote. Now we are dumbly letting it be stolen from us.

We are at a critical time in our history, deeply in debt to a communist country, our economy in the tank, thanks to our own ignorance.

The super-PACs are pitting us all against each other while they secretly work to gain control, and once that happens there is no place to set sail to with another Mayflower in the search for the freedoms we once won — liberty and justice for all.

Look at the current Republican presidential race, with the corporate pawns scrambling to do their masters’ bidding, falling all over themselves trying to get bigger and bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent and the mega-businesses that then turn around and finance their campaigns through the Super-PACs.

When anyone dares to question why the “haves” should get even more, these candidates bleat, “Class warfare! Class warfare!” Then they get back to figuring out how they can enact some more corporate welfare.

No, we don’t have a perfect person in the White House. There was only one perfect person in history and the powers-thatbe nailed him to the cross with the blessing of those he was trying to help.

We need to realize that a president is not a dictator. It is Congress that is to blame for much of what is wrong with our country. If you value your liberty, standard of living and your right to vote, get well-informed before you head to the polls. It could be your last election.

Capitalism is not corporatism. No matter what the Supreme Court says, a corporation is a board-run enterprise. A capitalist, on the other hand, is your neighbor, grocer, auto mechanic, bookseller, and the owner of your small coffee shops and mom-and-pop stores. Don’t let the megacorporations put them out of business.

There is a move afoot nationwide to amend the Constitution to undo the Citizens United decision and establish that corporations do not have the same rights as individuals. Ask your legislators and congressional representatives whether they support this. Demand that they do.

God bless America. I hope he does after the way we have abused it.

Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.