Unfettered, corporate donations equals the end of democracy
On Tuesday, June 5th, Governor Scott Walker won a decisive victory over Mayor Tom Barrett, in the recall election for the governorship of Wisconsin.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Journal Sentinel reported that “The race was a rematch of the 2010 race, when Walker beat Barrett by nearly 6 percentage points. Turnout Tuesday was higher than it had been 19 months earlier, and Walker was leading by 7 percentage points with 96% of the vote counted” (Marley and Stein 1).
The recall election was initiated by the People of Wisconsin, particularly democrats and liberal activists, outraged by Walker’s controversial passing of anti-union legislation that stripped public employees of collective bargaining rights.
Now, the fight is over and Scott Walker emerged victorious, as he transcended the political onslaught to remove him and the lieutenant governor.
Here is a video of the emotional reaction of one Barrett Campaign volunteer (named “Mike”), heavily dejected and emotionally distraught in Barrett’s defeat, he cries out that Walkers recall win in Wisconsin is “the end of democracy.” (VIDEO BELOW)
One serious issue explained by the Barrett supporter in the video above, is the fact that the public was “outspent $34 Million to $4 Million dollars”; this is a damning reflection of the repeal of campaign finance reform law that vowed to the create and maintain “fair elections,” but the nightmare gets much worse…
Since corporations have been deemed to have the same First Amendment rights of human beings, by the US Supreme Court in their decision in Citizens United v. FEC, corporations can now donate unlimited campaign contributions to any politician or PAC, now referred to as “Super PACs”. This makes ‘quid pro quo’ imperative to the political survival of any incumbent or challenger; the more money an incumbent’s or challenger’s campaign gains, the more political ads, events, broadcast time and positioning, endorsements from high public figures, even indirect purchase of votes, a politician can metaphorically “drown out the voice of their opponent.”
This political culture makes it nearly impossible for a political figure to purely run on public principles and integrity alone, if they want to insure their election or re-election. In spite of all this, here are three things that need to happen in order for the People to put a stop to this corporate destruction of democracy.
First, we need a constitutional amendment (28th) that affirms that “Corporations are not people.” Bernie Sanders, independent senator from the State of Vermont, is the Chief Senate sponsor of the Saving American Democracy Amendment. This amendment will reverse the infamous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission; Ultimately, this will make for fairer elections and corporations will have significantly less influence over elections and policy decisions.
Second, which should be first, everyone, who has the right to vote, needs to exercise that right and get involved in the political process. Not only is it your right, it is your duty as an American. National solidarity will not be found through ideology, but through our participation at the ballot box, in our respective states. Voting is not just about who “wins” and “loses,” it is about certifying your “Freedom of speech.” There are many countries whose governments do not afford their citizens such rights; we must not take our rights for granted.
In many countries, citizens cannot speak out against their government without authoritarian consequences; public dissent of government activities can and will get you incarcerated by authorities, possibly detained indefinitely, and charged with many serious charges, such as treason. This is just one example of why our First Amendment “free speech” is the crown jewel of our democracy, that must be defended by the participation of the People.Getting involved in the political process can vary based on each individual. Everyone may not commit to all of the same actions or functions, but everyone can contribute something to the cause, no matter how small the contribution. Every contribution is a valuable one! Contributions can be in many different forms, such as signing a petition, demonstrations such as boycotting and protesting, volunteering to work for a campaign, donating to campaigns, public dissent (written and verbal), community organizing, and selectively choosing what companies to purchase goods and services from, based on their political influence and public support. Finally, all American citizens must understand that the Constitution is over all, INCLUDING the government! Many have been ignorant and complacent about legislation that undermines the Constitution; for example, Governor Walker’s anti-union law is a violation of the First Amendment because takes away the workers right of “freedom of assembly.” This law is intended to not only kill unions, but ultimately strip employees of any fair negotiation of wages and benefits. Without a union, the law puts individual employees at a major disadvantage when negotiating with their employers. Employers will likely consider workers who attempt to negotiate as “trouble makers,” and terminate them to set an example to any other employee who dares to challenge the system. Despite all of our ideological differences, we must work together or our democracy is sure to perish under the domination of corporate, campaign financing. Without fair elections, big money interests will buy out our democracy, and gleefully incinerate it front our faces. Radical change truly needs to happen in order to stop the corporate control of elections but, in order for the possibility of such victory to be possible, we must act aggressively and cohesively, to gain our democracy back. We must act now. Our freedom is slipping away in front of our eyes. -Firebrand Central