The privileges enjoyed by the rich due to the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United ruling contradict the notion entrenched in the constitution and Bill of Rights by the founding fathers that all citizens are equal before the law.
We begin most of our history lessons in grade school by learning the precept that we should seek freedom, democracy and fellowship with all other citizens. We are also taught as early as grade school that to be responsible citizens we are required to practice religious toleration.
We are told stories of the pilgrims and the religious persecution they endured in Europe. We are asked to respect and honor the life-threatening voyage they made across the Atlantic just so that they could worship God in ways that they could reconcile with their conscience.
We acknowledge that our founding fathers made the right decision for us and this great nation when they declared independence from England and its abusive or unfair taxation. Now our Magistrates and especially our Supreme Court Justices have become biased and seem to care only for the interests of those who brought them to the position of privilege, and influence they hold.
The system is compromised. We hold civil rights attorneys in jail for contempt of court, something even the United Nations (UN) says is unfair; we arrest foreign journalists for reporting on our alleged war crimes, and; we also now bribe foreign dignitaries through the World Bank to control them.
The Supreme Court decision that put George Walker Bush in power was unjust. A direct consequence of that decision is the high debt our country has, the War in Iraq, and the destabilization of the Middle East that might eventually lead to global decline.
But even more unfair is the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in favor of Citizens United. That ruling gave corporations and unions unlimited political contribution approval power. That would almost be fair if Reaganomics hadn’t already decimated union membership down to 6% or if Reagan and his followers hadn’t kept dropping the top tax rate on the rich or corporations.
When Bernie Sanders proclaimed that the game was fixed he wasn’t lying. He was speaking the truth the same as the Old Testament prophets that the pilgrims admired. At this point, our country’s future hangs in the balance. Some think it’s over and we are watching our country become similar to the same monarchical system that our founders were trying to escape from.
Ours has become somewhat an economic and political dungeon for the majority of citizens. America has become a country of haves and have nots; the land of the politically oppressed and financial hardship, and; a country of unjust wars that some churches blindly encourage us to support.
Our legal system is also not in good shape. It fails to consider the plight of the poor or the economic situation of the immigrant. If these are the things you want to celebrate, count me out. I also believe strongly that marginalized citizens, victims of this biased court will not join in such a celebration.
We must decide if we want the richest among us to use their money-power to decide our fate. We were deprived of a vast proportion of the freedoms we cherish, love, and celebrate through Citizens United, leaving us with only a nominal democracy. We no longer possess the power to carry the people’s wishes into law in our Congress because it hands over that power to campaign dollars.
The ultimate remedy lies in Supreme Court reform. However, an immediate palliative should come from reversing Citizens United. It was an immoral law that contradicts the good intentions of the founding fathers to institutionalize a durable democracy.
Therefore, we need a quiet moment to stop and think and gain the conviction, passion, and drive on how to push this agenda forward. In doing so, however, we must bear in mind that the ultra-rich won’t give up without a fight.
We can also not expect to address the problem through measures like the Sherman Anti Trust Act because you and I aren’t funneling the same amount of campaign dollars into the pockets of the politicians the way corporate America and the oligarchs are doing.