With the presidential election ten months away, campaign commercials are already starting to air in Ohio both for and in opposition to President Barack Obama. The landmark Supreme Court ruling two years ago in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the highest court in the land determined that freedom of speech guarantees corporations and unions have the constitutional right to spend an unlimited amount of money on political campaigns ensures that our television and radio airwaves will be fully saturated with political advertisements by the time November rolls around. So much so that many citizens will be so turned off by the onslaught of commercials that they will give up their constitutional right to vote, choosing instead to opt out of the system. One could hardly blame such a person.
What the Citizens United ruling did was to create the so-called Super Pacs, which are raising hundreds of millions of dollars for various candidates and issues for the current campaign season. Although these Super Pacs are required by law to disclose their financial contributors, these political action committees have discovered a technicality in which they are not required to disclose how they are financed until after the election. Money isn’t free speech any more than corporations are people. All the Supreme Court ruling ensured is that corporations and wealthy individuals will have an immense undue influence in all future elections. A person would have to be brain-dead to believe that a wealthy individual or especially a corporation expects nothing in return for their high dollar campaign contribution. History has already proven time and again that money does buy influence.
As Big Money overpowers all else in America, we are dangerously close to no longer being a democracy. Instead, this nation is fast becoming a plutocracy, in that we are being governed by the wealthy elite, be it an individual or corporation. It is time for the citizens of this country to realize that the time has come for them to take back this country from the grasp of Big Money before it’s too late. Because of infinite numbers, the middle class and working poor can still exert its influence in politics despite the contribution of hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign donations by the rich and powerful. All they have to do is stay informed and vote in every election. However, to ensure that America remains a representative democracy, campaign contributions should be limited in size and only by that of individual citizens. And no, corporations are not people and as such, they should be banned from financial contribution to any political campaign.
Steven H. Spring