Citizens United: Holding Republicans Hostage
While I believe one of the main problems facing our democracy in this country is the lack of viable 3rd parties, apparently there are many out there who believe that 2 viable parties are too many. Ever since the decision for granting corporations First Amendment rights in the “Citizens United” case, the Republicans have been economically forced to pursue radical capitalist agendas which are designed specifically to create a political monopoly. Lest you suggest that I am overreacting, let me offer some evidence.
The cohesiveness of the mainstream Republican platform is at an all-time high. When was the last time anyone heard a non-Tea-Party Republican say anything that other Republicans were not already saying or which picked up almost immediately afterwards? The party is nearly unanimous (with notable exceptions for Tea Partyers and Republicans representing Blue regions) on almost every significant piece of legislation.
This much, you could easily attribute to “politics as usual” – with coordination and strategy. However, the recent attacks on the few powerful left-leaning organizations reveals the true goals of the Republican party – they aim not just to win, but to crush the competition. They will not be content until the Democratic party is lumped in with the other 3rd parties as “the opposition.”
By attacking public broadcasting, they are literally attacking the most trusted news source in this country. Fortunately, I don’t think they can take those organizations down due to the strong public financial support they gets on a regular basis. However, having the conversation about whether or not it should be funded is an attempt to corrode public trust and slander the work of the organizations. NPR and PBS will survive, but they will be weakened and wounded. Ironically, reducing the ability of the populace to express its First Amendment rights, as you would expect Republicans to be more protective of them based on their protection of the First Amendment rights of corporations.
Furthermore, their attacks on collective bargaining that recently started in Wisconsin are a direct assault on the ability of unions to be an effective counter balance to corporations under the Citizens United decision. In the 2010 elections, the only organizations that came close to being able to spend as much as corporations were the unions. Thanks to the attack in Wisconsin, they have spent a large amount of their reserves fighting unjust legislation as opposed to political advertising. With the 2012 election campaigns getting started, this was timed very carefully by the Republican leadership.
The Republican party, as nearly as I can tell, is run by corporations, not the politicians. (Democrats are also heavily influenced by them, but still seem to think for themselves more often than not.) Corporations have only one driving motivator – profit. When corporations get involved in politics, their motivation does not change. Their goal is profit. However, in order to maximize their profit, they must maximize their power. They do not care about morals or the potential consequences for their grand-children, unless, of course, having “morals” serves the purpose of helping them get more power or profit. This is why it is extremely dangerous to confuse corporations with people.
The current level of influence corporations have in politics threatens our democracy in very real ways. Until we have the ability to regulate and restrict their influences legally and effectively, we are going to see a lot more radical capitalist agendas being pushed.