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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Urban Journal: Last 7 Days

Re: “Democracy for sale

Citizens United did not do damage, it ended what was a blatantly anti-free speech law. The original purpose of so-called "campaign finance reform" was to restrict the ability of the National Rifle Association to run ads critical of politicians during campaigns. That was the stated goal, because Democrats then saw it as a way to get gun control-oriented politicians elected without the NRA being able to run ads critical of them.

What everyone forgets is that corporations are not just big companies, but a legal structure that is also used by a great deal of non-profits, such as the NRA. The NRA is a grassroots organization (it is not a front for gun manufacturers as many like to claim), and is a way for ordinary citizens to fight to protect their 2nd Amendment rights.

Thus, the idea that corporate political speech could be limited by laws was really a way to limit the free speech of regular citizens. The only way regular citizens can engage in speech on the same level as big companies is through forming organizations, often structured as corporations, that can raise money to spend on ads and fighting for the cause. The NRA does this regarding gun rights.

When Citizens United happened, many said that the Supreme Court may well have handed the presidency permanently over to the Republican party. We saw how well that went in 2012.

I am unsure regarding this current decision, and I don't believe there shouldn't be any laws regarding control of money in politics (for example unlimited donations to individual politicians), but not all legislation meant to control money in politics has been good, and if anything has been shown to do the opposite (such as the limitations placed via McCain-Feingold which Citizens United struck down which limited organizations like the NRA in terms of their ability to engage in political speech during campaigns).

For those that don't like the NRA, keep in mind it's the principle that is important, i.e. the ability of people, via grassroots organizations, to fight for causes and rights that they consider important. Other such issues can be LGBTQ rights, environmental issues, abortion rights, privacy rights, etc...

Posted by Kyle Blank on 04/16/2014 at 1:30 AM

Re: “Democracy for sale

As someone wisely said: "If you can afford to buy an election, you can afford to pay higher taxes."

Rev. Richard S. Gilbert

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Rsgilbert on 04/09/2014 at 3:47 PM

Re: “Democracy for sale

The New York Times Company, WMT Publications, Inc., and the thousands of for-profit corporations that we call the lamestream media have always been able to make unlimited in-kind political contributions. These contributions are completely unaccountable, so the value is unknown, but surely they amount to many billions of dollars every election cycle. I'll leave it to the reader to figure out which political party benefits almost exclusively from these unaccountable contributions.

The lamestream media hates the idea of sharing the First Amendment with the rest of us, simply because it hates the inexorable erosion of its own power and influence.

If you lobby for tax loopholes for your own pet special interests (say, solar energy), you can't very well complain when other citizens exercise the same right. The fact is, if you're honestly concerned about political corruption, the only rational response would be to limit government to its legitimate functions. The smaller the footprint, the less opportunity for favoritism and graft. That's an editorial that would make sense.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by b.d.g. on 04/09/2014 at 3:23 PM

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