For a long time now I’ve been convinced that America democracy is dying, if not dead. Our will to be a great democracy got broken somewhere along the line. Instead, all the evidence shows me that this country works exclusively for the small ruling elite who run the world’s corporations.
The evidence for this seems to almost drown one as soon as one bothers to look.
When American citizens were dying in Katrina our government could do nothing for them. The most powerful country on earth couldn’t figure out how to get food and water to people suffering on its own territory.
When even the best evidence at the time demonstrated that there was no threat to America from Iraq our government could not keep itself from invading and generating billions for corporations while needlessly spilling the blood of America’s and Iraq’s citizens.
In the case of healthcare not only is the Congress and our President completely incapable of delivering any meaningful reform the best they can do is mandate that citizens must get healthcare, only from corporations and without doing anything to reign in corporate costs. Our government is so completely in the hands of its corporate masters it can’t even overturn the exemption it gave health insurance companies against federal anti-trust laws. In other words our ‘reform’, if there is any, will simply be to hand more of our money over to our corporate masters while ensuring they are free to gouge us without restraint.
But probably the ‘great recession’, caused exclusively by the greed and incompetence of our corporate overlords, is the clearest example of the end of any meaningful democracy in this country and our total domination by our corporate overlords. Not only were the people forced to pay money, with no strings attached to reimburse our corporate masters for their incompetence but it’s now clear that in return there will be exactly zero meaningful corporate reform. The government is literally, not figuratively, a piggy bank run by our corporate masters with our money. The government does not work for the people, rather the people are simply funding tools for the government and its corporate masters.
I am reminded of the parable of the boiling frog where the frog is put in a pot of water and the heat is slowly turned up, so slowly that the frog doesn’t realize it is being boiled alive until it is too late. How would we know when the water has boiled on American democracy?
I believe that today I got the answer. The U.S. Supreme court, rather than ruling on anything that can be plausibly drawn from the constitution, has just invented a brand new right. It would seem that the first amendment applies to corporations (the court has actually made this argument before but never, I believe, so forcefully as today) and that corporations therefore must have similar rights as citizens to participate in the political process. Never mind that corporations are not people. Never mind there is no fundamental right to form a corporation and that corporations exist as a deal between the people. In essence the deal is that in return for not being held personally liable for the debts of the corporate entity the corporation is required to act on behalf of the people and with what restraints the people choose. That later part has been forgotten, or really, expunged. Now corporations are more or less people and our Supreme Court has decided that restrictions on their ability to fund the charade we call our political campaigns must be, in effect, close to unlimited.
Not only will corporations now be able to completely drown out everyone but their own voice but now foreign governments can funnel money to their pet corporations or really just set up quid pro quo deals (“Oh, you want to expand your business in China? Well maybe if you help this nice senator win his campaign…”). In a sense I suppose this ruling is good because it removes the thin veil that corporations were doing anything other than running our country.
In and of itself I don’t actually think this decision changes anything. It simply clarifies the relationship between corporations and America’s citizens. But I do find it useful as the final flag, the water is just about boiled. One suspects it’s time to jump out.