In a landmark victory for corrupt politicians and the benefactors of the flaws in capitalism, the Supreme Court came to a decision on Jan. 21, 2010, in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The case was centered around campaign finance and the roles corporations, including nonprofits, labor unions and other similar entities play in the election process. This ruling plagues the election field today, tomorrow and the foreseeable future unless the more popular electorate talks about it.
The decision allows for countless sums of money to be donated to candidates on either side of the aisle. The Supreme Court was at a pivotal moment in 2010 where it could have subdued the negative effects that we face today.
Today, you have hundreds of special interests bidding for their candidate by helping fund their campaign. The main argument that led to the Supreme Court’s decision was that money is a form of free speech. The argument seems to make sense until you realize this freedom of speech dwarfs the speech of citizens that the policies are going to affect.
It’s easy to say from a position of power that if people were passionate about issues, they should get out and put their freedom of speech to work at the polls. The tragic truth is that this so-called freedom of speech has the ability to alienate and brainwash voters.
When you have these organizations funneling unlimited amounts of money for their own self interest, it leads politicians acting for the people who gave them the money rather than the people who elected them into office.
On issues like Wall Street and emissions regulations, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance agencies, health care providers and fossil fuel companies, all have a vested interest in electing people who will benefit them and ensure that the people give them money and keep making money.
The problem arises when we elect people who are getting rich while our bosses get rich, and we are left to deal with the ramifications. We grow to detest the government. It doesn't serve us anymore; it serves the rich and powerful.
We must recognize that money is not free speech. Free speech doesn’t cover “Fighting Words and Offensive Speech.” I don’t think it is crazy to claim the thousands of people who die because they can’t afford live-saving drugs because of another’s interactions should head free speech there. When you have corporations polluting our waterways and increasing carbon dioxide emissions, which affect the ever-growing battle with climate change that will affect our natural way of life, that should be enough to stop the flow of money there.
While I am no judge on the Supreme Court, I think there is enough evidence to support the claim that the ruling in Citizens United v. FEC adversely affects the majority of Americans. This belief that money in exorbitant amounts is free speech is simply a talking point to hold back progress and beneficial policies from being implemented.
Grant Wilkinson is a 20-year-old computer science junior from Vinton, Louisiana.