Editorial: Court Gives Big Money the Biggest Say

Massachusetts legislators should get behind resolution S772 that calls for a federal constitutional amendment to reverse the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

There is the letter of The Constitution and the spirit of The Constitution. Somehow the U.S. Supreme Court tortured some rationale out of that guiding document to give the money of corporations inordinate sway over the democratic process. The court declared its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election to become The Letter for political support. In that process they have subverted the aforementioned spirit.

Upon reading The Constitution, I noted that the words “political parties” do not appear. The framers never anticipated what is happening today as they envisioned (I suspect) a more dynamic political process where thesis and antithesis would result in sound decisions — not the process freezing acrimony we are now seeing. Today, the political parties that should be keeping that dynamic process viable have become little more than two warring corporations wanting nothing more than greater market share. In the coming election cycle, with the flood of big money going into Super PACs, both parties will show little respect for the American voter as they broadcast half truths or borderline truths, and spin the records of opposing candidates to win the election at any cost. Complex subjects will be reduced to two options, clever one-liners, and decisions will be made by an intentionally misinformed electorate.

The millions of dollars spent by these mammoth PACS are corrupting the marketplace of ideas. This cannot possibly be what is best for this country and our democracy. It cannot have been the vision of the people who wrote our Constitution.

The voice of the men and women who might donate $25 to a campaign will be drowned out by the noisy flood of PAC money that is busy buying our senators and representatives in Washington. Further, we now have a world where lobbyists can — without ever saying a word — threaten that their clients will spend millions on ads if senators or representatives do not do what the lobbyist wants. This is a shameful state of affairs for our country.

Michael Ripple

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