I’ve often wondered how we came to the point of corporate ownership of what is supposed to be a citizen-led government “of the people, for the people, and by the people.” The answer is somewhat murky and a lot of people would prefer to obfuscate or deny the truth completely. This is not one of those statements. This is my opinion of how we are a disenfranchised voting public wherein dirty tricks are overtaking the needs of the governed in favor of the radical opinions of the few.
My thought was to expose the litany of the past mistakes, but I think that misses the point in the modern world of ‘just give me the needed information – I have not time to truly go through the past’ age of today. Therefore, let’s just get to the common sense of what needs to be said.
First, the idea that a corporation, a body of shareholders, employees, and investors, can be a person is on its face a complete fiction. It is so easy to prove that it boggles the mind that anyone could state otherwise, and the fact that the laws were amended to make it so is very clearly a mistake.
Argument number one is that a person can be placed in jail when they commit wrongdoing such as breaking laws meant for the governance of all. However, when a corporation commits a crime, they do not get thrown into jail. Arguably, if they could, who exactly should be the person going to jail? Is it the officers of the company? Is it the shareholders of the company? Is it the person or persons (note that take) who actually committed the crime, or the person or persons who either approved of or did nothing about said crime? How do you hold an organization of potentially hundreds of thousand of individuals responsible for a crime committed by a few?
If that isn’t an obvious argument for non-personhood, I am not sure you can truly understand what being a person actually entails.
Argument number two is that a corporation is comprised of a number of people and as such, any corporation providing funding to a political party, candidate or PAC to curry favor, set policy or initiate legislation on its behalf, is essentially bribery. It should not be so easily dismissed as ‘legitimate activity’ as the truth of the matter is that it creates an inequality wherein the governed are being exploited in the interest of the few. People (actual persons) cannot afford on their own to send millions of dollars to candidates to buy their votes and favor. Corporations making such donations are essentially doing just that. They are buying access to the legislators who are greedily taking their money in what is essentially a self-serving system of enrichment.
If you think bribery is just fine, then I suppose you either support wholesale graft or do not have a clear understanding of the great American social contract of Justice. No man or woman should be ‘above the law’. The greatest problem with the idea that anyone or anything is ‘above the law’ is that it immediately creates the problem: if anyone or anything is beyond the reach of Justice, then the laws are all invalidated and chaos and anarchy will follow. Such cannot be allowed to stand within an American representative democractic republic.
Argument number three is one that I am surprised no one had thought to argue before. That is that no donation by any corporation should be allowed as there is no representation of the actual values of aid corporations shareholders. The board members alone should not be allowed to decide what the values of the shareholders should be without a vote. The idea that a small, select group can act without the vote of the entire corporate body makes a mockery of the idea that the decisions of the few reflect a single person entity of the corporate organization. A few people at the top do not hold the thinking of the body as a whole. Such contributions are therefore ‘unaccountable influence’ that do not reflect the values of the whole.
If corporations were forced to make political contributions based on the values of shareholders in their entirety, then there might be a way to state that such were actually reflective of the persons in the corporate ownership chain. However, I know of no such restrictions that place corporate donations as anything more than a wink and a nod exercise wherein people on boards are allowed to make donations to candidates they like versus the corporate members have chosen as a whole. If they had to put it to a vote, the structure of the flow of money would fundamentally change and those making such decisions know that to be true.
I cannot see any reason to allow a corporation to act as a person when it sends money to any political candidate, committee or cause. The only result will always be inequity, inequality and injustice. This country was founded on the idea of ‘one person, one vote’, but the reality of corporate money in the political discourse is a never ending cycle of a ‘grab the money’ for campaigning versus actual representation for all of the actual people of the nation. It must end, in order to ensure that the needs of the governed are met for the governed citizens of the country.
Have a nice day. Don’t worry, be happy!