January 13, 2012
By Adam Weatherall
How Citizens United pushes us all further apart.
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We who consider ourselves to be students of history sigh as we see ugly variations of past patterns emerge, we watch in horror as they are inflicted on the populace over and over again. People are under the assumption that the internet might have created new patterns and drastically changed our nation’s engine of democracy. That engine which was already sputtering at the seams back in the early 90′s, before the dot com bubble. This is not viscerally the case, while it certainly did speed up existing patterns long ago set into place. However, things have changed, recently to, and unfortunately for the worse and it wasn’t the interweb that did so, either. It was a sneaky little ruling by the Supreme Court back in 2010, and now suddenly we’re back in the gilded era.
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That sneaky little ruling, turned into an oppressive law is known to us as Citizens United , and in this reporters opinion, it is sending America hurdling backward towards a brief period in our history in which corporation reigned supreme. For those of you that might have fallen asleep during that section of American history, don’t be embarrassed, you had good reason to. This was a particularly boring period in our in our nation’s past. It was after the civil war and before the Spanish American war that had all Americans in a fervor and shouting, “remember the Maine!” it was before Teddy Roosevelt’s “great white fleet” and our countries first international flexing of our military might and more than 20 years before we helped win WW I . The Gilded Age was an extremely boring period mainly because we had yet to become a super power, it took the actions listed here before to mount America to that highest of rankings among countries. True there were major events happening in America; during this time period revolution had finally taken stride, this period is marked by certain well known captains of industry like J.D. Rockefeller, who can be remembered for his philanthropic endeavors as well.
Essentially this is where the idea of trickle-down economics was first born as well as the concept of a monopoly. You see the many foundations made in the name of tycoons of the age were mainly a deflection from the onslaught of public assaults on the characters of these aforementioned men. If you will it was their staving off their own demise, they saw the writing on the wall and knew that eventually their business practices would be regulated. And regulated they were and heavily so by patriots from our past like Teddy Roosevelt. More so than he there are other men whose names might ring a bell, Woodrow Wilson, and F.D.R. These two men regulated this country more than all other presidents of the United States combined. It was their mainly social welfare based programs, which where unpopular among conservatives of the time, yet did much to set America up as the premiere super power of the 20th century and the only one that had the staying power to outlast the millennium. The only nation that had a quality of life so high that Americanism is now a word synonymous with luxury, and also greed, and gluttony. And now, strangely, for the last 22 years since the days of the “Reagan”, republicans have sought to strip the regulations which kept big business in rank and order with a growing populace. The idea of trickle-down economics have been disproven time and time again, there are simply too many thirsty people to make the stream of “wealth” that has leaked down from the rich on high relevant to the masses of the poor at the bottom. Adding to this it seems that most of the rich for whom we are supposed to wait for this stream of wealth have long since lost their tastes for philanthropic endeavors, so the division between the masses is all the more evident in today’s modern times.
When an individual like Sheldon Adelson can contribute over 100 million dollars to one election it tips the scale in what is obtainable in terms of democracy to the average American. If knowledge is power than the ability to spread information parading as fact is certainly a clear example of power being inappropriately displayed by one man from a nation of over 375 million individuals. Especially considering that Sheldon Adelson’s business happens to be legalized gambling which is highly regulated by elected officials who might, knowing the fact that he is willing to dump endless funds into an election, feel somewhat threatened…and they should. In the post Citizens United world, a man like Sheldon Adelson can single handily cover any politician in the country via a super pac acting on his behalf in negative ads and imagery impossible for the public to ignore. Adding another strike to the negative impact of a law like Citizens United adds run in an election for the purpose of electing a candidate must sell those ads at a base lowest level regardless of the ads stated time slot. So as well as being able to dump hundreds of millions of dollars toward whatever propaganda he faces, he also is able to beat out normal companies advertising products who would be willing to pay a much higher rate to the network for their valuable airtime. So networks are forced to sell ad airtime for political purposes at the lowest possible rate, and because airtime for a network is a finite resource this essentially put the broadcast company in a position where they are forced to purchase political ads. Making the airwaves the populace now sees an endless buffet of propaganda only limited by a wealthy person’s personal bank account. Our only apparent hope, since we in the 99% can never hope to match funds versus tycoons like Mr.Adelson, is to hope that they in their greed might somehow bankrupt themselves by simply spending too much on ads until their funds run dry. But seeing as how several billionaires have stepped into the limelight and dedicated vast sums since the inception of Citizens United, there is no apparent end in sight. But perhaps by some stroke of legislative miracle someone delivers us from the horrors of Citizens United. The division now between most of the population and the 1% is now higher than in the days of Rockefeller, staggeringly so. Once more, not only are the rich much richer, they now have the ability for the first time in human history to blanket our daily lives with their opinions and views. And largely our politicians are in fear of losing their jobs if they don’t play ball with these people.
We’re seeing examples in the news of Citizens United’s impact on our electoral politics already. With the attempted recall of Gov.Scott Walker, who was facing trembling ground support yet his campaign was bolstered at the last minute by a few key very wealthy sources. Here we have a clear example of the masses vs. the few with money and control and we watched the party touted as “the defenders of the people” (someone had to do it), also known as the Democrats essentially being called out for bluffing in a poker match, the stakes worth 172 million dollars in political ad time. This first example was for the failed recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker which allowed the few with money to fund the endeavor to narrowly squeak out a victory. Counting on droves of misinformed voters highly affected by the wave of recent ads. So what are Democratic officials to do when they can literally be outspent 10 to 1 by a single individual?
Unless Citizens United is repealed, it seems the only thing that the Dem’s can do this Nov. is to hand out D.V.R.s to the whole of America …and Hope they’re put to good use, or at least Change the channel. Seems like yet another wound inflicted by Republicans upon the hope and change model brought forth in 2008. And so I post to powerfist.us in hopes that you might look, listen, or learn something that might help you make the most accurate decision to your own beliefs, so when you step into that voting booth you can pull the trigger with a clear conscious. In these upcoming days I encourage you to find out, for yourself exactly what it is that you believe. If you don’t wish to see our country through the midst of another Gilded Era then do your part and call your local congressional representative and let them know how you feel. Use my links and information featured on this website to help expand sources on our sight and then arm yourself with news happenings, and others thoughts and opinions of what’s going on in the world today. Live long and prosper, and remember worry not citizen eventually “logic will prevail”.