BY DEANDRE MCDAY
Remember Thomas Jefferson’s saying, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights?”
Adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776, the Declaration of Independence is heralded as one of the greatest works birthed from the Revolutionary period of American history. But, was Jefferson telling the truth when he meant that all men were created equal? What constituted being a man?
Although Jefferson owned slaves right up to the day that he died, I’d like to believe his words came from an honest place. Considering the thirteen colonies’ quarrel with Great Britain at the time, I’m led to believe that he was sincerely trying to pursue true freedom for American citizens by ending Britain’s oppressive reign over them.
But, as I said, Jefferson and his colleagues believed in slavery to some extent, and seeing that their descendants (of office) later passed laws that stated Africans and African-Americas weren’t fully human, I remain compelled to ask what being a man truly means.
For the sake of time and space, let’s assume a man is a human being—singular— of either sex (i.e. mankind.) In America, there are 310 million men, each of them, independent of economic resources, have equal voting power.
All’s fair, right? Wrong.
What happens when a group of people, wielding a substantial amount of money, comes together and decides to sacrifice their individual identities for a single, collective one? Are they considered one? Should these individuals share the same name?
In all fairness, they’re only half-right. The 310 million people living within the United States would be nothing more than random individuals without the shared identity of being American. But, when multiple groups of people of a particular caliber (rich/wealthy) start to appear over and over across this horizontal axis, they naturally begin to centralize power and affluence.
Now fast forward to 2012. Think of the ongoing election process. What does it take to fund a presidential campaign? You guessed it. Immense amounts of power and affluence.
Banners, stickers, buttons, plane tickets, hotel stays, TV advertisements, payroll: all of these things and more can ring up a pretty hefty bill. Who in the world is going to foot it?
Forgive my vulgarity, but it sure as hell ain’t the proletariat.
In order to understand the scheme of things better, let’s minimize the problem. Imagine a classroom of 30 elementary school students voting on whether or not their class color should be green or blue. Two students decide to step up and persuade the general audience of why one color should be chosen over the other.
20 students decide to fund student A’s campaign, 8 students fund student B’s campaign. Finals come around, and student A wields an elaborate display board for the color green while student B upholds a shoddy poster board for blue.
Now we have a problem of perception. Regardless of either of the student’s messages, the general audience is swooned by the intensity (not the integrity) of Student A’s campaign. So now the school color is green. Is that fair?
Not too long ago, it wasn’t. At one time, there existed limits as to how much you could give a candidate running for office because voters, for the most part, are going to vote for the person with the most intense campaign strategy—it’s how we remember them when we go to the polls. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 CEO or a modest farmer from the Midwest, ideally, you are to be judged by merit and shouldn’t be given any type of edge over your competitor. But, with the controversial ruling seen in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court has destroyed the idea of a fair and just democracy and has left the entire election process in the hands of the bourgeois, opening the floodgates for unlimited political spending and the furthering of special interests.
When the ruling passed initially, my first thought was the Paramount Decision of 1948, when the Supreme Court decided to break up the big film business. Paramount controlled each level of film production in Hollywood, monopolizing the film industry completely.
In a more abstract sense, Paramount stood a gargantuan financial tower. The government was displeased at this ridiculously overt display of power, and ruled that it had to be dealt away with.
With the 7-1 decision, I imagined them telling Paramount’s corporate empire, “You can build mountains in America, sure. But we decide how big they are.”
Is that fair? Eh…that’s a discussion for another time. My point here is that this historical decision, supposedly made in noble angst, is now blatantly contradicted by whatever flawed moral code the “fascist five” are operating from.
All in all, energy is being manipulated by those in positions of power and authority, for the sake of what’s trending at the time. Currently, we are entrenched in a chaotic state of mudslinging, where the name of the game is “Who’s got the least amount of dirt?”
The Supreme Court’s decision furthers this trend, and serves as a perfect example of their lack of respect for democracy in its purest form.
Four constitutional amendments were submitted to Congress last year in an attempt to repeal the ruling. If you share this desire, please contact your local legislator and urge Congress to end this era of corporate personhood for good.