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Goodbye, Democracy

This country was built on the premise of upholding the dignity, the rights and the participation of the people in the laws and policies that govern us—and to stand against the tyranny that would threaten to take our voice. We called it democracy. For it was written—“of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Up until last month, “the people” was you and me—the living, breathing, bleeding heart and soul of democracy. We collectively elect representatives to make policies and laws that reflect the will of the people; this, God help us, is Congress.

With that in mind, how could any redblooded American not be outraged at what has happened to our democracy? Policies and laws are made and struck down by politicians that are bought and paid for by lobbyists with a corporate agenda. Until last month, corporate influence in our election process was limited through campaign contribution regulation. Last month’s Supreme Court ruling has lifted those limitations insofar as their ability to finance campaign ads because they ruled that the multibillion-dollar corporations have the same rights as you and me—the rights of “personhood.” For every $100 I want to contribute to elect my candidate of choice, big business has $100,000. Is this not the tyranny that takes away our voice? On that premise alone, the people should be outraged.

It comes down to a conflict in ideology and whether or not you believe that big globally owned corporations have your best interest in mind when they influence legislation. An obvious example is the Wall Street bailout. It was the biggest bank heist in the history of the world, and “we the people” are left holding the bag while their CEOs collect big bonuses instead of creating jobs. They have socialized their losses so they could maintain privatization of the profits. It is diabolical at best.

Now extend this influence to our election process and you get a government that is no longer “of the people, by the people, for the people” but rather a government created by and for corporations. It is a gross misinterpretation of capitalism. Some might argue this ruling offers the same influence to American labor unions and other progressive organizations such as the ACLU, thus leveling the playing field. This argument is null and void with a $1000/$100,000 ratio. These organizations combined cannot compete with the financial resources of globally owned big business. China, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Japan, to name a few, will be able to influence our election process. Corporate-owned and -controlled mainstream media will lull you into a state of contented ignorance with fear, lies, and “clever” commercials, all the while pushing their agenda and keeping us divided with emotionally charged “wag the dog” issues. A nation divided against itself cannot stand…and that’s the whole idea.

Corinne Lanphear, Buffalo

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