The following is posted from an article written by Al Klappenberger, founding member of the Coalition of Eastern Shore Progressives:
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, in the outrageous decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporations are “people” and spending unlimited amounts of their money on influencing legislation is “free speech”. A good example of how this sort of free speech has corrupted our democracy is how it shaped the recent debate over health care reform.
Any good debate begins with the advocates of every point of view, presenting them in an open and fair forum. The moderator of such a form must have no agenda, other than a commitment to seek the truth and best outcome. The US Senator chosen to moderate the health care reform hearings was Senator Max Baucus (D-MT).
Consider any public debate where radical positions may be presented. If a position is so outrageous that it can easily be discredited, there would be no objection to allowing those advocates to participate and make fools of themselves! What if, on the other hand, their position was so strong that its logic could easily make the position, advocated by a moderator with a personal agenda, look foolish? What would the moderator do? He could simply see to it that such a logical position would not be presented!
The advocates for single payer, Medicare for all, were excluded from Sen. Baucus’ hearing. They were actually removed from the hall, by force, when objecting to their exclusion. This confirms that their position was feared and could not be discredited! Every other industrialized nation in the world has moved to similar programs, and Sen. Baucus was aware of that fact!
We need to consider the underlying motives of the moderator. Sen. Baucus, like very other elected official in Washington, owes his seat to those who finance his re-election campaigns. According to http://www.OpenSecrets.org, Sen. Baucus received over $164,000 from Aetna Inc. and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, both health insurance companies. He received an additional $93,000 from New York Life Insurance Co. It should not be too hard to understand why he chose to exclude any point of view that would threaten the profits of his largest contributors; his “true” constituents, the insurance industry! The good of our country, and of the people who were deluded into thinking he would be THEIR representative, was of little importance to him.
It should be obvious to all of us that the “free speech”, represented by spending huge amounts of money by corporations, is killing our democracy. Until the “Citizens United” decision is overturned, there is no hope of turning representation of the corporation, back to representation of the people! The only way to do that, in a decisive and permanent way, is by the very difficult path of amending the US Constitution, declaring corporations to be NON-persons, having no right of free speech, once and for all time!
A movement has begun to do this. I urge every person, concerned about our democracy, to sign on to the petition and support “free speech” for humans, not corporations: Visit http://movetoamend.org/ and http://www.getmoneyout.com/ and sign on!