McCutcheon Decision defines corruption

Opinion: Columns

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By Terry Grace

Another nail in the coffin of our democracy! The McCutcheon v. FEC case was handed down by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, April 2. "The Corrupt 5" of the Supreme Court did their dirty business again, further blowing up any vestige of reasonable campaign finance regulation in our politics. 

One of the more memorable arguments in the McCutcheon case came from Antonin Scalia, who stated that $3.5 million really isn't that significant. Of course, that's $3.5 million directly into politicians' campaign coffers, not even a SuperPac! That's just from one Super-Rich person working to control our government. It totally ignores that another 600+ (based on the 2012 election) will be doing the same thing, which comes out to around $2 billion of "free speech" filling the campaign coffers of politicians. 

And of course, in addition to the McCutcheon $$$$, they can still pour unlimited additional Citizens United $$$$ into SuperPacs and 501c4 operations (much of it undisclosed). Free speech for the Super-Rich! 

The Supremes' majority decision was filled with ludicrous rationalizations throughout the decision. There was nothing rational about the so-called legalese of "the 5s." 

Have they no shame? This Supreme Court took another giant leap toward oligarchy! The idea of equality or fairness on any level has been thrown in the trash by this court. The Super-Rich can now influence as many politicians and political campaigns as they wish — no limit. The Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, and others may now contribute to every political campaign in the country without hesitation. Of course, there won't be a taint, or even a hint, of political quid pro quo corruption. Do you know why? Because the five justices on this Supreme Court told us so. Well now, does everybody feel more comforted? 

How many of you will be contributing the maximum amount to all the politicians you like all across the country? I can't, can you? Where is our voice within the hallowed walls of Congress? How can the voices of the middle class be heard over the megaphone of the billions from the Super-Rich? How can the voices of the less fortunate be heard at all? The Supreme Court reasserted that a level playing field is unconstitutional. Any level of fairness is out when it comes to campaign contributions. 

The only remaining political power we still have is voting and the right to organize. Our only power is in numbers and in the vote. Many of the Super-Rich work to create a discouraged and/or cynical populace who won't vote or get involved in politics. With their massive media campaigns, they don't try to convince you of a position or politician to support. They don't want a big turnout because they can't win if there is a big turnout! They have to work to suppress the vote. 

So they just sling mud and hope you paint all politicians with the same brush. But that is not a fair assumption. There are politicians who actually care about the middle and working classes and the less fortunate, but those Super-Rich want you to believe that all politicians are the same. 

Unfortunately, during this era of Citizens United and now McCutcheon $$$$$, adhering to those principles has become extremely difficult. Those politicians who do care about our whole country are up against a wall of $$$$. To respond to this dilemma, we need a more well-informed electorate that hasn't withdrawn from the voting process.

We need to get organized, develop a groundswell of protest, and create a more informed electorate that can't be controlled by the Super-Rich or their minions. Enough of avoiding politics in conversation! That polite suppression of political discussion facilitates the ignorance upon which the power-brokers depend to work their deals, repress our votes, take our money, and pollute our air and water. They cannot have their way without the ignorance of the broader public. 

I'm not advocating hostile arguing. That is not the way. We need to have respectful discussion where people can hear and be heard about what is going on in our country. 

Uninformed people can be manipulated and swayed to support positions based on misinformation or lies that are against their own interests, and even their own beliefs. When people are informed about issues, they tend to support positions that help our whole country — not just the few. 

Take action, get well-informed, get involved, check out the organizations that are doing something that will represent your concerns, and most of all, vote! 

Terry Grace, an Oak Park resident, is coordinator of NWSC Move To Amend.

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