To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, October 18, 2021

Observercast

Free Speech For Sale

on

BY SHARON MARTIN

Sharon MartinFive Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court profess to believe that money is free speech. OK. I have twenty bucks to donate to my favorite candidate. He Who Shall Not Be Named has a few hundred million. There’s a good chance he has a whole lot more free speech than I do.

Welcome to the oligarchy, folks.

How much money you have determines just how much free speech you can afford. It determines how much justice you can buy. Anyone want to try to argue that this is what the rebels had in mind for this country?

The American Revolution wasn’t sexy and it wasn’t fun. Some patriots died. Some lost everything. Soldiers quartered in family’s homes, killed their sons, and took the lion’s share of their food. Rebels fought back so we could live free of tyranny.

Control by corporations and billionaires is tyranny.

According to GDP, unemployment figures, trade balance, and the Dow-Jones, the economy of the United States is doing well. Try to tell that to the folks in the twenty-dollars-worth-of-free-speech category. Tell it to laborers trying to get by.

Can you cover a mortgage, utilities, and food on a couple thousand a month? Sure you can. Is anything left over for a car to get to work? Health insurance in a red state that refuses to expand Medicaid? Child care? Free speech?

The idea of a democracy is that all people are represented. We aren’t. My representatives have been bought with all that free speech money.

When Tom Coburn ran for the Senate, he told us how it would be during a debate against Democrat Brad Carson. A woman in the audience in Stillwater asked, “If your opinion on an issue conflicts with what the majority of your constituents want, how will you vote on the issue?”

“I’ll follow the will of my constituents,” Mr. Carson said.

“I’ll do the right thing,” Dr. Coburn said.

We elected the guy with the glib answer.

Who gets to decide what is the right thing? Is it the senator? The 360 corporations and organizations who speak with their millions to make the Open Secrets Heavy Hitters list? The 42 individuals who each gave more than a million dollars to secretive Super PACs?

As in the dark ages, mere workers are expendable. Only the nobles – corporations and wealthy donors – matter. This is the issue of our time, the issue on which all other issues hinge. What are we going to do about it?

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.