To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Unraveling Democracy



The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision tells us, in no un-certain terms, “If you are not a major player in this upper echelon game now being developed in the ivory towers of corporate America, your rights, freedoms and understanding of the American way are also at risk to the whims of candidates now about to be attached to the strings of the corporate puppeteers. Make no mistake. The candidates who will emerge from this decision will not  be part of any populist movement like the one that President Obama conducted. Those quaint little activities will be overwhelmed by corporate sponsored initiatives funded by virtually unlimited resources.”

E.J. Dionne, an astute political columnist for the Washington Post, wrote on Feb. 5, 2012, a column titled “The Citizens United Catastrophe.”

“We have seen the world created by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and it doesn’t work. Oh, yes, it works nicely for the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country, especially if they want to shroud their efforts to influence politics behind shell corporations. It just doesn’t happen to work if you think we are a democracy and not a plutocracy. The Citizens United justices were not required to think through the practical consequences of sweeping aside decades of work by legislators, going back to the passage of the landmark Tillman Act in 1907, who sought to prevent untoward influence-peddling and indirect bribery. “

Dionne adds, “Justice Anthony Kennedy’s words in his majority opinion: ‘The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.’ How did he know that? Did he consult the electorate? Did he think this would be true just because he said it?

Justice John Paul Stevens’ observation in his dissent reads far better than Kennedy’s in light of subsequent events. ‘A democracy cannot function effectively,’ he wrote, ‘when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.’”

Clearly, this product of judicial activism is currently reaping the whirlwind of corporations as people and money as speech. Mr. Dionne and I both agree that this was their intent all along.

Remember, Justice Scalia helped found the Federalist Society and recruited Justices Alito and Roberts. This is an extremely conservative, agenda driven group that thinks the few should govern the masses.

When the Constitution was drafted and finalized, the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, lost the debate to the Jeffersonians and from that emerged the Bill of Rights. Why else would the Texas State School Board eliminate the story of our third president? It’s about noblesse oblige and slanting the history education for our children.

Add to this the Lewis Powell memo from 1971 where he demanded of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that corporate/banking America join forces to do whatever it takes to influence Congress and the courts in overturning all of the New Deal laws as well as set up a ruling plutocracy that gave the moguls the legal right to do whatever they wanted to do.

This is real history, not an opinion. The results of this “organization” gave us “K” Street – people like Jack Abramoff who made influence peddling an art form. It gave us the revolving door for politicians becoming lobbyists. And now it has given us overt corporate influence on who will represent We the people

These events have combined to greatly damage the fabric of our nation. Combined, they are unraveling our democracy as our citizens sit idly by and watch it happen. The ridicule heaped on the occupy movements by the right-wingers indicates they are afraid something will change their goal to have plutocracy instead of democracy. They want to stop it before it’s too late and the people actually rise up and take back their country from those who would steal it from them and sell it to the highest bidder.

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Vern Turner
Vern Turner
Denver resident Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Why Angels Weep: America and Donald Trump, is available through Amazon.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.