Speech Has Spoken

17 Nov

The 2014 general election is behind us and Speech has Spoken! 90% of all winning candidates spent more money than their opponents did. That’s a 9 in 10 chance of winning your elective office…if you spend the most money. And that’s after only 4 years of living with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision which declared money to be the equivalent of free speech. Who knows what the percentages will look like in a few more years…when money talks…it pretty much gets what it wants.

I wonder what those Supremes were thinking? In their majority decision they stated that there was no reason to believe or assume that those who donate large sums of money to political candidates would do so in order to obtain political influence. So they were either being stupid, naive or disingenuous. After all, Who doesn’t know that money buys things? That’s what money does doesn’t it? And when it speaks it says…”How much?” and that’s about all it says.

So now here we are, America in the 21st century, with a Representative Democracy that is 90% representative of free talking monied interests and 10% representative of the rest of us, who, when we all put our own money together can barely manage to speak above a discordant whisper.

I think it’s sad that our political representatives can now be bought and sold on the open market …The Koch brothers just bought 5 more political “friends” this election cycle and I really have no idea how many “friends” they already own (excuse me: foster, champion, cultivate, nurture, feed) but I know it’s a lot plus they have 2 Supremes in their caring and supportive pockets…but what’s even sadder than that is the kind of representatives that we all end up with.

Our hallowed halls of government are now stocked with the kinds of folks who will do, say and believe whatever they are told to do, say and believe or whatever they think that their benefactors would be happiest with them doing and saying and believing…and all for money. And that makes them all opportunists, toadies, bounders, mercenaries, charlatans, speculators, fortune hunters,rascals, bullies, hypocrites, frauds, scoundrels and liars…or some combination thereof…doesn’t it?

We all work for money but when we work against our interests and the interest of others, or don’t even consider either, for money then who or what are we? Certainly not leaders nor legislators nor governors. What’s the point in following someone who is “in it” just for the money unless you’re getting a piece of the action too? And what piece of the action do Americans get if it’s not also attached to a corporate interest?

Is it any wonder that this current version of Congress will go down as the greatest “Do Nothing” Congress of all time…and the one with the lowest citizen approval rating of all time too! If you stand for nothing, and represent no one except yourself, then you might as well do nothing also…while you wait around for your greedy handlers to give you some instructions. So what’s to do except call each other names, block each others bills (they literally phone in their filibusters!) and form committees to investigate each others “scandalous actions” (what other kind of Congressional action is there?)

If money is speech then it has definitely spoken… and it has declared Democracy…dead!

5 Responses to “Speech Has Spoken”

  1. RAB November 18, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    Right you are. And it was vividly brought home every time I checked my email: again and again and again, “The Koch Brothers just contributed another $40,000 to support Candidate Red. Can you chip in just $5 to help us keep our ads in the public eye?” It was a money race, and a lot of little donors doing their best simply couldn’t keep up with the two Big Boys dumping their slush fund into campaign after campaign after campaign….buying the election. Now, if citizens were a little more canny, they’d say “Flooding the airwaves with slick lying ads doesn’t deceive me; I’m voting against Candidate Red because he has prevented sixteen jobs bills from even reaching the floor of the House for debate.” But they don’t; they say “D’oh, LOOK. Obama wants to give Illegals the vote! And he’s bringing his fellow Africans over here to give white people Ebola! I’d better Vote Republican!” And a lot of the people who DO see through it evidently said “A plague on this. It’s a lost cause. I’m staying home.” We have been literally sold down the river.

  2. A Voice November 18, 2014 at 5:02 am #

    Truth be told, this has inarguably been the case where critical thinking wasn’t valued within a culture. Some cultures are much more open about it than others and this, of course, changes in accordance within the social climate. We’ve arguably reached a new level when it comes to naked corruption in human history.

    And, especially as Millenial, I cannot help but say this is the most representative example of the legacy left by the Baby Boom generation. There is no doubt that a number of people involved in this activity are part of the generation that came before, however that behaviour isn’t a general representation of the whole while this behaviour is a general representation of the whole when it comes to the Baby Boom generation.

    This song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT8bhhDCPQc) is perhaps the song that best describes my generation, why it exists as such, and why it is likely to be a long time before things get better for the people in this country on the whole. The United States has had all sorts of problems and can, in some real way, be said to be culturally bankrupt: the Baby Boom generation, on the whole, is why. It’s an uncomfortable and, I think, rarely spoken or considered truth.

    • RAB November 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

      It’s a rarely spoken truth because it isn’t true. The “Baby Boom generation” may include a lot of corrupt or complacent people (what generation doesn’t?), but it also includes the critical mass of the Civil Rights Movement (led by the generation before but swelled to a tidal wave by us), the anti-war and anti-nuclear movement (US), the critical mass of the environmental movement, the critical mass of the women’s liberation movement, and the relevancy-in-higher-ed movement. Some of those people may have shifted allegiance to conservative politics once they became professionally established, but none of them became stupid or ceased to think critically (and critical thinking DOES include considering exceptions to sweeping generalizations). You should also consider that “legacies” are generally left by the dead, and most of us are still alive and kicking (BB began in 1946). We came of age with a gunshot–the assassination of President Kennedy–and arguably our activism in the streets ended with four gunshots–when the National Guard killed four student nonviolent protestors at Kent State University. But for most of us who WERE active in those very important, society-changing movements (which continued beyond street protests and which made American society much better for YOU as well as for us), our activism continued in different forms. I’ll try not to tar your generation (I am a college professor and have known you in your youth) with a broad brush if you will apply some critical thinking skills to your tarring.
      When I use a broad brush I use it against the M.B.A., a degree that encourages people to believe that management is not about people, acquired knowledge and understanding, and specific fields of work but about techniques, approaches, strategies, all of which serve the “bottom line,” and suggests that one set of techniques etc. can apply to all management. If THAT doesn’t invite cynicism and corruption, I don’t know what does….other than willful stupidity and bigotry, two products of abject fear–and abject fear has been encouraged in all classes and generations and has worked with the most gullible, the unthinking, the superstitious, the fearful of change.
      You’re right about the death of critical thinking. But as someone who has been working all her life to instill and encourage critical thinking, I can tell you my generation hasn’t been the most needy in that area.
      Best wishes to all.

      • A Voice November 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

        Fuck me, but some paragraphs would have made reading a bit easier!

        You make very fair points and, to be clear, I wouldn’t ever attempt to say that my generation is exemplary in any real way. I’d contend that, in respect to social movement, it wasn’t so much the movements themselves but the sad fact of blood spilt in combination with the force of those movements that actually saw change. (This is why we see no meaningful gun reform, viz. there isn’t enough force behind the movement to counter…and in combination with blood spilt needlessly.) It’s not, sadly, about the intellectual weight of right ideas.

        Much like the generalisations that fit my generation do not apply to many within it, the generalisation fits because…well, it fits. When it comes down to brass tacks there’s a great deal the various generations owe the ones that came before, however the Baby Boom generation has put forward a particular sort of pleonexia that carries a remarkable ‘ick factor’ and has done significant damage. But with that said, again, you make many fair points.

        And when it comes to the whole MBA thing…if more that 100% was possible I’d be behind you just that much.

  3. Prodigal Daughter November 18, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    “So they were either being stupid, naive or disingenuous.”-all of the above.

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