A serious threat to Democracy | Letter
January 23, 2013 · Updated 3:58 PM
On Feb. 5 the Kirkland City Council will continue their consideration of a petition signed by more than 350 Kirkland residents asking that they pass a local resolution declaring their support for a Constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s infamous “Citizens United” ruling that, in essence, results in treating corporations as persons and equates money with free speech.
Democracy is consequently being sold to the highest bidder. Normal citizens with limited incomes and strict restrictions on their campaign donations have no chance of effectively competing with the enormous amounts of money that large corporations have been able to contribute to election campaigns.
Public disclosure of donations would be helpful, but cannot possibly create a level playing field allowing free speech of an individual to compete with the expensive media ads created by corporations. It will not stop corporations and PACs from creating smear campaigns or ads that are untrue or intentionally deceptive.
Lobbyists promote legislation that has so many loopholes and such obscure language that regulation enforcement is virtually impossible, and funding is woefully lacking to enforce the rules.
Individuals can’t pay for lobbyists, and when corporations invest their assets to influence political outcomes favorable to the corporations, stockholders are seldom allowed to vote on these huge donations. He who has the gold rules, a sad day in America and a serious threat to democracy.
Corporations do not have the responsibilities of citizenship, cannot be prosecuted, jailed or executed in the same way as natural born persons, and live far beyond the lifespan of natural born persons.
Corporations should not be granted the same rights as human citizens. The word corporation does not occur in the Constitution. Unelected, unaccountable judges chose to give corporations their rights.
The 14th Amendment says that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States …” (Read the whole amendment at wikipedia.org) Corporations are NOT born or naturalized in the way that real human beings are. Corporations are merely legal entities.
The way that corporations are structured separates humans from their actions. This destroys responsibility and hijacks decision-making. Corporations are required by law to make money at any cost, making them dangerous to people and to democracy.
Corporations have no mind, no conscience, and exist to amass money. Human beings think and make choices based on ethical considerations that protect family and community. Corporations should NOT be considered to be “persons” or given an equal voice in a democracy.
Free speech comes out of the mouths of living, breathing persons. To pretend that using vast sums of money to promote a corporation’s vested interest is equal to free speech of a human citizen in a democracy is ludicrous.
I urge Kirkland residents to call or email City Council members no later than Jan. 30 to encourage them to join with more than 300 municipalities in the U.S. who have already passed local resolutions declaring that corporations are NOT persons and money is NOT free speech.
Email email@example.com or call 425-587-3001.
This local resolution could go to Olympia, and our Legislature can ensure that Washington state can be the 12th state to send a resolution to the U.S. Congress to amend the Constitution to protect our democratic processes. “One man, one vote” should not be usurped by “many dollars, many votes.”
Suzanne Grogan, Kirkland