11 September 2012

Everyone contributes

Someone at People For the American Way knows how to get attention for their begging letters. The latest one reached me with this message on the envelope: "Thank you for your contribution to Mitt Romney."  Those on the mailing list -- the people perhaps least likely to contribute to Romney's campaign -- would only learn the friendly source of the message if they turned the envelope around before trashing it. Perhaps intrigued now, the recipient will read that, despite his denials "you have contributed to Mitt Romney ... unknowingly." The writer goes on to explain that corporate donations to candidates ultimately come from us, the consumers.

And where does their money come from? It comes from the profits generated by the purchases of consumers like you and me. Virtually every time you pay your bills or purchase gas, food, cleaning supplies, or any of the items we need every day, some of that money is now being spent to influence elections.

By the same logic, of course, you've probably already donated to President Obama's re-election campaign as well, contrary to the impression PFAW creates by omission. To be fair, however, the fact that corporations donate to Democrats as well as Republicans doesn't really change the point of the organization's message, which is that corporations -- and PFAW specifically means business corporations -- have too much influence over elections. Bowing to the constitutional reasoning of the Citizens United ruling, PFAW now sees a constitutional amendment as the only way to overturn that precedent. They'd like you to knowingly contribute to this effort by sending them membership contributions of $15 or more. But it's hard to know exactly what you're contributing to, since the begging letter doesn't include the language of the proposed amendment. We can only assume that the amendment will somehow deny business corporations the right to have contributions made in their name while somehow -- this is just a hunch -- reconfirming that right for labor unions and similar entities whose corporate rights were also affirmed by Citizens United. The language would have to be quite carefully composed, and it's possible that PFAW doesn't even have a draft yet. Maybe they don't think drafting an amendment is their business, but they want us to donate to them, so they can wage a petition campaign, rather than the people who might actually draft the amendment and get it ratified.

And just to be a devil's advocate, where does my money come from? It comes from the paychecks dispensed by the unwitting corporation that every two weeks gives me the metaphorical rope to hang it with. So it's all just a great circle of life or, if you prefer, a vicious cycle that won't be broken until we see a day when nobody has to ask anyone else for money in order to play their rightful role in public life.

1 comment:

Proletkult said...

Since she admitted to voting illegally in two states, she should, at the very least, be barred from ever holding public office again. Furthermore, her party should take whatever steps necessary to remove her from the party. Any defense of her is a defense of voter fraud.