Sunday, May 02, 2010

Plutocrats v Us

You would think that, in a democracy that equates gargantuan wealth with free speech (see Citizens United v. FEC), the plutocrats who buy amounts of free speech you and I cannot even dream of would not try to hide their identity but would proudly associate their identity with the causes they support. Not so, reports Think Progress.

These gutless children of Mammon want to protect their right to buy the outcomes of democracy while at the same time preserving their anonimity, alleging that a "chilling effect on the First Amendment" would ensue were they forced by law to disclose their identity when pouring disgusting amounts of money into the political process. Last I checked, the First Amendment protects people's right to speak freely from govermental interference, but it does not come with an attached clause granting the speaker anonimity.

If these disgusting plutocrats want to defend their plutonomy with the wealth they have (often obscenely) accumulated, they should at least have the guts to show their faces in public.

Why, just this week Justice Scalia, one of my least favorite Supreme Court Justices in history, said that "democracy's not for babies", in Doe v. Reed, adding that "for the first century of our existence, even voting was public -- you either did it raising your hand or by voice, or later, you had a ballot that was very visibly red or blue so that people knew which party you were voting for" and that "running a democracy takes a certain amount of civic courage. And the First Amendment does not protect you from criticism or even nasty phone calls when you exercise your political rights to legislate, or to take part in the legislative process."

So, it would seem, the First Amendement would not provide plutocrats the right to be shielded from public scrutiny or even denunciation. Even according to Justice Scalia.

This is just the type of issue that you would expect all Americans, including tea-partiers and libertartians, Republicans and Democrats, should take an active interest in. Everyone should write Congress to support the DISCLOSE Act of 2010, to increase the level of transparency of an increasingly muddy democratic process.

Start getting involved, contact your local, state, and federal representatives, and make visits to The Sunlight Foundation and Open Secrets a civic routine in your weekly meanderings on the web.

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