Supreme Court ruling gives rich more say
April 9, 2014 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated April 8, 2014 at 11:09 p.m.
Editor, the Advocate:
The Supreme Court dealt another blow April 2 to campaign finance reform by declaring money equals free speech.
Free speech is probably the most important of the freedoms guaranteed Americans in the Constitution, and all Americans should have the right to equal free speech. However, not all Americans have equal amounts of money. The court struck down the $123,000 limit an individual can give to candidates in a campaign cycle but let stand the $5,200 limit on the amount an individual can give to any candidate during that time period. So now people can give up to $5,200 to as many candidates as they like - and thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, corporations are people, too.
I don't begrudge wealthy people the right to buy mansions and yachts, but I do begrudge them the right to buy politicians. I can only afford a $50 donation to the candidates of my choice while corporations and millionaires can give as much money as they like, spreading it out in $5,200 clumps. My small donation is a whisper being drowned out by the noise of the big bucks being spent by millionaires.
It would take 104 people donating $50 to equal one rich person donating $5,200. As I sit down with my checkbook to write out my $50 donation, I think of the millionaire writing out his or her check for $5,000, and I think, "Why even bother?"
Until real campaign finance reform begins to take place and the playing field is leveled so free speech doesn't equal money, the only way to counteract the impact of big-spender donors is for thousands of us who aren't millionaires - even those making only minimum wage - to continue to make our small donations to candidates who support our viewpoints and our best interests.
Until then, our country will continue to be less of a democracy and more of a "money"-ocracy. In the land of equality for all, it shouldn't come down to your bank account because the realm of politics should be about real equality for all.
Nancy Bluntzer, Goliad