Pledging allegiance to big money

 

The unique notion passed to us by the Supreme Court that, in the political arena, "money is speech" seems to me to be at odds with the fundamental concepts of a democratic society.

Why should the voice of a rich man carry more weight, and be of more influence, in the choice of our leaders and lawmakers than that of any other?

In the past, this voice may not have had an overwhelming effect on election results, but now that candidates for public office must raise countless millions to be competitive, money is close to becoming the sole arbiter of political contests.

In turn, elected officials, to protect the needed cash flow, are obliged to learn and do the bidding of their major contributors to seek office and maintain it -- all this facilitated by the army of lobbyists quartered in our Capitol.

The success or failure of a candidate is increasingly determined by their fund-raising ability rather than by the worthiness of their candidacy.

The recent Supreme Court decision on corporate political contributions makes a bad situation even worse. I cite the caption of a cartoon in The Christian Science Monitor (Vol. 102, Issue 11, Page 33) in which a group of schoolchildren reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before an American flag are saying, "... and to the corporations for which it stands ... ."

Alas, the hands of Congress, which could remedy the situation, are bound by the Supreme Court, for almost any legislation limiting campaign contributions is now unconstitutional.

Perhaps it's time to ponder the possibility of a constitutional amendment that would, as they say, level the playing field.

James Hudson

Augusta

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