Friday, April 18, 2014

Political Cynicism and Resignation: the Other Enemy from Citizens United

How are things different now in the Post-Citizens United world as far as how our government responds in contrast to the time of the first Earth Day? More and more people will be discouraged from participating in a rigged democracy, from informing themselves on politics and from showing up on election day as a result. 

Here is the prophetic dissent of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to the Citizens United Ruling. He predicted that the 5-4 ruling would lead to fewer and fewer people even making the effort to vote. Here are his words from the bench:
"When citizens turn on their televisions and radios before an election and hear only corporate electioneering, they may lose faith in their capacity, as citizens, to influence public policy. A Government captured by corporate interests, they may come to believe, will be neither responsive to their needs nor willing to give their views a fair hearing. The predictable result is cynicism and disenchantment: an increased perception that large spenders call the tune and a reduced willingness of voters to take part in democratic governance."
In a testament to public alienation, eighty-five percent of those polled in a study believe that members of Congress are more interested in serving special interests than the people they represent.

A politically disengaged populace makes it easier for the government to be captured by these predatory corporate vultures where no one else outside of their interests gets to have a fair say.

A captured, unresponsive, gridlocked government is a breeding ground for further cynicism and disenchantment among citizens, voters and their participation. 

Justice Stevens added that unlimited corporate donations gives a power tool that the plutocrats could also scare elected politicians to keep in line with the sheep herd. 
"To the extent that corporations are allowed to exert undue influence in electoral races, the speech of the eventual winners of those races may also be chilled. Politicians who fear that a certain corporation can make or break their reelection chances may be cowed into silence about that corporation."

Most people still technically get a vote and the plutocrat's favored candidate is not guaranteed a win. However big money has an outsized say in the agenda should be even if the plutocrats favored candidate does not win.

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