The time has come for Illinois to formally support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2008 Citizens United decision. The Citizens United decision allows for unlimited, anonymous corporate money to influence elections. There are currently 11 states that have called for such an amendment.
The logic behind the Supreme Court’s decision is that money is equivalent to free speech, and that any limit on campaign donations is a limit on free speech, and therefore a violation of the First Amendment. Because corporations have the same rights as human beings, they get to donate unlimited amounts of money.
I understand this line of thinking, but I recognize that it fundamentally changes the electoral process from the system the Founding Fathers had in mind. The ability to vote bad politicians out of office is the central right we have as Americans to maintain the health of our nation.
When the money of corporations drowns out the voice of the average American, we no longer have the ability to maintain the health of our nation. We end up with a country run by politicians who are slaves to the corporations who alone have enough money to finance today’s election campaigns. Further, corporations use television ads that intentionally misinform the general populace to get individuals to vote against their own self-interest.
The Citizens United decision has given the loudest voice in our democracy to corporations, which are immortal, cannot be punished like a person, have no morality, and no purpose other than profit-making. If you have any problem with the government, the Citizens United decision is at the root of that problem. The hijacking of the electoral process by powerful corporations must be reversed before any other problems can be meaningfully addressed.