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There’s a popular adage about how providing food to a hungry man only leads to his dependence, that by teaching him to fish he will be able to feed himself; in other words, become independent. The one thing lacking in this scenario is that the man must have access to the water.
The question of whether or not the State Assembly should support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding campaign finance will be on the Nov. 6 ballot. The issue is whether or not money, according to the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, is a form of speech and, if so, whether “it” is entitled to First Amendment privileges in the political process. This has become an emotional issue for many people in that it raises questions concerning human dignity, individual rights and exactly what is equality as well as who or what are “persons.”
Money and power have intermarried for centuries both biologically and politically, spawning in both cases weakness and corruption instead of strength and honest leadership, pressing for status quo rather than progress. Close to home, Latin America is a perfect example where a few “established” families have controlled the wealth and the means to wealth for generations with the others left to fend on scraps from their tables and an occasional little treat. This so-called philanthropy, Reinhold Niebuhr wrote in 1932, “combines pity with the display of power and that latter element explains why the powerful are more inclined to be generous than to grant social justice.”
For me, this is what Citizens United is all about: Should the money of the powerful rich be allowed to squelch the voices and override the needs of people of lesser means, in effect to ultimately deny them free access to the water.