This question is in response to the Supreme court verdict which removed any limits on corporate political ads. Beyond the absurdity of considering a corporation to have the same rights to free speech as individuals, my new question has to do with my rights. You may feel at this point that I need to let this go, but bear with me and I will explain.
Free speech has two sides. One side, the obvious one, is that we all have the right to say what we believe. The other side, the hidden one, is that we have the right to NOT say what we don't believe. Huh? Here's an example.
Okay, say for example that Massey Energy, the large coal mining firm, decides to spend two million dollars on a political campaign ad for the guy they think should be Governor of West Virginia. Question, where did the money for the ad come from? Well, it came from suckers like you and me. You see, the coal from Massey's mines is sold to Dominion virginia Power, which is the corporation that supplies electricity to my home. So, I paid for the ad. But unfortunately, I completely disagree with Massey Energy's pick for West Virginia Governor. Do I have any say over how my money is spent? Not really. I could boycot Dominion Virginia Power, but the thing of it is, Dominion is a public utillity, so it has a monopoly. If I want electricity, I have to buy it from Dominion or buy a generator.
My problem with the Supreme Court decision is, I feel left out. I don't own a corporation, and the little bit of stock I stil own does not ad up to enough to influence the Boards of any of the three coroporations. Besides, Boards and CEOs always know how to stack the deck when it comes to the stockholders meetings. Why do suppose Bank of American and AIG still hand out the big bucks to their incompetent VPs? The stockholders have a whisper, and the Board has a shout. That's how it works.
The five Justices who carried the majority in this ruling apparently feel that suckers like me have recourse to redress on this thing. Stockholder? Just lead a stockholder revolt, as if you have ever heard one of those succeed. Yeah, right. Consumer? Just lead a boycott of whatever company you dislike when you see them buying ad time on TV. Hey, I already explained the incredible difficulties involved in that process for an ignorant and apathetic USA public.
The more I think on this, the worse I feel. It does not help that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife is now starting up a political action entity that she calls "Liberty Central". She is ironically well positioned to benefit from her husband's recent ruling on coporate speech. Hmm, conflict of interest? I am feeling a little bitter at this point. How are you feeling?