Posts Tagged ‘Rights’

For the Corporations, By the Corporations

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

So it looks like Pinocchio is slowly but surely becoming a real boy. But unlike Pinocchio, corporations don’t have tell-tale signs of lying, and most definitely don’t have a conscience, in the form of a cricket or otherwise. Instead, corporations are a carefully crafted wooden parasite, carefully winding their way through American government, changing the internal workings ever so slightly, so the rest of the public body has no idea what’s happening. But like any plan, occasional parts are forward and obvious, and this little parasite has relied on the simple lack of care of the American people… and succeeded.

Seal of the Supreme Court of the United States

Image via Wikipedia

A few weeks ago, the American Supreme Court over turned an older ruling that limited the amount that corporations could spend on political campaigns. This decision was hailed as an advance for free speech by some, and the authorization for corporations to buy elections by others. Off the bat, the reasoning for the previous ruling was over-turned is garbage. In addition to legal jargon, part of the reason given (I believe by Alito) was that the previous decision was not unanimous, thus meriting a repeal until the decision can be reviewed. If that’s valid reason to review, why hasn’t Alito reviewed other landmark cases that redefined rights, such as Dread Scott v Sandford? Do non-whites really need rights? Perhaps Plessy v. Ferguson? Bah to the fourteenth amendment! The notion that all Supreme Court cases should be unanimous is ridiculous. It undermines the very idea of America being a democracy.

Regardless of this grave injustice, America continues as if nothing has happened. Even with the background chatter of action overturn what many if not most people agree was a bad call, on both sides of the political field, there has been no movement to do so. And the longer this ruling stays in place, the closer we get to an America run openly by corporations rather then the more subtly run government we have now, through lobbies.

An interesting point here is that many people on the right, where the majority of support for this decision comes from, feel that government control is intrusive but welcome corporate control. Even if not openly, I often find that people leaning right argue with government spending/programs/etc (at least those that don’t help them directly), but have no issue with stuff like cable company monopolies, ISP limit rates, food company take overs. These things are just the invisible hand of the market interfering with our lives, thus ok. But representatives we selected making those same decisions or instating those sort of controls, and suddenly the forefathers are turning in their graves. And sadly, those on the right get screwed by the market just as much as the rest of us, but can never seem to accept it, thus leading it to repeat.

But in the end, how can anyone justify corporations being people, and having the same rights as people? I think The Daily Kos said it best, with satire: Give Corporations More Rights! Giving corporations rights as people is just a convenient way to bypass making sensible laws. After all, if corporations are people, they are obviously second class citizens. If we’re making them people, why not given them other rights? Also, why aren’t other collections of people also people? I’m trying to come up with an example, but its all so foolish, I can’t even think of one worth putting down.

Simply put: corporations are not people. There’s no good reason why they should be treated as such. When people say corporations freedom of speech is restricted by laws like the one that prevented them from spending without limit on campaigns, but I have to ask, who’s rights are limited? The people within corporations can still freely spend money. Those investing in the company can still freely spend. But instead, by granting corporations the right to spend money freely, millions of dollars earned by dozens if not hundreds if not thousands of people will be spent by a small enclave, who will only help campaigns that make sure they maintain the power. People don’t invest in medical companies to help a pro-life politician get into office; they invest in a company to either make money or because they believe in what the company does. But if that politician’s economic policies help that company avoid regulations or simply help the board stay in power, why would the board not put funds towards the campaign? Why should a board of businessmen make political decisions with other people’s money? Why is it ok for a business to interfere with politics, but wrong for government to regulate business?

In the end, this is another step along the path to corporatocracy. It is a long series of problems, rooted in the ever-growing lack of care to know the facts but desire to criticize the results. It’d be an interesting day if people started to apply the values they hold dear to outside their household. And while we should continue to strive for the rights that keep us free, we shouldn’t be so eager to sell them to the highest bidder.

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Have we really changed?

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Obama 08 Logo

Obama '08 Logo

I think a lot of people will remember where they were at 11PM on November 4th, 2008. Whether you agree with his politics or not, it was a historic moment when Senator Barack Obama became the President Elect, 44th to hold the highest office in the United States. The first non-white man to become president, Obama hopefully represents a new age in race relations in America. It was a big step in unified equality in the US. Or was it?

As California’s results came in to secure Obama’s victory, the populous of the state also passed Proposition 8, banning gay marriage. So as non-whites (or perhaps only African Americans) took a step forward, gays took a step back. Gay couples still retain rights as a couple, so what does marriage matter? Now note, I’m not from the Sunshine State, so any “facts” are from conversation and research. To me the answer is simple: denying a couple marriage says they are not the same, puts them apart. It says gay people do not deserve the same things, or do not deserve the same choices the rest of us have. At one point, non-white, non-men could not vote, and over time, as Americans we stood up against this discrimination. At one point, an African American had to give up their seat on a bus to a white American, and as Americans, we stood up against this discrimination. Now gays are being denied the right to marry, and as Americans, we’re the ones denying them this right. How is it not discrimination?

King and King

King and King

It seems one of the biggest pushes was a campaign that didn’t want homosexual marriage taught in schools. I came across the site for Protect Marriage – Vote Yes on 8. I watched some of the videos on the site, and the only thought I had was, are you kidding me? Two parents were upset because their child read a book about a prince marrying another prince… and this is a problem why? Should a gay couple be up in arms every time a story is read in class about a prince marrying a princess? Kids don’t pull these fascinating conclusions out of simple fairy or folk tales that we adults do. The reason a story about a prince marrying a prince stands out so much to them is because its ingrained everywhere else in our world that marriage is between a man and a woman. The parents from Massachusetts said they thought the school would at least wait till the kids had been through sex ed. What in the world does gay marriage have to do with sex ed? Perhaps all discussion on straight marriage should be banned until kids go though sex ed. To say the two are connected is absolute bull.

A majority of objection to gay marriage comes from the religious crowd, who clamor that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. They say the sanctity of marriage needs to be protected. Where is the sanctity of marriage upheld in Vegas side-street chapels, with the ceremony behind conducted by an Elvis look-alike, with a drunken bride and groom? Where the sanctity of marriage being preserved with the divorce rate in America on the rise? Oh, right. Its protected as long as it follows their religious beliefs. Which are up to their interpretation, but never correctly analyzed by non-believers. I’ve done a bit of research, and I really think I need to read the Bible myself, because as far as I can tell, the evidence condemning homosexuality is circumstantial at least, up for interpretation at best. And yet that same book is very clear on other facts, like not judging others.

To me, this was a great move to show that while as a people we can accept non-Caucasians in America, or again maybe just African Americans, that’s pretty much the extent of our understanding (as an Indian, I still get discriminated against). We still think certain people don’t deserve rights, simply because we don’t agree with them. But in a sense, the 5th was also an ending step of discrimination in America. Its been gone on the surface for a while, but its the first sign that its really dying as a whole. Now that one battle is over, the next can begin.