Karen Fowler
Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections, including Sarah Canary and the bestselling The Jane Austen Book Club. A new novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, is scheduled for publication in May, 2013.
(Photo: Brett Hall)

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REASON 67: Because Obama opposes the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision.

We are in the first presidential election since the Supreme Court decided that money equals free speech and the money is flowing freely. According to Harry Reid, seventeen angry white men are currently engaged in buying the country. They’ve had their fingers on the scales for quite some time—writing legislation, buying representatives, suppressing the vote, and busting the unions. But the court’s decision in Citizens United has allowed these men to take this to a whole new level. Financial corruption of the democratic process is now perfectly legal. In the United States, the Supreme Court has declared that democracy is for sale.

And so billions of dollars have flooded the terrain of the 2012 election, the airwaves filled with the propaganda of super PACs and secretive 501(c)s. Much of this money is already untraceable back to its sources. Even so, right-wing lawyers are busily contesting campaign funding disclosure laws while Republican senators block the Disclose Campaign Spending Act. The best of our elected representatives complain of the time they must spend raising the money to be competitive—how they must be ever alert to any decisions that will cost them their wealthy donors. The worst of them are becoming wealthier and wealthier themselves.

The Roberts Court has a history of making the courts less accessible to ordinary citizens and more favorable to corporate power. Citizens United is merely the culmination of a movement for corporate rights that began in the 1970s under William Rehnquist. Even so, Citizens United marks a radical change from the decisions and thinking of earlier courts.

When the expenditure of money is protected as an element of free speech, some citizens are inevitably granted more speech than other citizens. The first amendment, intended to provide a protection for unpopular speech, has been transformed into a political tool to solidify the advantages of the wealthy. Mitt Romney supports this decision, as he supports everything that works to privilege the privileged.

Mitt Romney and the Roberts Court are in agreement that “Corporations are people, my friend.” Mitt Romney has pledged to nominate more justices in the mold of the five who decided Citizens United. Barack Obama has called for a constitutional amendment overturning it.

We must vote for Barack Obama, because there is only one way to keep those seventeen men from buying the country. And that is to not sell it to them.

Karen Fowler
 Santa Cruz, California

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