As we move corporate political donations from behind the (thin) curtain that maintained an appearance of fair play (if not the reality), what might we look forward to? Brand placements in political ads – “Vote No on Issue 1, brought to you by Buy N Large” (nods to WALL-E and my son)? How about in the chambers of Congress? Whole state delegations could compete for sponsorship dollars! Imagine Congressional seats decked out with decals, a la NASCAR (thanks, Stan!). And why stop at the Halls of Congress? There’s a whole White House to conquer!
Yep – we’ll finally get this country running like a well-oiled machine. Of course, not everyone is up to the task of being a worthy denizen, but I’m sure our corporate-led government will find ways to maximize profits through strategic outsourcing, “rightsizing” and other corporate efficiency programs. Imagine – an entire nation in transition! Generous outplacement and philanthropic programs will handle the deserving hard cases; religious and other not-for-profit organizations can manage the rest.
We’re at another moment in U.S. history where greed and righteous indignation are tearing us apart. We have tone-deaf bankers who can’t understand why million dollar bonuses are morally and ethically wrong; legislators and political parties who can think no further than the next election cycle; and strident media voices stirring up populist anger to accept no negotiation or compromise on any issue. Differences of opinion become chasms no one is willing or able to bridge. And now the highest court in the land has ruled it’s acceptable to give the largest “haves” in our country the unlimited ability to buy the power they seek.
What price victory? In the words of one of our country’s original sponsors:
"Much indeed to be regretted, party disputes are now carried to such a length, and truth is so enveloped in mist and false representation, that it is extremely difficult to know through what channel to seek it. This difficulty to one who is of no party, and whose sole wish is to pursue with undeviating steps a path which would lead this country to respectability, wealth, and happiness, is exceedingly to be lamented. But such, for wise purposes, it is presumed, is the turbulence of human passions in party disputes, when victory more than truth is the palm contended for." -- George Washington, in a letter to Timothy Pickering, July 27, 1795