Citizens United

            Here in the US, when the Citizens United ruling first came out, there was a huge brouhaha over the enormous influence that money would play in upcoming elections. The Occupy movement seized on this Supreme Court decision to further emphasize the imbalance and inequality of American governance. It seemed that the only thing the news and information media could concern its self with was speculation on what impact all of this would have on life in these United States. Tsk. Tsk. And like last week’s long term weather forecast, all this has had no bearing on, gives no account of how today is experienced. Today the news is different. Occupy is where? Citizens United, like the gay movement, was simply big money coming out of the closet. It had always been present in American politics and governance. Now it is not considered impolite or shocking to encounter it or discuss it.

            Occupy has been closeted. Citizens United has had much more far reaching and undermining effects than simply how elections are run and paid for. Big money not only determines candidacy and issues, but discourse. Occupy has disappeared not because people are no longer involved, but because the big bucks plied into purchasing votes is spent somewhere. And that somewhere we all witnessed with the Rupert Murdock Sky News extravaganza in Britain. Media is out to profit from its corporate control of information (and that includes you newly wed Mark Zuckerberg, gatekeeper extraordinaire of the internet). If the ever shrinking sources of media stand to benefit so significantly (and so continuously) from the political Wimbledon pairings of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Romney and Obama, it only stands to reason that what doesn’t pay, doesn’t play. And so Occupy has vanished.

            A more insidious infection disseminated by the Citizens United ruling is the unobserved, and (now) impossible to be publicly noted, perversion of language. All of the match ups in the upcoming political games will liberally (conservatively too) make use of such terms as citizens, individuals, people and their families. I don’t know of a single corporate structure (for profit or not for profit) that doesn’t pride itself on being family. And now with Citizens United they are people too, as well as citizens and individuals. Individual liberties, people free to pursue their interests and passion, families secure in their communities, and citizens taking back control of their country (and government) can now likewise be read, be heard as corporate liberties, corporations free to pursue their interests and passions, corporate enterprise being secure in its surroundings, and corporations controlling their country and its governance. In the final appeal (which in this country is the Supreme Court), corporations are people. Citizens United confirms this identity relationship. Unless some political aspirant specifically mentions mortals of a limited biological lifetime, or flesh and blood human beings, it is pretty safe to assume that she or he is talking about where the money comes from when speaking of people, families, individuals or citizens.

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