23 April, 2014
Comment about free speech and campaign financing
Let me try to be clearer. Money to support candidates for election to the legislative and executive branches has become less restrictive due to the two Supreme Court decisions on free speech and campaign financing, especially with respect to corporate funding. Corporations have interest in getting candidates elected that favor their business. Corporations and people with a lot of money provide funds for the candidates and to PACs to support their candidates. The result is that those with money can drive who gets elected, possibly with some quid pro quo expectation. Money (corporations, PACs, wealthy) can say whatever it wants, true or not. That makes the side with less money spend its more limited resources defending, rebutting, correcting and less able to express its case to the voters. The purpose of campaign finance controls is to allow a fair exchange of ideas and positions on issues for voters to decide with. That is an ideal state that I have no expectation of ever achieving. To think that corporations have any right to back a candidate or provide campaign financing for a candidate is in my mind wrong. Government representation is for the people, not corporations. A corporation is not a person, does not act like a person, does not have interests like a person. I don’t think corporations should have any direct influence in the election of government representatives. They have plenty of indirect influence. People with money don’t deserve any more say in who gets elected than from anyone else. Basic nature of a democracy. Examples of issues are socialized medicine and climate change. One is a political/social choice the people should make for themselves. The other is a scientifically determined fact the people need to choose to respond to. Both through their elected representatives. The problem is when the few (wealthy and corporations) use their money steer the choices of representatives and ultimately the choices for the issues to their benefit by overwhelming opposition with lies, misinformation, and distortion. That does happen. The people are not getting clear debate to choose with. They may choose against their best interests (like a plumber voting for a small government tax cutter who eventually cost him his business) or don’t vote because they are confused or ambivalent due to the fighting. What I desire is a level debating field where positions can be laid out clearly for people to make educated decisions. There can be noise all around the field and being a free speech advocate I support that, but within the political campaign debate, it has to be limited so that all sides (liberals, conservatives, greens, libertarians, etc…) can get their points across. That means limiting money and who can donate. I think it also means who can speak within the campaigns. I think there have to be rules of evidence as well. Within the campaign sphere. Right now, there is no such thing. I suspect voting would be more prevalent with the ability of people to go straight to the candidates’ positions without the flak and noise and lies and misinformation the free-for-all we have today gives. That is not government control of any message, that is control of the election process to allow the people to make informed voting decisions.