Is it possible to be stunned but not surprised? I was stunned by the recent Supreme Court decision on corporate and union political expenditures, but not surprised. It was not surprising given the makeup of the majority on the court, but just the same I was stunned at the blatant immorality of it.
The Supreme Court has not always made good decisions. During its history it has made abominable decisions that undermined our most treasured constitutional rights. In time those decisions were corrected, but not before doing their damage. It’s one reason why overturning 60 year old laws and previous court decisions is not unheard of. But for the most part the court has overturned old laws and previous decisions in the direction of correcting egregious violations of civil liberties and human rights, and of providing greater protection for those at greatest risk of suffering abuse and injustice.
Those kinds of decisions have often irked some conservatives who have long railed against “activists judges.” In truth they love activist judges, just not judges predisposed to protect our civil rights and the most vulnerable among us. What they have wanted are judges predisposed to protect the interests of large corporations, the wealthy and others wielding power and authority that is held to the exclusion of lesser mortals. Now they have five of them on the Supreme Court and they love them. The ruling today that unleashes unlimited corporate and union political spending is morally bankrupt, shameful, reprehensible, and one more attack on the integrity of the political process (which has precious little integrity as it is).
Oddly enough, many of my conservative friends who are so delighted with the Republican Party as it exists today, and thrilled with the five conservative members of the Supreme Court, are the very ones most likely to be harmed by their policies and actions. They are retirees, small business owners, farmers and workers in large companies. They remind me of chickens inviting the coyote to protect them. With pleasure gleaming in their eyes they look forward to celebrating:
- Lower taxes on those many times wealthier than they as long as a pittance is dropped in their cups.
- A health care system ruled by corporate greed and misfeasance so that is has become the world’s most expensive, least efficient and overtly abusive to those in greatest need.
- Corporate (and union) control over political campaign advertising, and the elections that follow, for candidates bought and paid for who will enact anticompetitive policies benefitting corporations while limiting consumer protections.
- Erosion of civil liberties in the name of security.
- Economic policies advertised as conservative but leading to the same old recessions and depressions.
- Open season on rapacious use of land and resources.
- Promises of reduced deficit spending and national debt while implementing policies aggravating both.
It simply boggles my mind.