Letter: It’s not business; it’s personhood

With the advent of Super PACs, we are witnessing the further imbalance of power between the people and the money influence in politics and government. While people clamor for reform, the “corpocracy” strives for status quo – and usually wins.

How did the “money influence” come to be? It began in 1886, when the Supreme Court first declared that corporations were persons. Corporate personhood became law without there ever being a case heard as to whether corporations had human rights in law. In 1976, the courts moved to equate money with free speech as it related to campaign contributions, dealing a fatal blow to the democratic principle of “one person, one vote.” With the 2010 Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited funding for media advertisements, for or against a candidate, the people’s voice is being drowned out by the voluminous “free speech” coming from the corporate sector.

People generally act as individuals, and at some point they die. Corporations act in groups with a tendency to grow into monopolies or conglomerates – and live on in perpetuity.

Could there be a more opportune time to address this issue? What can we do to remove the money influence and achieve real campaign finance reform? There are two organizations, movetoamend.org and reclaimdemocracy.org, at the forefront of a strong national movement to remove or limit the influence of money in politics and government. City, county and state governments are being petitioned to adopt resolutions stating that “money is not free speech” and “corporations are not persons.” Such measures have passed in more than 30 cities and counties across the country, including New York and Los Angeles.

I encourage you to visit the websites of these organizations to learn more about the movement. If you think Rappahannock County should adopt this resolution and would like to join with other county residents to represent this position to the board of supervisors, please contact me at 540-987-8975.

Roy Ellis


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