At the end of my sophomore year in Medical school we took part one of the National Boards. A favorite way to phrase a question involved two statements. Then you were asked the following: Is each statement true or false? Are the statements related? Thus there were 5 possibilities
1) True, true, and related
2) True, true, and unrelated
3) True, False
4) False, True
5) False, False
Statement 1: The heart is a pump.
Statement 2: Heart failure occurs when blood pools in the lungs.
Ans: True, true, and related
Statement 1: The brain is the seat of consciousness.
Statement 2: Einstein was very smart.
Ans: True, true, and unrelated
With that in mind, consider these two statements:
Corporations are people.
Money is speech.
Now I would bet you that a fifth grader would select 5). False, False
Our Supreme Court has selected 1) True, true, and related
In The New Yorker Aug 25 Jill Lepore discusses money and corruption in politics. She wrote
In 1904 the New York Life Company, “through J.P. Morgan & Co., sent the Republican National Committee” almost $ 50,000 “(about a million dollars, in today’s money). As the historian Robert E. Mutch points out in his thoughtful and well-researched study Buying the Vote, this proof of what had before only been rumored occasioned an outcry. ‘So long as great corporations are permitted to send their checks for $50,000 to campaign committee Treasurers we shall have, or be in great danger of having, a Government of the corporations, not a Government of the people,’ the editors of the New York Times, a Democratic newspaper, wrote.
The city’s leading Republican paper, the Tribune, went further:
In the United States the government is intended to be a government of men. A corporation is not a citizen with a right to vote or take a hand otherwise in politics. It is an artificial creation,brought into existenceby favor of the State solely to perform the functions allowed to it by its charter. Interference by it with the state and attempts by it to exercise rights of citizenship are fundamentally a perversion of its power. Its stockholders, no matter how wise or how rich, should be forced to exercise their political influence as individuals on an equality with other men. That is the basic principle of democracy.
Since the current Supreme Court of the United States disagrees, let’s hope the US Senate tomorrow votes to nullify the Citizens United decision and bring some semblance of sanity and fairness to electoral politics.