Michael Hiltzik is a top notch columnist, and some of his readers who commented on a recent Los Angeles Times post of his apparently agree. He wrote about something that is destroying what’s left of our democracy: Campaign finance, specifically the Supreme Court Citizens United decision that legally transformed corporations into people:
In the wake of Citizens United, the voice of the ordinary citizen has all but disappeared from Capitol Hill. It doesn’t matter whether the donors are Democrats or Republicans; money becomes a political interest on its own. Nor is it a virtue of Citizens United that it took contribution limits off corporations and labor unions alike; U.S. corporations are richer than ever, and labor unions in a long decline.[…]
As we enter Year Six of the post-Citizens United world, money has the only voice that politicians hear.
Heavy sigh. If only greedy, self-serving Corporate People could serve prison time as often as pot smokers do. But I digress.
Here are today’s L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
I appreciate Michael Hiltzik’s column about the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. (“Five years after Citizens United ruling, big money reigns,” Jan. 24)
As a retired history professor, I used to enjoy debating with my students about whether history repeated itself. I would try to present the hope that it did not repeat itself exactly, and although there may be parallels, we as Americans could learn from our mistakes.
But then there was the Iraq war even after the debacle of Vietnam and the resurging power of the gun lobby even after the Reagan shooting and the Brady Bill. Now we have Citizens United even after Watergate; the root of that scandal was the excess amount of campaign money President Nixon’s reelection committee had amassed to influence the 1972 election.
It will take real courage by the voters to change Congress and eventually the Supreme Court to reverse the effects of Citizens United and restore my faith that we learn from our mistakes.
R. Pierce Onderdonk, Tehachapi
Hiltzik’s column should be required reading for every lawmaker.
I think that we are at a time when it is no longer far-fetched to say that, if you are an average working person, a minority, a female, a student or in a family with little health insurance, every time you vote Republican, you probably are voting against your self-interest.
Michael Carter, Alhambra