Recently, large corporations such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Kraft and the latest, Wendy’s, have been dropping out of supporting American Legislative Exchange Council also known as ALEC, a conservative political organization that introduces and pushes pieces of legislation through Congress and state houses across the country.
Controversy surrounding the Trayvon Martin shooting, along with ALEC’s involvement in pushing Voter ID laws in several states, led to the organization, Color of Change calling on corporations like Coca Cola to drop their contributions to ALEC because of ALEC’s involvement in pushing “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country, along with Voter ID laws. After Coca Cola pulled their support, other major corporations followed.
These large corporations involvement with ALEC are a good example why corporations should stay out of politics. Money always corrupts the political process. What we have in reality is corporations pooling their money together through an organization like ALEC and then using that money to push an agenda that harms certain minorities and threatens our democratic process.
Our system of government has been threatened by the unleashing of Big Money by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC. This ruling opened a floodgate of corporate donations and even single billionaires being able to use their vast amounts of wealth to gain influence over our lawmakers and our government.
How can we know that our elected leaders are going to listen to us voters or instead listen to those who pay huge sums of cash indirectly or otherwise, to super pacs or to organizations like ALEC, to help them (lawmakers) stay in office? We’re beginning to lose the ear of those we elect to office. Those who we elected to represent all our needs, not just corporations.
Should corporations have a voice? Certainly corporations should have a voice, but no more or no less than the rest of Americans. Corporations are not people – they’re made up of people but those people as individuals have the same rights as the rest of us – they can vote, they can send a letter to their congressman and they can even give money up to a certain amount, to their favorite candidate, political party or organization. But why should corporations be able to act as an accumulative force with vast amounts of cash to unduly and unfairly influence laws and lawmakers?
Fortunately, the American people are more informed than we give them credit for and if enough of them can see past the influence of money and see the puppet masters pulling the strings, money’s influence can then only go so far. Still, we must concern ourselves that these are intelligent people who pull these strings and they will continue to look for ways to rob Americans of their thoughts, their votes and eventually their money.
As long as corporations and even billionaires can influence politics with their availability to wealth, we will see our tax laws continue to favor corporations and billionaires. As long as those corporations and billionaires can use their wealth to influence the laws of our land to further an extreme agenda, the less power the voice of the voter will have.
What we can do is press our government to give us a system that is free of the influence of money on those we elect to represent us. But we shouldn’t just press our government to pass laws but to pass a constitutional amendment so that a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme court cannot overturn it.
The only way to end the influence of money on our government is to establish a public-only campaign finance system. Ban all private donations of any kind at any level of government. Completely cut off the supply arm of those who would mold our government to fit their own selfish agenda. Give the true voice of the People the floor in our Congress and in state houses across the land and bring us back to the true People’s government, by ending private campaign financing. Then finally our nation can become the true land of opportunity that we’ve held up as a beacon to the world for now over a century.