If they’re in charge, what happens to you?

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson

Woman voting / Wikimedia Commons

After weeks during which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (not to be confused with the lunch bunch in your home town, a group of local shopkeepers and independent business people who have a pretty good idea of what it’s like to be you) has pumped millions of dollars into attack ads designed to give them control of a majority of members in the 2011-2012 Congress, the Democratic Party has finally stood up on its hind legs and shown it has a spine after all.

As a result of legislation written and adopted by five individuals — a one-person majority of the Supreme Court — entire corporations and their bankrolls now count as individuals in the one-person-one-vote policy of what used to be a democracy — the United States of America. Forget freedom of speech — it all belongs to the corporations.

In the world after Citizens United human individuals like you and me may legally give up to $2,500 $2400 to a candidate (if we can) but inhuman individuals (corporations, that is) may give as much as they like and get away with doing it anonymously by giving to organizations that aren’t supposed to tell people how to vote but are doing so in the most vicious manner imaginable.  They can get away with it because Congress doesn’t fund the Federal Elections Commission adequately, so they don’t  have the teeth to bite those who would chew up the law and spit it out.

And there’s more: In the case of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, foreign entities (individuals, companies, governments, for all we know) are contributing to influence our elections this year. The Chamber says it’s not using foreign money on electioneering, but if they’re using foreign money to pay the rent, then the rent money can and will be used to pay for political ads and that’s the same as using foreign money to pay for political ads. That’s absolutely illegal, but the FEC can’t and won’t do a thing about it because they don’t have the resources. And even if they did, all we’d see is some people getting hit with fines.  No do-overs.

And what does the Chamber — the U.S. Chamber, not your neighbors and friends — want the people it gets elected to enable?  Shipping more and ever more jobs overseas, so we all get to sling burgers and clean toilets. That’s good for the rich folks. It’s not good for your town and mine, or for our economy, because there won’t be enough people around to spend money to keep the stores open.

Here’s how the Democratic Party is fighting back. It’s only 30 seconds.  Watch it.

This ad is turning the tide, too.  You can help.  Show it to your friends and neighbors who aren’t as up on things as you are. Not everybody has the time and energy to read blogs and stay informed.  The U.S. Chamber types like it that way.  If you have to work three or four jobs to keep food on the table and oil in the tank, you’ll probably be too tired to go and vote.

Don’t keep this to yourself.  There’s still time. Memorize the ad’s tag line:

If they’re in charge, what happens to you?

And talk to the people you know. Help them see where their best interests lie.  And then help them get to the polls on November 2. The job you save may be your own. And theirs.

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