A blow to democracy

I totally agree with Arno Vosk, M.D. on his letter in the Sunday April 13 paper on the decision of the Supreme Court to eliminate any limits on contributions to political campaigns.

This decision will “flood” the TV months prior to an election (as if we are not sick of them already) and will create a new candidate–not the most qualified (if we have a way to determine that already) but the candidate with most money to “buy” the election!

Ralph Balliet


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom

A blow to democracy

With their decision on May 3 in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court has struck a terrible blow to American democracy, possibly a fatal one. There are now no limits on what individuals may contribute to political campaigns. The richest people in our country can spend as much as they want to get the candidates of their choice elected to office.

The reason this is so dangerous is that over the past half-century more and more of our nation’s wealth has been concentrated in the hands of very few people. The top 1% of Americans control 42% of our financial wealth; the top 5% control 72%. At the bottom are an amazing 80% of Americans, all of whom put together own just 5% of our country’s wealth! The big money necessary to finance political campaigns is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority.

In the Citizens United case 4 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled against limits on political contributions by corporations. Now corporations and wealthy individuals have no restrictions at all on what they may spend. This will affect national and local elections, and will even affect our justice system, as judges are either appointed by elected officials, or elected directly. And now rich people may spend as much as they want to support judges whom they can rely on to make decisions that favor them.

Sadly, many very wealthy people seem to have insatiable appetites for ever more and more wealth and power. They resent any restrictions on their astoundingly self-serving behavior. Since there is just so much wealth and power to go around, the only way they can accumulate more is by taking it away from the rest of us. The Supreme Court has now made it impossible to stop this vicious cycle.

How can American democracy survive in the face of a threat this great? I fear it can’t. Our nation will be a democracy in name only, equality a myth. Americans will live under a new kind of feudalism, in which a few lords enjoy their multimillion-dollar estates and townhouses, while everyone else must labor to support their system. I have always felt optimism, believed that no matter how challenging our nation’s problems, we could solve them if we worked hard enough. Now this seems doubtful.

Arno Vosk, M.D.


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom