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Saturday, December 9, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

The Struggle Must Continue

Yes, the U. S. Supreme Court has finally bestowed First Amendment rights on fictional creations - i.e. corporations - but that doesn't mean we can relax.

The struggle for liberty is not over.

There are many fictional creatures out there that are still denied their rights and even though corporations are now able to speak freely, they are still denied many basic rights.

Can you marry a corporation?

Oh sure, corporations can live together and there is civil merger, but is that really the same?

And can a corporation vote even if it's over 21? Can it run for office?

Oh sure, a corporation can buy a politician and dictate policy, but is that really the same?

There's also the social stigma of being a corporation.

Be honest now. How many of you can say you have a corporate friend? Are there any corporations sitting at your dinner table when you have a special event?

I didn't think so.

In fact, there are people who think nothing of viciously disparaging corporations in public. Watch any episode of Mad Money - it's one hateful corporatist slur after another.

Our corporations can now be heard, but will they get any respect?

Now think about the other fictional beings in our society - beings who must speak with the aid of humans just like corporations.

Where is the outcry over Muppet rights?

Miss Piggy has a voice, but can she buy an attack ad? Can she marry Kermit?

There are still many wrongs to be righted.

EQUALITY OF SPEECH. Now that corporations can speak (through humans and/or dollars), should there be an amalgam of constitutional rights?

We have free speech and we have equality but what about equality of speech?

After all, corporations can now spend millions or billions to say whatever they want and probably get heard. Can a mere human without millions or billions be heard?

Most humans are lucky if their mothers listen to them.

Obviously, the solution is to give every human millions of dollars so that we can all vent publicly on equal footing - human and legal fiction alike.

And then no one will listen to anyone.

MONEY TALKS. I have to admit, if I'm being honest (which I rarely am), that the Supreme Court ruling does make some interesting points.

The guys in the majority make a big point of noting that if the government can stop a corporation or lobbying group from putting out messages, then, logically, the government can do the same thing to newspapers who might want to run editorials.

Newspapers are corporations. They have to spend money to get their messages out. What's the difference?

It seems like there ought to be a difference but my brain hurts trying to come up with it. I so want to censor Fox News, but - sigh - it would be wrong.

Which brings us to the real issue - is spending money the same as speaking even if the money goes toward buying a huge figurative megaphone for speech?

Is freedom of speech the same as freedom to spend money any way you want? If it is, how can we regulate purchases of, say, drugs, prostitutes, or Congressmen?

Money talks - so it should be protected by the First Amendment.

This brings me to my latest brilliant idea: talking money.

If transferring dollars is the same as speech, then those dollars ought to be able to talk. We need to install recording microchips in all our currency so that we can add messages that get heard as soon as the bills change hands.

Picture the lips on the dead presidents (and Ben Franklin) moving.

The more money you spend, the more you get your message out.

This stimulates debate, it stimulates the economy, and millions who avoided politics before will be happy to receive your message.

It's not vote-buying if you're just getting the word out.

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