After the recent Supreme Court decision opening the floodgates of corporate funding for elections at every level of government, as a concerned and civically involved American citizen, I am moved to protest.

This may be especially important at the local level, where corporate funding can far exceed the voice of citizens.

A corporation is not a citizen because it does not experience life in the way a human being does, does not have the same needs and desires and values, and the vital interests of corporations and ordinary human beings are not the same.

Businesses, which are certainly necessary and in the common good, can and do operate without becoming corporations, but corporations are formed to protect the human individuals around the world who found or invest in the businesses from personal financial liability or legal consequences for corporate debts.

A corporation never dies, never loves, never cries, never plays, never gets hurt or sick, and never loses everything because someone it loves gets sick. It doesn't need or care about an education, safe air and water, parks and community centers for its children, nor even have children and grandchildren to love and desire a future for.

A corporation experiences no human emotion, has no love or loyalty for home and country, cares nothing for preserving natural beauty or collective resources, doesn't appreciate art or music or theater, and has no sense of community well-being beyond its own bottom line. It has no desire to have fun or relationship, nor have a reason to care anything for its neighbor, would not help him raise his barn nor take her chicken soup when she is sick nor bring a casserole and comfort a friend when someone dies. It does not take care of nor sorrow at the suffering of its aging parents, in fact must evict its workers if they age or get sick or have an emotional crisis and are no longer productive, to fulfill its legal contract with its investors to make money, often other corporations.

A corporation can only be a money-collecting machine, that is its only legal or moral purpose in life, and it can only justify expenses, including expenses to influence policy, to preserve its own bottom line. Because it experiences no human emotions and has no human conscience, it happily banks money while using community infrastructure that it does not fund nor maintain, uses resources that belong to everyone, and is often not held responsible for the full human long-term cost of its practices.

I am one individual, a 68-year-old proud American citizen. I vote and participate actively in the democratic process, including giving money to and participating in campaigns for issues near to my heart, and candidates I think will represent my interests, as is my responsibility as a citizen. I do not have unlimited wealth, what I do have is a heart and a life experience and friends and family, a community and a country that I love.

A corporation now has the same rights as I do to influence government policy, but they do not bleed, they do not dance, they have unlimited resources, and they are not proud Americans. In fact, now, after the Supreme Court decision, they don't have to be Americans at all, and their voice can out-shout mine any day.

I urge American citizens of every political persuasion to oppose corporate influence in our communities, and support legislative action to protect our own rights and those of the children and grandchildren we cherish.


The Rev. Gerry Straatemeier lives in Catalina.



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