Should Citizens Be Human Beings?

Citizens United Case Disenfranchises Human Beings

I was talking to a friend one day about how to teach children to be fair with one another.  He told me that when he was a kid, his mother had a great way of squashing fairness disputes between him and his sister. When an argument arose around someone not getting their fair share,  his mom would say, “one divide, the other choose”. When I asked him to explain what this meant, he gave me this example.

One day, his mom baked their favorite pie. After a day or so, there was a small portion left. They both wanted that last piece but their mom insisted that it had to be shared. She allowed his sister, who was older, to cut the slice into two pieces. My friend was angry and felt  cheated. His sister hadn’t divided the piece into two equal portions.  But just as his sister was about to grab the larger piece, his mom said, “not so fast — you divided it, now he gets to choose”.  They learned a major lesson that day. From then on, they were careful about treating each other fairly – well, at least when mom was around.

I’ve thought of that story from time to time over the years. It is a simple story with a powerful lesson, when those in power don’t experience the negative consequences of the decisions they make, they’re not incentivized to be fair. If my friend’s sister hadn’t learned that she could possibly be the one who gets the short end of the stick, she could have continued in her selfishness. That lesson is what came to mind when I first heard of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case.  Oh, if only the highest court of the land had the wisdom of my friend’s mom.

Joseph Palermo wrote a piece entitled, “Citizens United for More Corporate Power“, where he warned of the blowback we’d face, as a nation, if we allow the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC to stand.  Said Palermo, “a single corporation will be able tap into its deep pockets and disfranchise a million citizens”. He went on to say, “Corporations are immortal. They don’t need health care, or minimum wages, or pensions, or food stamps. They don’t raise children and have families. They have no morality or ethics other than maximizing their profits. They are sociopathic.”

Last night, Dick and I attended an event with about 80 other people who can see the danger posed by this decision and who have decided to take action.  One of the organizers, Geoffry D. White, sent the following  press release:

PRESS RELEASE continued the next phase its newly developed Los Angeles chapter on Saturday July 31, 2010 with a well attended house party at a Mid-Wilshire area home.  The event included showing the acclaimed film”The Corporation”, presentations by MoveOn leaders, talks by Marcy Winograd (recent Congressional legislative candidate) and Lila Garrett (KPFK-FM “Connect the Dots” program host) and an unusually good pot luck feast.
One MoveOn member summarized the issue: “If we’ve learned anything since President Obama took office, it’s that fundamental change will be impossible until we end the stranglehold that big corporations and lobbyists have on our democracy. To fight back, we need to go big. We need a massive new movement to kick corporate lobbyists out of DC, hold our elected officials accountable, and fix our democracy to make Washington work for the 98% of us who don’t have corporate lobbyists.”
The current project is to form Congressional District MoveOn council’s that will follow a specific strategy to put pressure on our Representatives in Congress to sign and implement “The Other 98% Pledge.” There are three components to The Pledge (which anyone can sign
  • Overturn the recent Supreme Court “Citizens  United” decision which allows corporations to give unlimited funding to political candidates,
  • Pass the Fair Elections Now Act, providing public financing to candidates who are supported by small donors, and
  • Pass the Lobbyist Reform Act which will significantly decrease the overwhelming influence of corporate  lobbyists by prohibiting individuals from switching from corporate  lobbying to government service, or vice-versa, within a 5-year period.

For those of you who don’t mind getting the smallest slice of pie, then this organization is not for you. But if you are sick and tired of the unfsharon kyleairness that our tax dollars pay for and would like an opportunity to partner with others to make a change, go to and read about “The Other 98%” project. This is a grassroots effort to “Fight Washington Corruption” by overturning Citizens United through an amendment to the Constitution. It’s a big task but it’s been done before.

We need to be the voice of Mom.

Sharon Kyle
Publisher, LA Progressive


  1. Lauren Steiner says

    Great article, Sharon. But it’s between him and his sister not he and his sister. I can sell ads and copy edit at the same time!

  2. says

    “Free speech” must be protected, but some speech is action, and acts are obviously subject to regulation. If the Boss tells his goons to “bump off that guy”, that is action, not speech, and no one would claim it is protected.

    Similarly when corporations pour millions into tobacco advertising, or political campaigns.

    We have a Supreme Court precedent to overturn now, but even if corporations were persons, the distinction between action and speech should apply.

  3. Roger says

    This issue of experiencing the consequences is true in so many facets of living and learning. It is truly one of the most important aspects of raising a good mindful society.

    The issue remains, regarding representation in the political system. While we call ourselves a democracy, most still think we are an oligarchy. This is the mindset we are up against. Those who think this way lack the courage to fight this mind set. The few who do fight forget that we leave so many behind and run to live in the comfort of those who think a like. We cannot be an example to those who need our example without living with those who need it. Much like a doctor can not heal those who need his support with out being with them.

    Who should have the ability to speak, The citizen or the “Person”? I say, If you cannot vote you cannot speak.

    Companies AND organizations cannot vote. They(and by correlation their agents) should not be able to speak with our representatives. Since they cannot vote or speak they should not be allowed to donate funds to political campaigns.

    Just some thoughts for lunch.

  4. Jerry Drucker says

    What an excellent analogy, Sharon,

    So simple and clear. The message certainly exposes the selfish bullies trying to control our nation.


  1. […] is investigating impeachment for Chief Justice John Roberts because of his handling of the Citizens United case and how it conflicts with his testimony during his confirmation hearings. Then there was the […]

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