Supremes Murder the First Amendment: Whaddaya Gonna Do?

They did it in broad daylight.  “Money … speech—what’s the diff?” they cackled, sucking a corporate tit.  Then they wrung Liberty’s neck—cracked it like a chicken’s.

That same day the bank foreclosed on my home.  I offered a speech to the broad-brim hatted sheriff.  “Money … speech—what’s the diff?” I asked.

His deputies kicked my kids right down the road.

“If money is the same as speech, surely speech is the same as money!” I averred, but … he failed to acknowledge my logic.

I went to my cousin, Vincenzo.  “Whadda we gonna do?  What the hell can we do?”

“I’m gonna make them an offer they can’t refuse,” he said, chomping a Cuban stogie.

“Whaddaya saying?  What the hell are you saying?  It’s the goddamn government!  They’ll send a predator drone up your ass, they’ll bury you like Jimmy Hoffa!  They’ll make you a non-person.  They’ll delete you.”

“So … whaddaya gonna do?” he shrugged.

I went to see my union boss.  “Solly, whadda we gonna do?  What the hell can we do?”

“Kavetch, kavetch,” he said.  “Don’t worry! … Says right here: we got the same rights.  They can’t, ya know, limit our speech either.”

I said they’d spend unions under the table.  Corporations had war chests.  Reagan had killed the unions and Dems had buried’em.  I said it was freedom’s finale.  I said it was over; King’s dream was over.  Corporations were one thing; unions another; individuals another.  How could they put’em all together like that?  It was meaningless.  Speech was one thing, money another.  No one wanted to be paid in speeches, right?  You wanna put the Gettysburg Address in your next pay envelope?  You wanna pay your bills with a speech, buy your food with a speech?  It’s not what the “Framers” intended. Corporations weren’t “persons” back in 1789.  How did we become a Republic protecting their rights?”

“So … whaddaya gonna do?” he shrugged.  “Whaddaya gonna do?”

I knocked on the door of John McCain.  “Campaign Finance Reform!” I said.  “Is this what you were talking about?  You’re the guy who ran on that, aren’t you?  Were you just bullsh*tting?  Are all you guys just bullsh*tting?  Don’t you care?”

“My friend,” he confided with a Reaganesque smile, “a lot of things are parlayed in election campaigns.  A lot of things are kind of like cannon fodder—they’re stood up to be shot down, just to kind of distract your enemy—and give the people a really good show.  You know … when I was shot down over Vietnam, I saw the very face of God.”

I hacked the computer of Barack Obama.  “Mr. President,” I wrote, “this can’t be happening.  This can’t be right.  Didn’t you say something about ‘hope’ and ‘change’;  no more politics as usual?  Wasn’t that you?”

He wrote back that he was always glad to hear from “the People.”  And that the FBI would soon be knocking on my door.  Which is what happened.  And it was true: They wear bad shoes!

“You d’d’don’t understand,” I stammered, “they’ve made a mockery of Freedom of Speech–those guys and those gals with their black cloaks and daggers: they cut her to pieces; they tore out her heart.”

“We’re just doing our job,” they said all together, sounding like a chorus of grim Stephen Hawkings.  “You’re free to believe whatever you want.  That’s the beauty, that’s the beauty … of America. ”

They locked me in a padded cell.  I couldn’t hear the dark door closing.

Gary Corseri

Gary Corseri has posted and published his articles, fiction, poems and dramas at The New York Times, Village Voice, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, Dissident Voice, Countercurrents and hundreds of other websites and publications around the world. His books include: A Fine Excess; Holy Grail, Holy Grail; and Manifestations (edited). He has performed his poems at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum and his dramas have been performed on Atlanta-PBS and elsewhere. He can be contacted at

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  1. Elaine says

    To make sure we do not get another Obama I am all for it. I thought he got it before his State of the Union. But I was wrong again. A conservative won as governor in Virginia, New Jersey, a conservative Senator took the seat that used to be Ted Kennedy’s seat. I was so amazed & so proud that I almost busted. But the speech last night was just more of the same. Today he is in Florida trying to get them on board with a Railway with money that needs to go toward Medicare & take care of our Parents & Seniors & the majority of it to pay back China who we owe what 800T. He keeps playing around with somebody else’s money on projects we do not need. I cannot afford to pay higher electric bills. That is why cap & trade needs to stay buried. Government cannot create jobs unless it is government jobs & we have too many of them now. If he gets rid of all those CZARS just think of the money we can save there. Obama is tone def & he just thinks he can run around the country & spend all the taxpayers dollars on campaigning instead of trying to make sure we are safe from terrorists, that the military is getting everything they need. He needs to get rid of Holder who several months back called American cowards, & now he wants to spend the taxpayers money on those terrorist that were associated with 9/11 & no compassion for the victims that does not want them back on American soil, & you can’t much blame them. The Black Panthers that were standing in front of the voting building last year waving a baton didn’t even show up for court & Holder just dropped the charges. Maybe he needs to go back to work for them.

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