“Put your Money where Your Mouth Is.”
I want to interrogate the assumption (Supported in the infamous “Citizens United” SCOTUS ruling) that spending money is an expression of Constitutionally protected free speech.
Money is power. Spending money is exerting power. There are plenty of laws criminalizing one person’s exertion of power over another.
You may be influenced by my opinion, or my opinion may be “powerful” on a specific topic, but my expression through speech cannot be used universally, as money can be, for ever-changing purposes as it passes from one hand to the next.
Spending money is a way of saying “I will transfer power to you, in exchange for you giving me what I want.” Or, “I will withhold funds from you UNTIL you give me what I want.”
“What you do with that power after I give it to you is your choice.*”
You can’t do that with speech. At best, a person could repeat my amazing idea and convince others. But no one can take my opinion on, say, the merits of single-payer health care, and turn around and convert my opinion into an argument in favor of open trade for themselves.
Spending money is a way of buying conspiratorial participation in a common goal (even if it’s a short term conspiracy to sell a can of soda to me. We agree to participate in an exchange of possessions…of our “power” over the other. I have the can of soda you want. You have the money I want.)
Speech is not universal currency. Money, and the act of exerting power with it, is not speech.
I said it the day Citizens United was handed down, and it holds true today: equating money and speech is the destruction of our Republic and freedoms.
(*You’re free to do what you want with the money contractually given to you UNLESS you want to use it for an insurance package including Birth Control. (See Hobby Lobby Ruling, granting corporations the right to extend their religious beliefs to prevent employees using money as they see fit.) The combined rulings, giving rich people more “speech” rights and giving corporations the right to control your behavior based on their ostensive religious beliefs, cuts down two of the most important elements of the First Amendment, giving it away! )
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Put Your Money Where MY Mouth Is! 🙂
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