Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Money is Speech

The Citizen's United decision passed by the Supreme Court awhile back has been a contentious ruling since it came out. Now, Arizona has passed a law to help remedy some of the major issues with the law. Specifically, Arizona has given candidates a public financing option that will give their campaigns money to equalize funding to those who receive private contributions. It's all in the name of political fairness, since there is now no limit to the amount of money can be given anonymously to a candidate. The law is designed to level the playing field and give all politicians the opportunity to reach the voters.

Unfortunately, this law is being contested as unconstitutional and has been brought before the Supreme Court once again. Since money is now considered speech, and the limitation of money is a limit on free speech, the opponents argue that, by giving money to other candidates limits the rights of those who receive private contributions.

Taking a leap here to make a connection, I'm going to say this argument is similar to the argument against gay marriage. Those who support it say it is a way to give everyone equal rights. Those who are against it say that it marginalizes the value of the rights of heterosexual couples.

I really hope that the Supreme Court will vote to keep the law on the books, because it would be a ruling that helps negate some of the influence of the rich and powerful over the political arena. When a billionaire is able to give millions and millions to a political candidate, it's not a fair and balanced system. When the poor have less influence because they cannot contribute to a campaign, it's time to level the playing field. This law does that. By equalizing the money being given to political campaigns, the law gives power and influence back to the little people and brings a sense of balance back to elections.

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