Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Only Money Has Free Speech

As it is now, advertisers make the decisions about the media, not the people, because the media exist for the purpose of making money. . . .

The fact that people with money can hire lobbyists to represent them in Washington limits equity in the political system. Poor people don’t have the money for this—if they spent everything they had, they couldn’t get enough money together to equal the lobbying power of the rich. After an election, people don’t have access to government, because lack of money prevents them from having equal access to the people in power. That’s an inequity that’s built into the system. That’s where money is more powerful than people.

People do have a right to vote. But whom do they have a right to vote for? They have a right to vote for whoever is chosen. That’s our dilemma right now. It starts with how much it costs to run for office—it now costs $3 million to run for governor in Tennessee. That rules out a lot of people. So the choice is between two people who are willing to spend $3 million, which is not a democratic choice. You can say that the people have a right to vote, but they only have the right to choose between two millionaires or people whom other people with money are willing to back.

Myles Horton, The Long Haul, © 1990, pp. 169-170

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