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Rob Garbin's Blog

Money Equals Speech

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Here is a surprise for many that read this blog. I actually agree with a Republican, well at least in a conditional sense. The title of this post gives away the person who is, of course, Karl Rove. To begin with, I would like to state my feelings toward Mr. Rove. Personally, I feel that he, President Bush, Dick Cheney, and a vast number of their cohorts should be in jail for War Crimes, treason to our democracy, and most likely a whole host of unknown other crimes. With that said, I find that I have to agree, with conditions, to the results of the Crossroads of America court case that allowed the creation of Super Pacs.

The reason I place conditions on my agreement is that I do not believe that money is equivalent to speech like the case stated. I consider money to be closer to people’s actions and not their speech. Anyone who has read my posts “My 2 Cents”, “Global Costs”, “Patriotism 101”, or “The Cost of Cheap part II” will understand what I mean. While many of us say we are for protecting life, human decency, and justice for all, we rarely put action behind our words. I am not just talking about joining the Peace Corp, Red Cross, or a Missionary. I am talking about how we spend our money. By spending money on items made in sweat shops we endorse the method of its production. In other words, our words do not match our actions.

For example, consider all the reasons for not buying products made in China. Our people at home are losing jobs because companies can make more profit manufacturing items in China. The Chinese treat their workers no better than slaves with many dying from the conditions. Unregulated pollution from their industries is drastically affecting their environment and the earth in general. Lax oversight is allowing harmful products to reach our shores. Yet, we cannot do without that piece of plastic junk we will be bored with tomorrow or forgo the newest upgrade in cell phones. The spending of our money on these items gives tacit agreement to the methods used to make them available. Our actions do not match our words.

Another example would be Mexico. Aside from the obvious similarities to China, there is the situation with weapons sales. We cry foul with the criminal actions of illegal immigrants and deplore the drug trafficking through Mexico. Yet, we spend billions on drugs and give large sums of money to the NRA whose policies coincide with the gun manufacturers that are making huge profits off the sale of weapons to Mexican criminals. Yeah, they say it is about protecting the second amendment, but the truth is they are really protecting profits. Meanwhile the crimes go on. By the way, how many weapons does one person need? American society seems to put gun collecting on the same level as baseball cards. I don’t; however, recall hearing anyone being killed with a baseball card. Thus, again our talk says one thing and the action of our money says another. Our money says we are okay with all the suffering of others as long as we get our drugs and have more guns than an army.

You have to understand one thing about our modern world. We are all connected. When you purchase something as simple as a pack of gum, you are affecting the whole world through resource purchases, energy use, and labor allocation. I know it would be very hard to monitor everything that goes into the myriad items that we buy on a weekly basis, but by being willing to consider the cost to others when making a purchase; you may find it better to do without. Think of the money you could save on self-storage.

By the way, I also meant to say that, while I partly agree with the outcome of the case, I don't agree with the way it is being used. Unfortunately, this is what happens with some laws. My thought is that instead of fighting to overturn the case, people who want to rebalance the situation should look at other legal means of getting equal power to everyday citizens. Consider some of the cases that helped unions counter balance the big corporations. Maybe look at the role of public figures versus private citizens with respect to freedom of speech. if the right can twist an idea to suit their need, so can the left. Good luck!

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Updated April 14th, 2012 at 11:19 PM by Gkarlives (Forgot something)