If I were ExxonMobil or Halliburton, I’d be watching a certain congressional race with great interest. According to the Supreme Court ruling early this year in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, corporations have the same rights as human beings in regard to campaign financing. So now a Maryland PR firm is breaking more new ground by making a bid to be the first corporation to run for U.S. Congress: Murray Hill Inc. has announced it will try to compete in this fall’s Republican primary for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.
Although the firm often works for progressive causes such as labor unions, conservatives may just have to vote for it for the sake of precedent. After all, if, as many conservatives claim, private business is better than government at pretty much everything, why not elect a corporation to be in government?
Murray Hill’s promise to “eliminate the middleman” offers immediate gains in electoral efficiency. Instead of dumping piles of money into the campaign coffers of a fickle human who may only represent some of their interests, now a corporation can buy democracy direct at huge discounts. And they pass the savings on to you! (You’re a stockholder, right?)
No longer will corporations need to bankroll overpaid lobbyists to draft legislation that underpaid congressional staffers—or, gasp, grassroots activists—might monkey with. When corporations take office, lobbyists are the staffers—instead of having to wait a few years to change jobs like they do now.
But wait—there’s more! Instead of wasting time calling elected representatives to advocate on this or that issue, you the citizen can save yourself the trouble, knowing that your small-change views don’t matter at all anymore. You can use that time watching TV, updating your Facebook status, or shopping online. (Or, more likely, working a second job to pay for health care, while Senator Cigna continues to filibuster the human majority’s efforts to build on modest initial reforms toward true universal health coverage.)
Still not convinced? Still clinging to the bigoted, outdated views enshrined in such screeds as the 19-year-old Supreme Court ruling in Austin vs. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which cited “the corrosive and distorting effects of immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public’s support for the corporation’s political ideas”?
What shocking corporophobia! Where do such views end? Separate drinking fountains for corporate CEOs?
If you would get off your high horse and walk a mile in corporate moccasins, you would know that corporate CEOs who buy legislation don’t use drinking fountains—they sip from golden goblets filled with the water of glaciers melted by global climate change. Also, they don’t wear moccasins—they wear Gucci wingtips. Or, on casual Fridays, cowboy boots made from the hides of endangered animals. So please, try not to be so intolerant of corporations you simply don’t understand, just because they’re “different” from you.
The Supreme Court says we’re all the same, and had the open-minded vision to see past decades of narrow-minded precedent, forging ahead toward a glorious future of equal electoral rights for both individual human beings and obscenely wealthy and powerful corporations.
So let’s follow the historic election of our first African-American president with another historic election: our first (openly) corporate member of Congress. Your satisfaction is 100 percent guaranteed!*
(*Some restrictions apply. Rather a lot, really. Best not to think about it.)
Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the Web editor for Sojourners and a photographer whose work can be seen at www.ryanrodrickbeiler.com.