For a class on fundraising, we were asked if everything has become politized, this is my take.
Since January 21st, 2010, the use of private, public, and corporate money, and thereby voice in politics has risen tremendously with the 5 to 4 decent of Citizens United V FEC. The purpose of this unique tool has developed a ubiquitous arena for political marketing, messaging, and activism.
Wealthy people and multimillion and billion dollar corporations involved in politics is nothing new, from time to time we call it bribery. However, reality has it that these weapons, whether you like it or not, exist. If we are to win elections, and therefore create an ability to change these rules, in the current domain, we must play with all of the provisions of the contemporary game. If a sword fashioned of dollars and checks are trying to cut you down, then cast a shield of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
Through the 19th and 20th century laws regulating political contributions varied back and forward. The 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision allowed wealthy individuals to sponsor personal campaigns. 527’s, soft money, functional equivalency, and other tools were created to circumvent the FEC.
In 2010 Citizens United, Free speech, and following case law proclaimed Citizens United, Thonos, ruler of all. Politics and business are forever intertwined as long as Congress allows.
As laws do, our societal norms are reflecting the policies established by the case law. Boycotts and reactions to significant business moves are merely people using the new tools to fight for what they believe. Our systems and institutions sufficiently work when they empower people to use them.
We are entering a crossroads in American history. Down one road, we continue to use models of fundraising and contemporary campaigning, and down the other, we will use public financing of elections. Either way, the people decide. Groups like OpenSecrets.com have made political contributions transparent; this makes it easier in some cases to create change, while in others the staggering numbers on the site make it feel impracticable.
Recently Motorola sent a ballot to all stockholders asking them to vote. The poll came with recommendations from the board. The company asked people to vote for a raise for the board and to approve a new vendor for accounting. Motorola then asked members to vote against ethical supply chains, a human rights position, and transparent lobbying efforts. Since most cell companies have these same policies, this means the cellphones used to catch people in authority positions in America, and around the world, acting racist, or just capturing family photos, are most likely created by some form of slave and child labor. That eco-friendly car has parts mined by children. CNN’s Nima Elbagir has recently uncovered child labor being used to extract minerals and compounds for batteries, and people sold into slavery in Lybia. If people don’t get involved in business matters, who will? If businesses aren’t doing as much as they can for the communities that support them, then what real good are they? Do you think folks would buy the next iPhone if it came with the warning, “made with tiny bleeding hands?”
For a lot of people, business and politics are like water and oil, they shouldn’t mix, and when they do, your engine explodes. Well no, they’re nothing alike, one is complicated policy surrounding our protections, human rights, and decency, the other is an internal combustion engine, stop making faulty metaphors, they’re dangerous.
The adage, “the whole damn system is guilty as hell,” is the would-be mantra of elevating genuine people to control business for the sake of the justice. In a capitalist society that means exercising the levers of power in that domain. That power is dollars. We must buy stock and vote on the boards of companies afflicting human rights and other wrongdoing. These companies are intricate and international. If we cannot stop them by legislation then, we must do so with our pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. To answer your question; everything has always been political. It’s the management of the country, and when in the lead, most parts of the world. The differentiation is our ability to recognize this power as a population. Historically the affirmation happens at the equilibrium of wealth and power inequality, however, with accessibility through technology at our fingertips, thanks to innocent children and slaves, we may see it sooner for the small monthly installments of $29.99.
Yesterday the resolutions went for a vote at Motorola Solutions Inc.
We will see what the fiduciary conscious of the board decide.
Image provided by CNN.
Opinion by Matthew L. Killen
Elbagir, N. (n.d.). CNN’s Nima Elbagir on slavery, child labor, and reporting in the age of Trump. Retrieved from https://www.cjr.org/q_and_a/nima-elbagir-cnn.php
In the Trump era, big business is becoming more political. (2017, November 30). Retrieved from https://www.economist.com/business/2017/11/30/in-the-trump-era-big-business-is-becoming-more-political
Killen, M. L. (2018, April 28). Motorola Board Pushes to Vote Against Human Rights Director Position. Retrieved from http://killenmedia.com/motorola-board-pushes-to-vote-against-human-rights-director/#.WvzXHRMvzOQ
Motorola Solutions Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://insiders.morningstar.com/trading/board-of-directors.action?t=0P000003PN&culture=en-US
OpenSecrets.org. (n.d.). Money-in-Politics Timeline. Retrieved from https://www.opensecrets.org/resources/learn/timeline