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Now, we must consider the forthcoming celebrations in Washington for President Obama’s January inauguration. Really, we must.
Unfortunately, we have to discuss this national, profoundly-symbolic, public event, because Obama advisors are urging him to privatize it! They want him to let favor-seeking corporations put up tens of millions of dollars to pay for assorted inaugural balls, concerts, and parties. As Rob Weissman of the always-vigilant watchdog group, Public Citizen, succinctly put it: “This is a patently horrible idea.”
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In 2009, Obama rightly rejected corporate donations for his first inaugural, but his advisors are now making a perverse argument that because this is a civic event, “corporate citizens” should be invited to buy into the dance, just as they do when buying naming rights to public museums and ballparks. Come on, Obama – we’d expect Mitt Romney to allow that, but someone needs to shout-out a loud “NO – NOT ONE STEP FURTHER” to the rampaging commercialization of all things public.
The inauguration of an American president is a uniquely, public ceremony, symbolizing our people’s commitment to the democratic transference of power. To stain that with crass special-interest money is an insult to the very idea of America. And a corporate-purchased inaugural would be compounded this time, because it will take place on January 21. That very day will mark the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United decree that corporations should be allowed to buy our elections.
If Obama does give in to the money, he should have to take the oath of office in a suit and tie emblazoned – like a NASCAR driver – with the logos of his sponsoring corporations. To tell Obama to keep his inaugural corporate-free, call the White House comment line: 202-456-1111.
“Obama Considers Corporate Funding for Inauguration,” www.wsj.com, November 22, 2012.