The problem with being pious in politics is that piety has a way of backfiring – and causing people to snicker at you.
Take Citizens United, for example. It’s a right-wing political outfit that hails itself as a righteous champion of free speech – as long as corporations are the ones speaking. It brought the lawsuit that the Supreme Court used in January to decree that tongueless, voiceless corporate entities have a First Amendment “right” to free speech – just like humans. Of course, these lifeless constructs can’t speak, but the Supremes fixed that by declaring that money is the corporate form of speech, therefore unlimited sums of corporate funds can be poured into elections, allowing these speechless special interests to drown out the voices of actual voters.
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The vast majority of Americans realized that this is both ridiculous and outrageous, and a grassroots group in Wisconsin responded by setting up a Facebook page to mock the decision and rally public opposition to it. They called their campaign, “Citizens United Against Citizens United.” Clever! But it PO’d the pious outfit, which promptly took legal action to… well, to stifle the free speech rights of the Wisconsinites.
Unfortunately, the underfunded locals had no money to fight this frivolous legal ploy, so they had to back off. But not too far – they changed the name to “United Citizens Against Citizens United.”
Still, the original name was too good to waste, so Public Citizen, the national corporate watchdog organization that has a very effective legal division, created its own website and Facebook page using the name – daring the pious bully to pick on someone its own size. The bully has not – and you can see the website for yourself at www.CitizensUnitedAgainstCitizensUnited.org.
“Uniting Actual People: Public Citizen Battles Citizens United Online,” Public Citizen News, May/June 2010.