THE BLOG

The Enemy Within: The Supreme Court Declares War Against the American People

03/24/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Sherman Yellen Screenwriter, Playwright, Lyricist, author of forthcoming memoir of a New York boyhood, "Spotless."

There is nothing a shoe bomber or a terrorist on a jihad could do that would endanger and destroy our democracy as much as the Supreme Court has done yesterday in its decision to allow corporations unlimited means to influence political outcomes through the use of their unlimited funds.

It is now clear that we have more to fear from Chief Justice Roberts; Samuel Alito and their brethren than we do from Osama Bin Laden. Full body checks of the Justices should be made every time they try to enter a public building for who knows what anti-democracy weapons they are concealing under their judicial gowns?

With one ruling they have knocked down the underpinnings of democratic government, handing government on a platter to the huge corporations who will use it as a weapon to keep citizens in their place -- a very low place -- as the corporate powers reap greater and greater profits by having more and more influence over government decisions. The few restraints that we had to keep corporate money from corrupting the electoral process have been removed with one blow. One can envision a world like that shown in the old German expressionist movie "Metropolis" where the people are turned into an organized machine to turn profits for the powers that be in Fritz Lang's prescient view of the future. Well, the future is now.

I suppose we should have been prepared for this by the Court's appointment of "W" as President -- usurping the power of the people -- leading to this new and even more horrendous judgment, one the Republican appointees on the court chose to make in order to insure the permanent return of the Republicans to power. This was not a judicial decision -- it was more an act of war against the American people, an act that has few rivals in our history.

We are always looking for the enemies outside us -- forgetting that there are enemies within. The only hope is in President Obama finding his missing spine and the Congress taking whatever steps they can to nullify this act in any small way they can, and to do so quickly since time is fleeting, the next election will be flooded with corporate money used to defeat any progressive candidate. I doubt if much can be done until the character of the court has been changed proving once again that the soft vetting of the candidates for a seat on the court -- with the notable exception of Judge Bork -- has brought us to this new low in American democracy.

Clearly I am no Constitutional scholar -- as our President is -- but I can smell a conspiracy against the Constitution as well as the next guy. I've had seven decades of living to develop that skill. This violent insult to the American people (and violent it is) is in the Court's decision that corporations (forget labor unions which hold no power and are granted the same rights as the corporations only as a cover for the Court's decision) can make unrestricted contributions to campaigns in the name of the first amendment -- free speech.

In the grammar of the Constitution, "I speak, you speak, he speaks, she speaks, they speak, we speak" when we support a candidate during an election with our contributions and voices, but corporations do not speak when they contribute to politicians, they bribe, they corrupt, and they destroy the liberties that we have enjoyed. They are no more evil than a snake is evil when it bites -- it is just part of the nature of the beast, and this beast has no trust in the judgment of the people -- only in the power of corporate wealth.

Yes, America has thrived materially under its entrepreneurial genius, but we go to a Thomas Edison for light bulbs, not decisions about life and death. Henry Ford was the great automotive genius, but he was also a bigot who published vile tracts. Wisdom does not come from better engineering, the mechanical genius only serves us better products. And this Court decision is a vile product.

This has been a sad, bitter day in January 2010 for this country. "W" and his Daddy sure knew what they were doing when they offered these men up to the supine Congress for confirmation -- they were insuring the perpetuation of their party's power at any price. The Court has now become the new Enron, only it will not collapse of its own corruption but perpetuate its misdeeds for years to come -- unless -- we the people find our voice and our spines, together with our President.