Corruption at any level has a corrosive and cancerous effect, but when you think about it, aren’t we all a bit self-interested and corrupt? In our everyday lives, humans constantly weigh right from wrong, self-interests versus the greater good. If we are all fallible, corruptibly human, why then do we expect politicians to act differently? In small ways, we all add to or pacify this ongoing corruption, either by not voting, looking the other way, or quickly forgetting like most Americans. The very companies and organizations we work for, are the guiltiest ones of perpetuating political corruption, yet we continue to go to work everyday, without question. Since the beginning of human civilization, corruption has proven an intractable dilemma, and one we must begrudgingly learn to live with. It is like a genetic disease, can only be controlled, but never completely eliminated.

Humans may find new methods to contain corruption at tolerable levels, but those with money and an agenda will find new and creative ways to circumvent that containment. Billionaires like David Koch and Sheldon Adelson do not need to bribe politicians in order to exercise their influence beyond a single vote, because the Citizens United decision affirms, such purchased influence does not constitute corruption. The sad reality of it is, the Citizens United decision just added fuel to the fire of endemic corruption. Simply reversing this court decision will not provide equal say over our political process for everyday voters. Most of the unlimited donations driving this spending come from super wealthy individuals, not corporate treasury accounts.

Overturning cases such as Buckley, Citizens and others would do little to prevent big money donations. The ultra wealthy would still be allowed to donate obscene amounts even if Citizens United is overturned, as long as they donate it themselves instead of by donating to a Political Action Committee. Additionally, the marriage between money and politics has long determined who is elected to public office. In all democracies, there is a small group of wealthy donors who serve as gatekeepers to higher office and political power, and will continue to do so no matter what impediments you place before them. Again, those who hold the purse strings, hold the power.

The most we can strive for is to try and contain and limit corruption, or the very least, it’s appearance. Unending wars, corruption, quid pro quo politics, these are all the unfortunate hallmarks of a complicated democracy in the modern age that we must live with. The wealthy will always find a way to translate their economic prowess into political power, but ensuring all citizens have an equal voice should remain our biggest concern. America’s greatest assets are her people; all of her people, and our ultimate goal should be a nation where the strength of your voice does not depend on the size of your bank account.

What are your final thoughts and opinions? 

I appreciate you reading my independent study blog, as well as your questions.


-Brian Ardizzoni


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