Dionne: We are at a dangerous crossroads
I came across Dionne's OpEd piece this morning in The Washington Post. Certainly, he is sounding the alarm, and with good cause. We stand at a crossroads with this Supreme Court decision, he claims, which is so important, so decisive, that it is alarming to see it going unnoticed:
President Obama's health-care speech on Wednesday will be only the second most consequential political moment of the week.
Judged by the standard of an event's potential long-term impact on our public life, the most important will be the argument before the Supreme Court (on the same day, as it happens) about a case that, if decided wrongly, could surrender control of our democracy to corporate interests.
This sounds melodramatic. It's not. The court is considering eviscerating laws that have been on the books since 1907 and 1947 -- in two separate cases -- banning direct contributions and spending by corporations in federal election campaigns. Doing so would obliterate precedents that go back two and three decades.
The full impact of what the court could do in Citizens United v. Federal ElectionCommission has only begun to receive the attention it deserves. Even the word "radical" does not capture the extent to which the justices could turn our political system upside down. Will it use a case originally brought on a narrow issue to bring our politics back to the corruption of the Gilded Age
Clearly, this is an extremely important Supreme court decision pending, which will have civic resonance in a major way, for good or ill.
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