A satirical prose poem… or is it? In memory of Tom Engebretson, Garlicky Poet/Activist, 1943-2011.
I think most of us wonder now and then about some of the dubious decisions the United States Supreme Court has made throughout its history. My initial trepidation of the Supreme Court started with the 1893 Nix v. Hedden ruling, where I learned that the Supreme Court actually decided that the tomato, which is botanically a fruit, was really a vegetable. Yes that’s right, the Supreme Justices were swayed to reclassify a tomato from a fruit to a vegetable so it could be taxed like a turnip. This even made the turnips uneasy.
Then there was that Bush v. Gore decision in 2000. Remember that one… after how many wars and how many jobs shipped overseas? That was the Supreme Court decision where the Justices ruled that George “Dubya” Bush should become President of the United States because his Daddy was President once, so “Dubya” must have some good political DNA in his blue blood, and therefore, Dubya would bring integrity back to the White House, eliminate government surpluses, reclassify Social Security and Medicare as welfare, stop global warming and prevent the polar ice caps from melting. Good decision.
Then in 2005 Kelo v. City of New London the court ruled that a city can take your house and your land away from you and give it to a mall developer because a mall developer wanted to build a mall exactly where you lived. Their argument for this was that the mall would produce more tax revenue for the city than your lowly old house and property where you had lived most of your life, raised your kids and paid all you property taxes on time in good faith as a good citizen should. How about them apples? And you thought immanent domain was for railroads, freeways, schools, libraries and such. You know, things “for the good of the people”… not things for the good of greedy developers.
This decision was a huge “game changer”. It opened the door for developers, including oil and fracking gas companies, across the country to politically influence city councils, and the like, to condemn the homes of long time property tax paying residents and hand their land over to developers at low ball prices. In New York, a billionaire developer who was part owner of the New York Nets professional basketball team got New York City to do exactly that on a massive scale so he and his corporate cronies could build an 18,000 seat arena complex for their basketball team in Brooklyn. Now that was definitely a game changer. All for the good of society… and the ticket sales for the New York Nets.
Then in 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission the Supreme Court basically declared a corporation had the same rights as a person and therefore a corporation could contribute as much money as it wanted for political campaigns of elected officials and etc. There has been a long history concerning the rights of Corporations v. Us “Commoners” in the courts. Legal battles fought all the way up to the Supreme Court and the corporations have gained power, influence and money at every decision along the way. Money talks and peons walk, so get used to walking my friends.
So what’s next? Well, after this last ruling, I can now almost envision Exxon running for President. Not the ex-president of Exxon running for President (like now), but the actual Exxon Corporation running for President with maybe Monsanto as its VP running mate. Then how about Apple and HP for State Senators… Oracle for Congress-thing? Sound crazy? Well let’s laugh now, because some day it may not be so funny. All for greed, all for money. Maybe we should start marching instead of talking and walking?
© Edward Ferri, Jr.
Biography: Edward Ferri, Jr. grew up on a "non profit" farm in the remote hills of California where "Bailing wire, gumption, and spit" were the "I-Apps" of the day. He is a graduate of SJSU and works as an mechanical engineer to supplement his poetry writing. He has been published in Eskimo Pie, Lucidity Poetry Journal and the Muddy River Poetry Review. He first realized the beauty of Denali in the rear view mirror. He was leaving to meet Carol and never returned.