Friday, August 10, 2012

Admend* (for Amend*)

When the Supreme Court upheld Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010, some liberal fans of the First Amendment may have felt that their raison d'etre had now been amended past the point of no return. Admendment is definitely a typo, but leading with an ad like that, it actually seems to reflect the Court's thinking on "corporate speech" more effectively than the conventional spelling would. Perhaps the word free should withdraw from the race as well. Political speech these days seems to be anything but free; in fact, it often looks like only the very rich can afford it. When mean-seeming right-wingers like Rush Limbaugh rule the radio waves, while well-meaning left-leaners like Air America flounder and fail, it's easy enough to assume that all liberals might be in favor of "equal time" regulations or the erstwhile Fairness Doctrine, as well as a Supreme Court that doesn't regard corporations as "people" who are endowed with "rights." However, such an assumption would not be entirely correct. For proof of this, we need to look no further than the fact that free-speech guru Nat Hentoff has argued that the Court's decision on Citizens United was the right one. Also, in the Jan. 31, 2011, edition of The Nation there appeared a piece entitled: "Debating 'Citizens United'" by Floyd Abrams and Burt Neuborne. Abrams, in contrast to Neuborne and the editorial staff of The Nation itself, claims that "the opinion was based on the First Amendment" and that this point "seemed only to add to [the dissenters'] sense of insult. Some dealt with that uncomfortable reality by simply ignoring what the opinion said..." Neuborne counters: "At the rate the Court is going, soon we will be able to be adopted by a corporation. Maybe even marry one. Until then, I'm afraid we'll just have to settle for being f****d by them." This is not an easy case to crack, but intelligent liberals (and conservatives) can clearly disagree. There were 17 cases of Admend* found in OhioLINK today, and 316 in WorldCat.

(Activists of the Ukrainian women's movement FEMEN shout "Hillary, help us!" and "Strong women - strong country" during their topless protest at the Hayatt Hotel in Kiev, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was staying during a visit, July 2, 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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