Earth Doctor / Climate Troubadour

Democracy is Not For Sale

Let me tell you a story, about the USA,
How our Supreme Court tried to betray.
But we called to tell you, baby you got mail,
Because our democracy is not for sale!

Citizens United, now McCutcheon too,
Representation, for just a few.
But We the People are  the holy grail,
And our democracy is not for sale!

You can ask Chicago, you can ask LA,
Ask San Francisco, or Philadelphia PA.
Denver and Boston, we are on your trail,
Cause our democracy is not for sale!

In Oklahoma, in Baltimore,
Deep in the heart of Texas, they’re really getting sore.
Everybody’s waiting until you exhale,
Because our democracy is not for sale!

They know in New York and in DC,
In Albuquerque, and in Albany;
From California down to Coco Beach,
Everybody knows that money isn’t speech!

So Mr. Roberts, we all can see
This is corruption in the first degree.
We love our country, and we will not fail,
Because democracy is not for sale,
Because democracy is not for sale!

Lyrics ©Doug Hendren 2014 Original parody of “Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry. Thanks to Public Citizen / for images of public demonstrations.

What’s it about? Since 1980, the United States has become the most economically unequal society among the industrial nations of the world. The concentration of wealth in the top 1% has reached unprecedented proportions, while our prosperous middle class has all but disappeared. As the majority of Americans are being excluded from our economy, so we have become excluded from the political process as well. As extreme wealth has captured our media, so it has also captured our Congress and our courts, threatening the very legitimacy of the U.S. government. As dramatic and anti-democratic as these developments have been, they have been pushed even farther by recent Supreme Court decisions: The infamous 2010 “Citizens United” decision established the doctrine of “corporate personhood”, summarized by the twin assertions that “Corporations are people”, and that “Money is speech”. This new doctrine has effectively deregulated campaign financing, empowering wealthy individuals and corporate interests to control the course of state and federal elections, disenfranchising ordinary voters. The 2014 “McCutcheon” decision has further deregulated campaign finance. Under the direction of today’s Supreme Court, the U.S. has changed from a democracy to an oligarchy ; the average citizen no longer has any tangible input into the U.S. political process. The consequences of this political coup are particularly dire in the context of global climate change: While much of the world still looks to the United States for international leadership, our energy policy is securely captured by oil, gas and coal interests, preventing us from taking swift and decisive action which might salvage a livable planet for our children. The doctrines espoused by the “Roberts court” represent a dismantling of the checks and balances established by our Founding Fathers, and are a grave threat to both the nation and the world. In a dissenting opinion in 2010, Supreme Court Justice Stevens wrote that the “Citizens United” ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation”, fearing the decision would do damage to the Supreme Court itself. His fears were well-founded indeed. Overturning “Citizens United” and the doctrine of corporate personhood looks difficult. Fortunately, however, we have many modern-day heroes hard at work organizing this effort. Add your voice to the chorus! Find out more at these sites: Public Citizen /

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