Whose Voice?

The Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case turned campaign finance practically on its ear. In essence, the Court determined that laws against corporate contributions to political campaigns of any kind – candidate or issue – were Unconstitutional. Conservatives rejoiced while liberals wailed and gnashed their teeth. Conservatives praised new freedoms while liberals screamed that big corporations would now be able to “buy elections.”

This has come into sharper focus with MoveOn.org’s announced boycott of Target. Target Corp. donated $150,000 to Minnesota Forward, a conservative political group that touted backing for the rights of businesses and business owners. Unfortunately, the group also funds Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Their beef with him? He openly supports a federal amendment to the Constitution that would ban gay marriage.

Let’s forget for a moment that the Democrats, the very party backed by MoveOn.org and gay rights groups involved in the boycott, signed into law such gems as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act. That doesn’t matter. They’ll never boycott a Democrat for defending either of those laws. Gay rights groups never boycotted the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) for standing up and giving an impassioned, religiously-motivated speech in support of DOMA that called on both Democrats and Republicans to vote yes on the legislation, essentially calling GLBT people sick and wrong. The man never apologized, and gay groups never went after him.

My fellow GLBT people will think I’m crazy, though, for supporting Sarah Palin – whose first act as Alaska’s governor, by the way, was to veto a popular bill voted on by the people that would have ended state benefits to partners of same-sex employees. Yeah. I’m completely out of my mind. The Democrats continually promise us things that they never deliver on (and, in fact, work against our rights), while the few gains we’ve had have come from Republicans, but I’m the one who’s off my rocker.

Let’s talk a little about who’s really buying elections. Much has been made of financial firms and their donations to the Republican party (they totaled right around $88 million in 2008). Did you know, though, that financial firms spent $83 million on Democrats in the same year? Lawyers and law firms spent over $46 million on the Democrats in 2008. Labor unions spent around $6.5 million on the Democrats.

This year, the SEIU and AFL-CIO – the two biggest labor unions in the United States – have announced that they have joined forces to spend at least $88 million on Democratic candidates and causes during this election cycle. That’s two organizations. I fail to see how $150,000 from one corporation is “buying an election” for the Republicans. Bear in mind, too, that Unions pay members to go to political rallies and demonstrations. I highly doubt Target is doing that.

The Huffington Post has been in fine form with their assessment…rather than call out the disparities the way most self-respecting journalists would, they’re joining MoveOn.org in calling MSNBC “hypocrites” for refusing to sell airtime for an ad lambasting Target as the proverbial whipping post of corporate political donors. That’s rich. You don’t want special interests to give money to conservative causes, but you’ll defend liberal causes all day long. And you’ll damn to hell any private corporation – as MSNBC is – that sets rules about what kind of ads they will sell time for and what kind they will refuse.

Whose voice are we really hearing here? Whose voice is the loudest in this room? On Saturday, Glenn Beck hosted around 500,000 Americans who long to see an end to the hard-left liberal takeover of this country. Sarah Palin reminded us how precious our heroes are to us. Yet we have so-called “flash mobs” (*paid for by MoveOn.org, of course) singing to Target customers and employees about how “Target isn’t people” and “Best Buy is next!” because Target is, as they’d tell it, entirely homophobic.

Is the majority really being heard, or are we being drowned out by a violent, angry mob? I’m a lesbian, and I’m not boycotting Target. I’m not boycotting Best Buy, either – in fact, I’ll be there tomorrow to pick up my copy of my favorite band’s new release. I’m getting tired of special interest groups thinking that I should be subservient to their causes simply because of which category I’m in. Gay or straight, I’m still an individual and I’d like to believe I’m still allowed to think for myself.