Criticizing the United States Supreme Court, or worse yet, telling it what we think it should do, has always seemed like so much tilting at windmills. Supreme Court Justices do not listen to editorial writers to say nothing of citizens. So there’s little point in lamenting the Court’s disheartening ruling this week striking down still further limits on spending in political races. What is need, indeed required, is doing something about it.
What’s really hard for us is appreciation for the effort to protect free speech in America and the realization that in this case more speech, in the form of more money, may in fact be distancing our government from the vast majority of the people it ostensibly serves. Big money from a small group of donors has been the biggest factor in a government that is dysfunctional when it isn’t doing actual harm. What’s needed is a new model; lots of information about who is giving how much to whom, vigorous debate across media platforms about how to work around both donors and willing recipients, and consensus that until the tide turns, as it eventually will, the system is broken and we have to change the way we function within it.