A few months ago, I posted a proposal to curb campaign spending in anticipation of a Supreme Court case that threatened to strike curbs to campaign fundraising. The results of that case are in, and it ain't pretty. In a 5-4 decision, the justices voted to overturn a 63-year-old law that limited corporate spending on campaigns.
This is a deadly blow to a democratic process that is already near a crisis point. Already, many Americans — myself included — see too much corporate power in Washington. The Supreme Court's decision takes away one of the few hurdles corporations faced in their attempt to control the government, and the precedent it sets puts most of the other hurdles in danger as well.
To make matters worse, since this is a SCOTUS decision, nothing short of a radical shift in the Court or a Constitutional amendment can change it. We're stuck with this new world order.
One of the core issues at question is whether corporations should automatically enjoy all Constitutional rights. It seems almost self-evident to me that they shouldn't; the government should serve people above all else, and the interests of humans and corporations are often at odds (see my first link in this post). There's a fundamental understanding that free speech is not absolute: you can't yell "fire!" in a theater, nor can you order a hit on someone and claim you were just talking. It would not be inconsistent to put even more stringent restrictions on purely (or even mainly) commercial speech, especially given that it's not clear whether corporations should enjoy any first amendment rights at all.
About three years before the first major campaign finance law was enacted, an American author coined the phrase "banana republic" to describe the gripping power that fruit companies has over Honduras' government. That phrase is now synonymous with corrupt and ineffectual governments under which the many suffer for the benefit of a few tycoons. Too bad for me, I don't like bananas.