On the surface, the commentary of mine that was posted today on our Web site deals with the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Wisconsin Right to Life's legal challenge to the federal McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. Just beneath the surface is anxiety about corporate immortality and plutocracy.
The piece quotes Thomas Jefferson warning of the growing threat to the infant republic posed by the "aristocracy of our monied corporations." The better part of a century later, President Abraham Lincoln echoed Jefferson's fear.
In a November 21, 1864 letter to Colonel William F. Elkins, Lincoln wrote: "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
The warnings of both Jefferson and Lincoln ring truer than ever today.