OPINION: Unbought and unbossed

Published On: Nov 05 2012 03:06:10 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 06 2012 12:56:53 PM EST

I am sure Congresswoman Chisholm would not mind if we resurrected her 1972 Presidential race slogan “unbought and unbossed” as a much-needed battle cry in the fight for an unfettered, fair democratic process.  

Beyond the resurgence of Klan and supremacists activity and recruitment and targeted voter suppression of minority communities reminiscent of the 1950’s and 60’s, the most troubling conduct I’ve seen this election season arises out of irresponsible Super PAC spending and the political “activism” of several CEOs and corporate presidents.  These wayward “corporate leaders” have employed misleading, threatening and intimidating tactics to pressure their employees to vote for the candidates they endorse, rather than the candidates their employees choose to represent the best interests of hard working Americans– that conduct in more sensible days was illegal.   

One CEO bully even required his employees to attend a political rally without compensation while, at the same time, closing down operations and suspending pay for the day.   Deeply disturbing is that one of the Presidential candidates (i.e., Romney) has endorsed and encouraged this behavior, perfectly content to use coerced workers as unpaid props in his bid for the nation’s highest office.

Despite the faulty reasoning of Citizens United, this is not the freedom of speech our founders imagined.  Indeed, upending the undue political influence and tyranny of royals and elites is exactly what the Revolutionary War and all of the founding documents for our nation, including the Bill of Rights, were about.  The goal was to expand the freedoms of ordinary individuals and to limit the power of establishments like the monarchy and state-supported churches.   Had they been alive in this era, I am most certain our founders would not have considered multinational corporate conglomerates and the corporate elite to be among the “ordinary citizens” whose freedom of speech rights needed protection.  Rather, it is far more likely that such corporate powers would have been listed as part of the “establishment” that needed clear limitations on its ability to infringe the political freedom of the rest of us. 

A quick read of the few letters that have made the news shows exactly why.  These are bullies of the worst kind, coercing and threatening the livelihood of the very hardworking citizens who have toiled day-in and day-out to build the mansions and lifestyles of their ungrateful bosses.  That is, unless the employee subjects agree to support the political candidate who has promised to give the most spoils to these spoiled kings and forget the needs and talents of the 99 percent. 

This is not simply an issue of partisan politics, this is about the principles upon which our nation was founded and the democracy so many have fought and died to protect.  This is not the kind of conduct that should be met by merely uttering an interjection and shaking one’s head.  Everyone should be concerned about the long-term ramifications of legalizing such unfair political practices.  Even if the Supreme Court got it wrong, in the revolutionary tradition of our nation’s founders, we, ordinary citizens must make it right.  We, too, can exercise our freedom of speech and our freedom of spending to ensure that such conduct has consequences for the bullies who perpetuate it.  And, we can reward the many good corporate “citizens” that are wise enough to respect the democratic ideals of our nation and the self-evident truths that all of us are equal and endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights that are simply not for sale or subject to coercion.   

To that end, I have compiled below information I found about some of the CEO bullies currently in the news, and I offer two sample form letters that you are welcome to share, use and modify to express your own outrage and commitment to ensuring our Democracy remains by, for and about the people:



Dear [CEO Bully]:

I am writing to inform you that I am [now a former consumer of your company’s products and services] or [using my power as a consumer of your biggest clients to ensure that you don’t keep their business].   Your attempts to destroy the democratic principles upon which our country was founded means that I can no longer [purchase/support companies that purchase] any of your products/services and help you fund your political machine.  I do not believe that corporations are people and I do not believe that your position in corporate America entitles you to have more votes than the ONE our founders allotted you.  Your tactic of pressuring your employees to vote for a particular candidate is despicable and un-American.

What can I do?  What am I going to do?  I am researching your company and all of the products and services you provide.  I am contacting the companies with which you do business and I am conscientiously making sure that my hard earned dollars do not end up in your political coffers.  I am publishing a list of your products and services along with a copy of this letter on all of my social networks and I am asking all of my friends, family and colleagues to join me in standing up for our democracy.   I am also publishing a list of the products and services of your competitors and am encouraging everyone I know to make sure there will be jobs at those companies for any of your employees who decide to abandon your misguided ship and your unpatriotic political pressure.

Your freedom to speak ends where my freedom and the freedom of my fellow Americans to vote our own conscience begins.  Irrespective of what the Supreme Court has decided, I will make sure you hear what we – strong, proud and empowered American citizens – have decided.   Our democracy is not for sale.  You have no business sending misleading, threatening and intimidating messages to the people who rely on you for employment in an attempt to unfairly influence their political decisions.   If that is your choice, then my choice is to make sure your most prosperous days are behind you.  My choice is to spend my dollars with companies that treat their employees with respect and fairness and that do not undermine the democratic ideals that have made this country one of the greatest nations on Earth.  




Dear [Corporate Customer of Company Headed by CEO Bully]:

I am one of your customers and am troubled to learn that you do business with [COMPANY].  The CEO of [COMPANY] has engaged in tactics designed to bully its employees into voting for his/her political choices rather than their own.  Such actions are a major affront to our democracy and I stand with others in denouncing this behavior.  I have pledged not to provide financial support to [COMPANY] and I do not want to do so inadvertently by supporting businesses that support [COMPANY].  Therefore, I am asking you to divest your company of its business dealings with [COMPANY].   Please use instead the products and services [COMPANY’s] competitors provide. 

At the very least, I request that you publicly denounce [CEO Bully] for his/her despicable and unpatriotic behavior and that you personally write to [CEO Bully] to inform him/her that his/her political bullying may jeopardize [COMPANY’s] ability to do business with you.

Please respond and let me know that you stand with me to protect the freedom and democracy for which so many have sacrificed so much so that I know I can continue to stand as a loyal customer with you.

Thank you,