A federal judge in March ruled that a new breed of political money machine - superPACs - can get involved in Pennsylvania elections.
Translated, this means these organizations can use an unlimited amount of union dues money.
These political action committees are wellknown on the federal political landscape. The latest ruling will amplify the dominant role unions play in elections.
To be clear, there's nothing wrong with unions getting involved in elections.
But nothing is unanimous in politics, elections, and campaigns.
And most of the time that is the approach attached to use of union monies in political campaigns.
In many of Pennsylvania's public unions, as much as 12 percent of the dues money from the members is going for politics through these superPACs.
And organizations make no bones about it. Their stated mission is to displace Republicans and elect Democrats.
Again, that is their right. Politics is tough business, with winners and losers, favorites and enemies.
But suppose you belong to a union and you don't happen to agree with the mission, whether it be for or against Republicans or Democrats.
How do you feel about your dues money, without your consent, being spent in a way that doesn't match your wishes.
Maybe that's fine for some people, but it strikes us as a real infringement on freedom of speech. It assumes we all think alike if we belong to certain affiliations, and no rational person believes that's true.
And the political messages funded through these superPACs tend to be blunt-edged verbal weaponry over the television and radio.
It certainly doesn't promote the kind of political and campaign activity that makes for a rational voting decision by free-thinking Americans who are supposed to be the foundation of our democracy.
- Williamsport Sun-Gazette