Martha Stone, Communications Director for America Promise, recently penned an op-ed with TruthOut about the need for a citizen-led “uprising” against the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling. Martha believes that through her work with American Promise, she is honoring her parents’ service in the last century, and modeling acts of engaged citizenship for her children who will inherit this one. Of the need to overturn Citizens United, she writes:
When we talk about “overturning Citizens United,” it sounds like we want to kill puppies. After all, what could be more American: citizens… united… eating apple pie? When we replace the word Citizens with the word Corporations, we have a clearer picture of what the Supreme Court actually did to American democracy in 2010. That year, our Supreme Court granted Constitutional rights of free speech to corporations and super PACs. Now, with unprecedented legal protection, money does talk — without limit — to frame the national conversation, manipulate our elections, bully our elected representatives, and perhaps, even convince us to act against our national self-interest.
What comes next? The 28th amendment to the Constitution. Right now, with over 80 percent backing of all Americans, citizen leaders have been successful in establishing broad-based, and deeply rooted support to limit big money in elections with reform resolutions across the nation: 750 cities and towns, 18 states (2 more on Election Day 2016 alone), hundreds of supports it in Congress, millions of citizen signatures, and traction in the mainstream press. This is the action of local citizens who have had it with inertia, are done with half measures from elected officials, and are fed up with the lack of recourse when public servants ignore their constituents in order to dance with the special interests who brung ’em.
We know that our democracy no longer reflects the principles of equality outlined in our history books due in large part to the presence of unlimited, undocumented, and unelected power from global corporate wealth. The loss of control over our own lives and our national destiny has been diminishing American exceptionalism and we can feel what that has wrought.
With a 28th Amendment, we can amend our Constitution to ensure that people — not money — govern and “have the right to set reasonable spending limits in our elections.” All other rights, honors, and privileges flow from the next amendment.