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A Sane Proposal for Jobs and the Economy

The Lonely Job of Saving American Democracy

category_bug_politics.gif I started this post several times yesterday with a long list of what is wrong with our country, our culture, our politics, our government and the terrible direction in which it is all taking us. But if I know TGB readers as well as I think I do, you're up on this stuff; the list would be repetitious.

And anyway, it was only in introduction to telling you about two recent political moves that are beautiful, romantic, starry-eyed ideas of how America should conduct its public affairs.

When you read about them, you will say, “I thought that's how the country is supposed to work,” and you would be correct. But as we know, our politicians, business titans, media, other leaders and a lot of voters too have fallen into a moral and ethical morass out of which we cannot seem to climb.

So let us today, praise one of these good people who are doing some wonderful windmill tilting for us. (Tomorrow I'll tell you about the second one.)

“Corporations are people, my friend,” says Republic president candidate Mitt Romney and against all reason, the Supreme Court backs him. They invented it with the Citizens United decision of 2010 giving corporations an unfettered, First Amendment right to spend as much money as they want on election campaigns without disclosure.

In his or her bones, any sane person knows this is crazy, truly crazy but sanity has been suspended. Enter Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders who has introduced a joint resolution in Congress calling for an amendment to the Constitution to overturn Citizens United. As he explained on the Senate floor earlier this month:

”When the Supreme Court says that for purposes of the First Amendment, corporations are people, that writing checks from the company's bank account is constitutionally-protected speech and that attempts by the federal government and states to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, when that occurs, our democracy is in grave danger.”

No shit. The proposed amendment states:

• Corporations are not persons with constitutional rights equal to real people.
• Corporations are subject to regulation by the people.
• Corporations may not make campaign contributions.
• Congress and states have the power to regulate campaign finances.

Actually, all four of those statements should be self-evident and once upon a time in America, they were. That they are no longer should worry everyone a great deal. The people's voice – yours and mine - has been stolen by the Supreme Court and handed to the highest bidder.

You can watch Senator Sanders' speech introducing the resolution below or read it here [pdf]. And the full text – three pages - of the resolution is here.

At Sanders' Senate website there is a petition in favor of the amendment. Of course, it is a lost cause – a beautiful dream of a lost cause. But that does not mean we shouldn't give it our whole-hearted support.

It is an elder in Congress – Senator Sanders turned 70 in September – who refuses to let this terrible Court decision stand unchallenged. We old folks need to keep reminding the young what is worth fighting for even when the odds against it are high. In fact, that is when it is most important to fight back.

Tomorrow I will tell you about another bit of crazy, wonderful windmill tilting in Washington, D.C.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Kristine Scholz: Only Hearts Make a Home

Comments

Sanders is definitely one of my heroes as is Elizabeth Warren. There are others. Our legislator from Oregon, Pete DeFazio is another, Dennis Kucinich always stands up for the people. Probably most (okay maybe not most but many) states have such conscientious leaders. There just aren't enough of them. Power is so corrupting. And I am constantly hearing of some hero of mine where it turns out there was just a little something more that taints the image. I suppose we all have those things (most anyway), but when someone is in a power position to have the corruption in whatever form taints their ability to do good.

I signed the petition on Sanders site to save Social Security and posted his web site on my Facebook page. I hope others will do the same, thanks for the info Ronni.

Oh if only we had more like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren what a wonderful country this could be.

I signed the petition.

We need 99 more Senators like Bernie Sanders -- and at least 100 like him in the House of Representatives.

I'm having a terrible time trying to understand what has happened to American citizens today and why they could vote for some of the people that they do ... sighhh!

Ronni--I was chagrined to receive an email from Congressman Mike Pompeo saying, "Thank you for contacting me with your support for H.J.Res. 78." in response to my message to him that Companies are not people and should not have the same rights. Obviously, I sent him another message with the title, "I do not support H.J. Res. 78!!!!!!!" and further elucidation in the text of the message. Grrrrr!

Ronni:
When you wrote "what is wrong with our country, our culture, our politics, our government " , you have opened a Pandora's box of horrors. We could write a book about how this country is going down the toilet as our brave legislators hold the flush handle. The corruption of power is inescapable and I don't believe there is any antidote or escape. We've had our time in the sun and now, like England, Spain, Rome and Athens we must revert back to secondary status.

Between the corps as people, threats on Social Security, provisions to imprison people indefinitely without trial, fracking, deep disappointment in some of Obama's actions and the terrible collection of presidential candidates spewing their truly awful views about poor people, immigrants, no higher taxes for the wealthy, etc. I am pretty darned restless and looking forward to more protests and social action which I hope will begin to create some real positive change here.

(I think there are a couple of letters I did not delete lurking somewhere here--ignore them)

I signed and am forwarding to friends. Thank you.

Count me in--just signed the petition and am passing it on. Thank you, Ronni, for this information. Am anxious to see what's in store for tomorrow.

I'm late to weigh in on this one but couldn't agree more. Will sign the petition and tell people I know. I never dreamed that at this point in my life I would be living in a country that belongs to the ultra-rich and corporations. Oh, I forgot--they're persons now!

I've always acknowledged that money is powerful, but I honestly didn't think it could buy government "of the people, by the people and for the people". I fear mythster may be right that the sun is setting on democracy in the U.S. HOW did we let this happen? More to the point, how can it be stopped? There are many more of us, the 99%, than there are of the 1%. Somehow we must convince the Independents and the few Republicans left who have a conscience that what the right-wing is doing is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

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