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.
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