Friday, May 25, 2012

Elect Barrett and then work on reversing Citizens United

The second best part of exploring Costa Rica last week was the silence of political ads that have been pounding non-stop against my brain. The best part of Costa Rica was enjoying an enlightened country that traded its military for education and today has a 97% literacy rate along with natural beauty that doesn’t quit. But that's another story. 

When I returned from Costa Rica and turned on the TV, I saw again the impact of Citizens United v. FEC. The Citizens United decision completes a near 40-year march started by Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell declaring corporations are persons with constitutional rights, including free speech with spending money as a form of free speech.

All that super pac money pouring into the Wisconsin Governor's race and the presidential campaign points out dramatically what the two parties stand for.

Republicans - Walker, Romney - represent governance for corporate America and in support of growing wealth for the already wealthy.  They serve at the feet of the oligarchs.  They believe government is another business working to increase the wealth of the Fortune 500.  That’s their constituency.  Congress, in a way, becomes a subsidiary to giant, parent corporations.  

Democrats - Barrett, Obama - represent governance for the people and in support of the rights, livelihood, and well being of American citizens.  While still beholden in many ways to corporate money, they retain some dignity and righteousness by identifying with the poor and working classes, and striving to improve their lots in life.

Democrats also pay attention to our Earth-home and recognize the need for us to take care of it for our children's sake and survival.  Republicans see the environment as the enemy of the wealth-builders.  They think environmental regulations cost too much for corporations and believe the American people should pick up the tab for their pollution and waste, as well as pay the bills for the illnesses and diseases they inflict on the human community.

While we in Wisconsin are very focused now on the governor’s election, we might want to keep our eye peeled on the rising movement across the country and across partisan boundaries that are working to reverse the Citizens United ruling.  Organizations like Move to Amend, Free Speech for People, Public Citizen, People for the American Way, and Common Cause are the engines driving the reversal effort.  (See their websites for information and inspiration.)

The legislatures of Hawaii, New Mexico, and Vermont have already passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United.  City councils around the country, including New York and Los Angeles, have called for the same.  Eleven states attorney generals pressed for a new amendment overturning Citizens United.  And 13 U.S. congress members have introduced amendments dealing with Citizens United.

Businesses, as well, have jumped on this bandwagon.  The American Sustainable Business Council, representing over 100,000 businesses, endorses a constitutional amendment. (Fran Korten, Yes Magazine, Summer, 2012). 

In Wisconsin, the city of West Allis recently voted overwhelmingly to reject the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC ruling (April, 2012).  “Republican Party primary voters approved a resolution calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to establish that corporations are not people and money is not speech by 70%.” (From the website of Move to Amend)

To get involved in this important political and environmental issue of our time, go to Move to Amend’s website and explore from there.  It will distract you from those annoying ads.

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