Editor’s Note: This letter was written by Bill Earley, a member of the Wisconsin United To Amend Project. It does not reflect the beliefs of this news organization.
Donald Trump pledged to “drain the swamp” during the presidential campaign. It’s an effective metaphor which captures the widespread frustration people have with our current political system. We have 50 swamps + 1. We’re all mad. Our government is broken. Everyone sees the big-money corruption in our election system. We the People are not being represented. There’s a long list of issues we’re facing today – healthcare reform, tax reform, education, etc. None of them are going to get fixed until our representatives represent us. Right now, all the control is in the hands of the special interests.
These same frustrations are fueling a movement here in Wisconsin and across the nation. It’s the movement to get big money out of politics. The Supreme Court has given constitutional rights meant only for individuals to artificial entities such as corporations and unions and has ruled that money spent to influence the political process cannot be limited. Thus, our government today serves powerful special interests, foreign and domestic, instead of the American people. The Supreme Court has rigged the system to favor billionaires and corporate fat cats. We are not going to fix this mess until we reestablish our founders’ healthy distrust of big corporations and moneyed interests.
Wisconsin United To Amend is a non-partisan, all volunteer group that helps guide local citizens through the referendum process. After the November 2016 election, 96 communities in Wisconsin have supported the referendum, with approvals averaging 85%. Amazing support. Nationwide, over 700 communities have supported the referendum. In Racine, a group of phenomenal local volunteers shepherded the money-out-of-politics referendum onto the City of Racine ballot in the upcoming Spring election. The referendum states Resolved, that “We the People” of the City of Racine, Wisconsin, seek to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contributions and spending.
We stand with communities across the country to support passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution stating:
- Only human beings ─ not corporations, unions, nonprofits or other artificial entities ─ are endowed with constitutional rights, and
- Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.
We’re seeing increased activism across the country, with more marches, protests and grassroots organizing. However, most of this energy is spread thinly over a wide spectrum of issues, none of which can be fixed until the underlying problem is solved –the lack of representation caused by the flood of campaign cash.
Reform movements can take decades. We ended slavery. Women can vote. We recovered from the last Gilded Age. We can fix this too. We’re making tremendous progress. It’s been seven years since the disastrous Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court. Since then, in addition to the communities stated above, 18 states have called for an amendment to overturn that decision.
Decades of negative advertising and party propaganda has resulted in extreme two party polarization. We’re divided, but are we really that much different? We all love our children, we want good education, affordable healthcare, a fair tax system and small efficient government. Don’t listen to the party hacks and the rabid partisans. We need to work together to get America back on track. Our two-party system is another thing that’s broken. We need to look beyond party labels and find good candidates that will stand with the people.
Vote YES on April 4th (City of Racine).