At our January meeting, we discussed the current state of affairs and proposed actions that have to do with money in politics. Our group agreed there is a great deal of despair about how money is bending politics. And we agreed that things won’t change until enough of us get involved.
It is important to recognize that today’s money-corrupted political system can be changed. We don’t have to wait for a bolt of lightning. Change comes from small sparks. Our job is to create as many of these as we can for as long as we can. Our “sparks” include:
- Holding film screening house parties to show the film “Priceless,” in which elementary school children are shown to have more political sense than some members of Congress. We will prepare a list of discussion questions to help begin the discussion after the film.
- Preparing an engaging information card with understandable and actionable points about the issue of money in politics. We will publish this online and have print copies.
- A letter-writing campaign in which we write letters to the editor in our local newspapers just before the anniversary (Jan 21) of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which unleashed a flood of special interest money into our electoral system.
- A panel presentation and group discussion that brings in people from different political persuasions to discuss money in politics. We believe that even in a divided political landscape, there is much common ground around the issue of money in politics.
- Working with other groups in their efforts to restore government to all the people. For instance, we are part of Texans United to Amend, and we will continue to press city councils and the TX Legislature to pass resolutions that call on Congress to propose a constitutional amendment that stipulates that money is not free speech and that only living people (not legal entities like corporations) have constitutionally-protected human rights.
- Testifying at hearings that will be held this year at the State Capitol that have to do with how Texas selects judges. Voters, legislators and sitting judges agree that judicial campaigns today allow the scales of justice to be tipped in favor of big donors.
The movement to put the government back under control of The People is daunting, but reformers have prevailed many times against what must have looked like intractable opposition. A notable example: gender-based voting barriers existed until 1920. The Nineteenth Amendment, which abolished all such barriers, was proposed, passed and ratified by the effort of women who had no political power because they could not vote. They were met not only with political opposition from chauvinistic men, but from a large fraction of women who were comfortable with the status quo.
Numerous polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans are decidedly UNcomfortable with the status quo. Thoughtful, plausible reforms are being advanced across the nation.
All we have to do is PUSH for simple measures like:
- Public campaign financing.
- A constitutional amendment that will increase the political participation (and power) of Americans of average means.
- Disclosure about who is spending money to influence elections.