Dr. Margaret J. Wheatly, an organizational consultant, writes “Margaret Mead’s famous quote is repeated often, because it is so true. We completely underestimate the power of human conversation to change the world. One of the things we need to learn is that very great change starts from very small conversations, held among people who care. Forget about the politics or the staff person who is driving you crazy. What are the things you really have deep, abiding concern for? What is it you really have some passion for? If you go into that question for yourself, you will find the energy to go forward. The conversation should not be based on complaint, but should be based on both passion and a sense of hope.”
Citizen Groups Have Made a Difference - The recent successes of passionate local groups like HOPE, ARCH, ACES, SOUL and even the Daily Call are perfect examples of how effective small dedicated groups can be. They have proven that, locally, citizens can have their voices heard, even against a mighty corporate power. DEMOCRACY DOES WORK at the local level. The easiest way to express our First Amendment right to “petition the government for a redress of grievance” is to start small and work our way up. Village, town, city and even county governments are much more responsive to citizen petitions than the state or federal governments.
One petition for redress of grievance that I’m passionate about and plan to bring before my town and county board is a resolution to end corporate personhood. According to Wikipedia “Corporate personhood is the status conferred upon corporations under the law, which allows corporations to have rights and responsibilities similar to those of a natural person”.
Wkipedia goes on to state “The Federal Constitution of 1788 did not mention corporations. Thus, although the Federal government has from time to time chartered corporations, the general chartering of corporations has been left to the states.”
So the Constitution which begins “We the People” doesn’t mention corporations and corporations are nothing but a collective that is chartered (created) by “We the People” through our state and federal governments. Therefore, IMHO, corporations have no constitutional rights and that “We the People” have every right to impose any and all restrictions or regulations that We see fit as a condition of granting a corporation a charter. This includes outlawing the use of corporate treasuries to bribe and buy our elected officials.
Putting a Stop to Our System of Legalized Bribery - The second grievance I plan to petition my local government is to shut down the system of legalized bribery by getting all money out of Federal elections. As former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said: “There are so many legislators who have said to me, gosh, if I could vote in secret, I could vote for your proposal Governor because I know it’s the right thing to do. But I can’t do it. The other side will raise money on it and kill me. And that’s what’s so important — it is so important to get the influence of money out of politics. Because if you get the influence of money out of politics, we will get people who will actually vote their conscience. And I think that’s extraordinarily important. You’re right to say it’s not the lobbyists… but it is the money that perverts the entire process…. ”
Our current system of legalized bribery and ownership of elected officials is why corporate profits have risen at record levels while workers wages have stagnated. This legalized bribery is why “Single Payer” was never on the table and why the “Too big to fail” are even bigger today. Big corporations can now essentially buy politicians who will write and pass rules that favor them and their industries. It is estimated that congress spends up to 70% of their time fundraising through this system of legalized bribery. We’re facing the most important problems our nation has known in a generation, and our elected officials are spending most of their time raising money to run for re-election. Nothing will change, no solutions will be forthcoming until we get the money out of politics.
There is hope - There is a process in motion. On December 14th United Republic launched its campaign to encourage towns across America to pass resolutions in support of getting money out of politics. You don’t need an army of millions to get such resolutions passed. Los Angeles became the largest and most recent city to pass a similar resolution, following in the path of other cities including Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin; Missoula, Montana; and Boulder, Colorado.
Several things happened on Friday, December 30th; first, the Montana Supreme Court restored the state’s century-old ban on direct spending by corporations on political candidates or committees, secondly, Vermont state senator Virginia Lyons introduced a resolution in the state legislature urging the United States Congress to amend the Constitution and ban corporate personhood, and third, Duluth, Minnesota made history when it became the first city in Minnesota to pass a resolution in support of a constitutional amendment that would “firmly establish that money is not speech, that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights, and that whenever the word ‘person’ is used in the Constitution it means a natural person.”
If you feel the passion as I do then Click on the link below to receive a step-by-step guide, and more information that will help your hometown become the place to proudly say democracy is not for sale: http://unitedrepublic.org/2011/is-your-town-next/
Here is a great interview with Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig and Jon Stewart on the corrupting influence on money and politics. It’s everything you need to know in 13 minutes:
Sources and more information for meaningful citizen action:
Dennis Brault is Vernon County Supervisor, District 13
(Authorized and paid for by Mark L. Taylor, Genoa, WI. and not a campaign committee.)