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Constitutional Amendment Or Bust

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joan Brunwasser     Permalink
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JB: So, what can we do about this?

PEN: There is one and only ONE way to now take back our form of government, and that is by constitutional amendment.  We are already involved in an initiative to get ALL members of Congress to cosponsor S.J.Res 18 and H.J.Res 21 , which would specifically clarify that the Constitution intended only "natural" persons where it refers to the the rights of "the people."  And that would reverse the Citizens United folly by empowering Congress to again establish reasonable regulation.  But we also agree that constitutional amendment is needed to reject the notion that spending money and free speech are indistinguishable.  Otherwise, the very wealthy have giant 120 decibel megaphones and the rest of us have little tin cans on strings.  And isn't that what's going on already?

We could even do two constitutional amendments at once, 28th and 29th, one focused on striking down corporate personhood, the other on money is not speech.  It doesn't matter.  If we can mobilize the base to ratify one we can do two at the same time.  Or one well-drafted combo amendment would be fine; we'll take it either way.

And all this is just waiting for one thing: for people to get outraged enough to demand, not to ask, not to beg, not to plead, but to flat out DEMAND that our members of Congress get on this, or get out of our people's Congress.  We get bombarded ourselves, bombarded with their fundraising solicitations, some that have the unmitigated gall to rail against Citizens United explicitly, from members of Congress who are STILL NOT cosponsors of any of the constitutional amendment resolutions already on the table.  Is this supposed to be some kind of a joke?

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We get a dozen emails a day in our own inbox talking about how if we contribute our donations will be "triple-matched."  Oh, really?  By who?  What kind of a scam pitch is that?  If they have some secret corporate donors who will kick in three dollars for every dollar we the people give, then they will in all cases do what the guy with three dollars wants and to hell with what the people want.

The reason we are doing these movie projects, and remember the whole controversy which led to the Citizens United decision was whether a movie attacking a candidate could be shown as a normal movie within 30 days of an election, was we perceived a desperate need to create counternarratives, to put our policy initiatives in other vehicles besides just email alerts and petition pages.  We need to educate.  We need to illuminate.  And if we do it in an entertaining style, we will reach minds we couldn't reach any other way, and mobilize them to take action.

JB: I want to go back to something you said earlier: we have to demand that Congress respond to the People's will to turn this around. But those same members of Congress have, in many if not most cases, been put there by corporate or large donors. The Senate is now a club of millionaires.  Their sponsored interests are not our interests. That's why it's no surprise that there isn't universal congressional endorsement of reversing Citizens United.

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PEN: The thing that astonishes us most is the lengths that people will go to, for purely partisan reasons, to abandon absolutely all principle and simply refuse to acknowledge that we have BAD representation.  We don't want to lose the ones we have, they argue.  Well guess what, we ARE going to lose them, and precisely for the reason that the partisans have been unwilling to demand more.  There is a 60% chance that the Democrats will lose the Senate in the next election.  That's not our prediction, that's coming from Nate Silver last week, who has never been wrong.

At some point, you would think that self-preservation would kick in with these politicians.  If Democrats lose the Senate the first thing the Republicans will do is bring up a vote to repeal so-called Obamacare.  And if the Democrats try to filibuster, there will be an even bigger bloodbath in 2016.  You know, Nate Silver is not the only one making good predictions around here.  Our own most widely read article ever on OpedNews.com was "The Democratic Party's Plan To THROW The Next Couple Elections" from 2010, where we accurately, and sadly, predicted loss of the House.  The only reason there were not further losses in 2012 was the health care law had not yet kicked in, in all its incompetent and byzantine glory, and because the Republicans nominated as their presidential candidate the ONE guy who could not make the argument against it.  And if Obama tries to veto repeal of the health care corporate sell out, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 will be toast.

If you are a true partisan, there is one and only one dynamic that can possibly turn this around.  You've got to yell, you've got to scream.  You've got to DEMAND that Democrats EN MASSE cosponsor these constitutional amendment resolutions.  They then can go to the American people and say, "Elect more Democrats so we can make this happen"  They'll GAIN seats, not lose seats, and not just in Congress.  We need ratification in of the state legislatures as well.

And if not, after they lose the Senate, it will be too late.  If they do it then, the American people will ask, "Why didn't you do any of this when you at least had the majority in Senate?"  This is their last chance.  

Have we burnt enough barns for one day?

JB: People are spooked, Pen. They don't like the Republicans; they aren't wild about most Democrats either.  But they're afraid of what the Dems might be replaced with.  I think a lot of people/voters just don't know what to do and it's less scary to do nothing than to go out on a limb and do something that might turn out bad. Classic the deer in the headlights syndrome. How do we get people out of that paralysis and moving?

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PEN: We don't have a whole lot more to add.  Do it or do it not.  Just understand what the stakes are.  If you go to the Kickstarter page , and if all you do is share the link on Facebook and Twitter from the little icons under video there, if that's ALL you do, that ALONE will have an amazing effect in spreading awareness about all this.  That means YOU, the person reading these words right now.  It will cost you absolutely nothing but a couple clicks of a mouse.  You don't have to make a contribution.  Watch the video.  Read the first seven pages of the script for Citizens United, The Movie , from the link there.   Submit our regular action page on this .  Make toll-free phone calls to Congress using our revolutionary new People Lobby interface , which empowers you to make a public record of what your members of Congress say in response.  Total cost to you  . . . zero.  And STOP talking about why it can't possibly happen.  Just do it. Now.

JB: There's so much at stake. Thanks for being on top of this, Pen.  It's always a pleasure speaking with you. Good luck to all of us.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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