As the big day approaches, despite how tiresome all of the political commercials are, everyone is watching the play-by-play in this election (how many times have we all heard Big Bird, bayonettes, and FEMA mentioned?). We are all anticipating the moment the numbers are released — who will be president? What ballot measures will pass? What local races went the way we had voted?
We are going to vote this year (if we haven’t already!), but as we all know voting isn’t all that we must do to have an inclusive democracy that works for the people. While our elected officials continue to send troops to fight unpopular wars, our neighbors are drowning in debt from their student loans, their homes, and basic medical care. If we could vote to end all of this, we would. We wish we could. That is why we organize in the face of oppression, of racism, sexism, classism, and all of the other -isms, to break down the walls of injustice, and to move our communities closer to real democracy of, for, and by the people.
Here is a timely article straight from our Small Town Actions for a New Democracy (STAND) Voter Guide that breaks down how campaign contributions are speaking louder than our voices, and some ways we can collectively begin to take our democracy back. Take the Reclaim Our Democracy pledge, invite those in your community to do the same, and let’s keep this energy up through the legislative session next year!
PS: This message is a part of a series of ROPnets with articles from Rural Organizing Project’s STAND Voter Guide. Other articles include:
- A Different Way to Look at This Year’s Election and Election Nuts and Bolts
- Thinking Through Today’s Dilemmas for a Better Tomorrow – If Democracy is to Work, Ballot Measure Analysis, and more
- Take a STAND for Democracy All Year Round – Reclaim Our Democracy and Get Big Money Out of Politics
- STAND Guia Electoral – Latino Power in Elections 2012, Myths of Citizenship, If You Can’t Vote
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Take a Stand for Democracy All Year Round
Have you ever been to a family reunion or BBQ where someone backs you into a corner and talks your face off? You can’t get a word in edge-wise and you look for a way to escape. This describes the 2012 election.
The “entity” that has us cornered is fixing to spend up to 10 billion dollars on political “messaging” designed to get us to twitch “right” or “left” on the ballot.
10 billion dollars is a lot of money. Over 90% of it comes from the wealthiest zip codes in the nation. Why all that spending? Is it to ensure that everyone has access to health care? That anyone who wants to work can find a job? That all people have a place to live, and that all children attend excellent schools? Not likely.
It’s more likely that the 10 billion dollars will go to elect politicians who will tell us we can’t afford all that, but will insist that we continue to spend a trillion dollars per year on wars and other “national security” contracting. Those same politicians will be excellent investments if they keep cutting taxes for the super rich while blocking all efforts to stop the legalized bribery we call “unlimited campaign contributions”. Recently the US Supreme Court decided that corporations have the right to make unlimited contributions anonymously, something regular citizens cannot do.
Talk about a one-way conversation! If money equals free speech, as the Supreme Court claims, how much free speech can you afford?
This election would be a good time for us to reclaim government of the people, by the people, for the people. How can we do that?
We can make one demand to every politician seeking our vote: fix the broken, legalized bribery we call “campaign contributions”. In 2010, the Fair Elections bill was proposed in the US Congress. It said that candidates who could solicit enough small donations from people in their districts or state to prove that they were serious would be eligible for $4 of public matching funds for every dollar of small contributions they raised. The money would come from ending Federal subsidies to the oil companies. Another bill called DISCLOSE would require that corporations disclose their donations to groups that create all those “attack” ads.
#1 – We must demand that every candidate for Federal office pledge to support the Fair Elections Bill and DISCLOSE when they go back to Washington in 2013.
#2 – We must demand that every elected state official pledge to vote for a constitutional amendment ensuring that only living breathing people, not corporations, can make campaign contributions.
We can do this as individuals, but it’s better if we join with our neighbors to have a bigger voice. That is what this STAND Election Guide was designed to do. There is a local group in your community, distributing STAND to your neighbors. You can join them by contacting the Rural Organizing Project. Approach friends, family, neighbors and elected officials and ask them to sign on to get money out politics. Sign the pledge below!
Let’s turn up the heat on getting big money out of politics!
Approach your friends, family, neighbors, city councilors, county commissioners and other local elected officials. Ask them to join the movement to get big money out of politics and rebuild our democracy.
We need to reclaim government of the people, by the people, for the people.
We call upon every candidate for Federal office to pledge to support the Fair Elections Bill and DISCLOSE when they go back to Washington in 2013.
We call upon every elected state official to pledge to vote for a constitutional amendment ensuring that only living breathing people, not corporations, can make campaign contributions.
Follow the link above or fill out the below and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(city council, voter, community member)
(street, city, state, zip)
[ ] Keep me informed on how I can stay involved during the 2013 Legislative Session