The system was less than perfect, but it has been decimated in recent years by Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United v. F.E.C. that give corporations and unions the same constitutional rights as human beings, and equate spending an unlimited amount of money on politics with free speech.
The money now flowing into our politics isn’t free speech; it’s paid speech. In this presidential campaign alone, a handful of deep-pocketed supporters of Governor Romney and President Obama are in the process of spending well over $1 billion carpeting the airwaves with mostly negative advertising.
No one invests such sums without expecting a return, and no one should be surprised when this year’s big political investors start collecting favors from the people they helped elect. It’s time to stop this charade. Corporations aren’t people. They don’t vote, get sick or die in wars for our country. The Constitution was written to protect the rights of individuals, not corporations.
We can correct the Supreme Court’s misreading of our Constitution by passing an amendment that authorizes limits on campaign contributions and spending, reins in corporate rights and ensures that all citizens, regardless of wealth, have an opportunity to speak and be heard.
Passing a constitutional amendment is rightly difficult. It requires super-majority support like that evident in a Hart Research poll done last year that found 87 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of independents and 68 percent of Republicans in support of an amendment to overturn Citizens United.
Legislators in nine states and local officials in more than 300 cities already have called for such an amendment. This Election Day, voters in Colorado, Montana, Chicago, San Francisco and dozens of municipalities will vote on ballot measures instructing their members of Congress to work and vote for such an amendment.
Big money has no place in elections, and our democracy should never be for sale. Let’s “amend to mend” the misreading of our Constitution by an overly ideological Supreme Court.
Original article on The New York Times