According to historians, we are at a perilous time in our American democracy. The amount of money spent on elections is growing, while the social needs of real people are not being met. Multinational corporations (big business) can influence and even create regulations that benefit themselves at the expense of the people and smaller businesses.

And guess what? It’s 100 percent legal.

The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in 2010 removed most campaign spending limits in elections. The ability to spend money became protected speech. This was a significant step in the decades-long progression of big corporations gaining First Amendment rights. Freedom of speech for corporations means freedom to spend money to influence our elections.

In 1776, “we the people” got together and told King George we wanted to run our own government. Today, our King George are the mega rich and multinational corporations who are financing our politicians.

Twenty local citizens gathered on May 15 for the launch of American Promise West Metro. American Promise is a national nonprofit working to pass a constitutional amendment to restore the rights of individual human citizens in comparison to the super-citizen rights of created entities, such as, corporations, labor unions, political action committees, and not-for-profit corporation financed and controlled by wealthy individuals or groups.

American Promise Citizen Empowerment Coordinator Kimberly Clinch shared the history of 27 constitutional amendments and highlighted the 12 amendments ratified since 1913. Ms. Clinch is a native Minnesotan currently living in Massachusetts.

After college, while in Morocco, some young Moroccans asked why the United States didn’t invade Morocco and establish a democracy for them. She replied that it was hard work to create a democracy and that they were the ones who needed to do it. That was when she realized that she was the one who needed to come back to the U.S. and work to restore a citizen-led democracy here.

American Promise is educating and organizing citizens to call for their political leaders to call for the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to allow states and the federal government enact reasonable regulations on election finances.

So far, 19 states passed resolutions requesting Congress to pass a constitutional amendment. Once passed by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress, the amendment will need to be ratified by three quarter of the states (38). American Promise is targeting 2022 for Congress to pass the amendment and 2026, our nation’s 250th birthday, for the amendment to be ratified.

American Promise West Metro will work locally with their city and county elected officials in the west metro area, to pass resolutions to demonstrate support for the amendment to restore a citizen-led democracy in this country.

Together with other American Promise associations from throughout the state, they will encourage the Minnesota Legislature pass a resolution supporting the amendment. Nineteen states and 800 local and regional resolutions have already been signed resolution. Colorado and Montana put the question of an amendment to their voters and both passed overwhelmingly.

It is time for Americans to take to the streets again. Come to the American Promise training session at the Chanhassen Rec Center, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 4.

It is up to us to demand our human rights and restore our Constitution to being of the people , by the people and for the people (Abraham Lincoln’s emphasis).

You are needed. More information can be found at www.americanpromise.net or Facebook American Promise West Metro.

Jay Johnson, of Chanhassen, is a former Chanhassen City Council member.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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