Our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, has beautiful words in it. “All men are created equal” and “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Well, we know the Constitution that followed, did not live up to these words. The founders apparently did in fact mean only males and not people in general. Although they included the means to improve their document with amendments, to pass them can take a very long time.
Did the struggle to pass the Equal Rights Amendment have its start in the words of Abigail Adams to her husband John back in 1776? The future First Lady wrote in part, “I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”
That rebellion was more of a constant slow burn. 144 years passed and after enduring forced feeding and imprisonment, the suffragettes gained the right to vote for women in 1920. Another 100 years of struggle go by and finally the Equal Rights Amendment is nearing acceptance. It has taken nearly 250 years for women to be included in the Constitution.
There is another constitutional amendment that is needed, and no way can it wait 250 years. In the last few decades judges on the Supreme Court have changed their attitudes, from being wary of the power of corporations to allowing them to become “people” with all the rights of free speech.
The Citizens United ruling 10 years ago this month declared that spending money is a form of speech and so cannot be limited. The ruling led to the creation of super PACs. Dark money spending and influence of elections is rising. No transparency, so there is no accountability when lies and smears are used to destroy the candidacy of people who want to be elected to serve the country. How many fear the dark ads and compromise their positions to avoid them?
Only a constitutional amendment will fix it by allowing the creation of reasonable campaign laws to limit spending and by who. Please contact/email your local city councils and county commissioners and ask them to pass resolutions locally in support of a state resolution calling for a constitutional amendment. Ask candidates running for election if they support it. Join the local chapter of American Promise and go to their website to learn more.
The goal is for Minnesota to become the 21st state in the country to pass a state resolution of support. It is sad to realize that this is what needs to be done to return Congress to caring about the American people instead of rich, often multinational corporations.