Constitution Day, sometimes known as “Citizenship Day," is coming up. It started as “I am an American” Day in 1940, then the date was changed to correspond with the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.
The U.S. Constitution is still the measure we use to protect ourselves and our institutions. Since the Bill of Rights, we have had to amend the Constitution 17 times to reflect who we want to be as a nation. It is time to amend the U.S. Constitution again. In fact, it is past time.
While Constitution Day is certainly an excellent time to applaud our achievements as a nation, it is equally important to recognize that there is more work to be done.
America, like all countries, is about power. Those with the most power use that power to become more powerful. The Constitution was written to protect our democracy.
Unfortunately, in recent decades, powerful corporations and lobbyists have spent too much time and money to distort the Constitution. As a result, political candidates rely more on campaign contributions than their constituents to get elected. In fact, the candidate with the most funding wins 94% of the time.
Overwhelming majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents oppose the corruption and influence of money in politics and support comprehensive reform of our campaign finance system.
It is clear from our history that grassroots activism is critical to effect change and restore equal representation for all. And to date, 20 states representing 146 million people, and nearly 900 towns, cities, and counties, have passed resolutions supporting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which authorizes Congress and the states to regulate election spending.
The clear trend away from democracy and toward oligarchy can be reversed, but only if more of us take seriously the need to act. Through inattention and indifference, we are allowing the very foundation of our democracy to be steadily chipped away. We can and must take corrective action.
Contact your state lawmaker and ask them to support a Minnesota state resolution calling on Congress to propose an amendment that will allow us to regulate campaign spending. Contact your Congressperson and express that limiting money in political campaigns is an important issue for you.
We have a duty to protect our democracy by passing a constitutional amendment to limit money’s influence on our political system. One organization spearheading this movement is American Promise (americanpromise.net), a dedicated team of volunteers successfully fighting to pass this amendment so Americans can protect the rights granted in our Constitution.
And so it is up to all of us as citizens to once again push for reform, recognizing that the promise of a “more perfect union” is one Americans must continue to reach toward, and fight for, today and into the future.