Michigan should stand against Citizens United

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 12:38 AM EDT
Michigan should stand against Citizens United story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It’s been three years now since the united states supreme court upheld the controversial Citizens United ruling that allows unrestricted spending by big business and the wealthy to influence elections.

But now, ever so slowly, states—one after another—are passing resolutions asking Congress to overturn the legislation that put so much political clout in the hands of so few.

And tonight, in Tom’s Corner, Tom Van Howe says Michigan should get on board—sooner than later.


Its been said in a number of different ways and by a number of different people that if you tell a lie often enough it becomes accepted as fact. And its often true. But not always.

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said money is “free speech.” Something in the very heart of you said “that’s a crock.” Even if you couldn’t articulate it, you just knew that wasn’t right.

And when Mitt Romney was on the campaign trail last year and rebuked someone in an audience by saying “corporations are people too my friend,” you knew it was kind of wacky. You knew that corporations aren’t people...People are people.

Trouble is, their Orwellian, wealthy, carefully plotted big business point of view did, indeed, become the law of the land. A law that gives big business and unions the right to spend in a variety of ways—commercials, lobbying and contributions—as much as they want on whatever they want in the world of national politics.

In a world where reelection is everything, where reelection costs ton of money—attention goes to the powerful. And the voice of the people, with their individual contributions of $25 to $100 dollars, is at best dismissively acknowledged.

That’s why it was exciting two days ago to see Maine become the 13th state to ask Congress to dump Citizens United and return the power of regulating the raising and spending of political money to the people.

The Maine resolution says that Citizens United disproportionately elevates the role of wealthy special interests and diminishes the voices and influence of ordinary Americans. How simple and elegant is that?

And it passed both houses there by overwhelming margins.

This isn’t and shouldn’t be a matter of Republican versus Democrat. Its matter of what’s right. In the United States, a country where we pride ourselves on individual freedoms, we cannot justify bestowing special powers on people who’s main achievements are the accumulation of great wealth. Nor can we chuck the demand for political transparency. That’s how we try to keep things fair.

Here are the states who are leading the return to sanity:

West Virginia, Colorado, Montana, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Mexico, Hawaii, and now Maine.

Not to say it’s going to be easy, but logic dictates that with the right pressure—particularly if it becomes politically popular—Congress, on some future date, will be compelled to entertain a Constitutional amendment to do away with Citizens United.

And when that happens...the states who’ve led the way to protect the rights of the average joe—and isn't Michigan still one of those—can rightfully and proudly wear a badge of courage.

We can still be in the first third of the 50 states. And it’s the right thing to do.

Call, write, email, or twitter your state legislators and tell them what you think.

In this corner...I’m Tom Van Howe.
Michigan should stand against Citizens United
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