Thursday July 24, 2014, twenty-three heroes, Americans voting with their time to reverse the Supreme Court erosion of our equality of citizenship, congregated in the Russell Senate building waiting for Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va).
We came bearing the political umbrella to save We the People from the supreme 5-4 deluge against our election process. It was a grassroots effort to convince Senator Kaine to co-sponsor the Udall Amendment SJ Res 19.
Now, there are other resolutions and amendments that could contribute to our pre Citizens United political balance, but the Udall Amendment is the cow prod needed to overrule the 5-4 Supreme Court.
Around 1:55pm the Senator’s Deputy State Director & Legislative Assistant, Keren Charles Dongo showed us into Rm 388, explaining Senator Kaine was called to a vote, but would arrive thereafter.
On twenty-three faces I saw concern that this was another bait and switch, for though no one expected a Second Continental Congress, these were professional people, true patriots who came to The Hill to be about their Founding Fathers’ business.
Shortly after Fairfax County Democratic Committee member Stephen Spitz began speaking, Senator Kaine entered all smiles, apologies and caveats. The Senator, with all due respect to his “favorite”, the 14th, was unequivocal – He didn’t favor amending the Constitution.
So he faced twenty-four thousand voters, for the math on The Hill is every voter that comes face to face with a member of Congress represents one thousand Election Day votes.
Immediately the Senator defined the issues for him. He’s more concerned about large money secretly donated, as a prelude to moving America rapidly to an electoral secret money system. The fact that Udall SJ Res 19 would amend both secret and non-secret billions didn’t convince the senator he wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
Kaine’s reticence to amend is steeped in fear of, this xenophobic climate of a not so subtle Right Wing whipping up a Conservative tornado to repel children fleeing life threatening dangers, away from freedom’s shores, with a GOP constitutional amendment for Birth Right Citizenship. Even a reminder that like the ERA, any Constitutional amendment needs approval of thirty-five states for ratification, didn’t sway Kaine.
So, should we permit Congress to drift into a supremely induced laissez faire state: If you don’t show me yours, I won’t show you mine?
As a radio news producer in Charlottesville, Va, I’m proud that it was the first city to pass a resolution against Citizens United, so I asked Senator Kaine if maybe his reticence to amend the constitution might come from the fact that, unlike other candidates, he survived the onslaught of Corporatism’s millions. To his credit, he agreed, “that’s a fair comment.”
Defense Analysis and Researcher Sean Barnett, reminded the Senator that at the 2012 State Convention, the Virginia Democratic Party voted unanimously for a resolution to regulate the ability of only a small number of people spending huge sums of money to alter the outcome of an election and the 5-4 direction of the Supreme Court — the senator listened.
Lenny Mell went to the guts of it: Growing American cynicism — Citizens United is so central to the public’s perception of what’s going on, and that should trump any Democrat’s reticence to amend the constitution”..we need a national dialogue about money, and the way it’s used to measure citizenship and equality of opportunity.
Senator Kaine demurred, “Legislation can open up a dialogue too,” yet he admitted that post-civil war amendments have a progressive election focus.
As for me, TheReasonableVoice.com: to the degree Constitutional amendments adjust the law of the land to embrace the future, by moving the country forward more consistently with current reality, then amendments, like our Founding Fathers’ Declaration of Independence, have precedence.
Since Kaine sidestepped immigration into our Udall Amendment meeting, Jason Miller, of Franciscan Action Network seized the opportunity to expose billionaires’ money threats to Immigration, Politics, governing and elections, insisting, money in politics had to go in order to get any meaningful legislation passed.
The Senator reminded everyone of the era of Jefferson’s newspapers, and our united response: Jefferson nor any Founding Father could have anticipated the 24/7 misinformation bullying on multi-sized screens.
Someone argued, even judges have admitted that money affects their decisions, and another that hungry stomachs cannot be heard over the roar of talking millions.
Former Civil Rights Attorney Kaine countered, Corporations have had some constitutional rights since 1787, but have not been judicially specifically defined by our judicial system. However, despite supreme injustice of Citizens United, Corporations are not people and should not be granted permission to use their money with impunity against our personhood to buy our electoral process for their political gain.
Time’s up, but Kaine waving off his chief of staff Mike Henry’s time check, asked for one more comment. He got three and listened to each.
Whether we changed his mind or vote we don’t know. There’ll be lots of lobbying before September’s vote. However, like the organized Progressives who convinced a judge to temporarily suspend the Detroit Water shutoffs, one of the twenty-three promised the Senator, this is a grassroots effort percolating up from the people: sixteen states and 500 jurisdictions have passed resolutions against Citizens United.
I believe most unorganized Democrats fear the madness on The Right, a sponsored madness that motivates Supreme House Hobby Lobby, Citizens United and a gutted Voting Rights Act.
Since the 2012 reelection of Obama, what Koch heads fear most: all their money can’t bury an idea or the people who share it, because 108 year old two Bronze Star recipient WWII Veteran Lucy Coffey defines America far more accurately than a 2014 gridlocked Congress or Dallas Dealey Plaza Open Carry.
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