Although we didn’t collect enough signatures on our initiative to make it on the ballot this first time around, we are really proud that with no major funding and less than 2000 active volunteers, we were able to get almost 175,000 signatures. Professionals in the political nonprofit arena had dared us to get >10,000.
Each signature represents a Washington voter who’s had enough of the current political system where the voice of Big Money drowns out the voices of We the People. Where our democracy, as well as our environment, economy, and human rights, are threatened by short-sighted, greedy special interests.
We will not rest, just because a deadline has come and gone. Our cause is still just. Sixteen other states have passed similar resolutions, and more will – and we will, sooner or later – either in our Legislature or by another initiative, next year or in 2016.
And there’s lots to do right now. For instance, this summer we will work to ensure that the next Washington state Legislature is more supportive of a stronger resolution. We will pin each lawmaker and candidate down – did you support Initiative 1329, and would you support a similar measure in the Legislature? And we will reveal their position, and work to support our supporters. Keep watching our Politicians for Democracy webpage for updates.
A random survey we conducted in May, 2014, showed that 47% of likely Washington voters would NOT vote for a candidate who OPPOSED I-1329. (31% were not sure and 27% said they’d be MORE likely to vote for a candidate who opposed the initiative.)
And we have raised the awareness of thousands of voters in the last few months. When we started our petition drive in February (as soon as the Secretary of State gave us the green light to print our petitions), so many people were totally unaware or didn’t care. But this last month, so many had already signed or had heard about our issue and were eager to sign.
Another new push will be for passage in the US Congress of SJR 19 and HJR 119. Here is the amended Durbin text:
That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:
`Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.
`Section 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.
`Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.’.
WAmend is a coalition of grassroots organizations who believe that unlimited and anonymous money has corrupted our political system. Our mission is to put the State of Washington on record as calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment will empower the people to pass laws which will limit and control money in politics. We believe this amendment is needed to declare the intent of the people to make political candidates and representatives responsive to the needs and desires of the people alone.
Our ideal amendment wording would clarify that:
- The rights of people protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of human beings only.
- All citizens should have equal voice in the political process, and no person or artificial legal entity should gain undue influence over government as a result of financial resources. To meet this goal, federal, state, and local governments shall be fully empowered to regulate all political contributions and expenditures.
- All political contributions and expenditures shall be publicly disclosed in a full and timely manner.
Enjoy John Nichols’ rip-roaring, inspiring address from his appearance at the 28th Amendment Roadshow in Seattle May 3 2014. It’s 57 minutes, but you won’t believe it’s that long! But if you don’t have that much time, you MUST – please – watch the last part.
That same day WAmend Coordinator Jay Heyman, a retired rabbi, offered a moving insight into the moral foundation of his involvement in the Get Big Money out of Politics movement.
And for a quick overview of the problem of money in politics, watch a delightful, fast-moving, partly-animated, 8-minute video that explores the inordinate power that corporations exercise in our democracy. Stars Annie Leonard. Courtesy of Story of Stuff Project.