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Proposed Amendment | Discussion | Polemic Edit

Our American legal sytem is adversarial. The ideal is that opponents before the bench will argue their own briefs and attack their adversary's so strenuously that in the end the chaff will have been consumed and the kernel of truth alone remain.


Our political system has been built by lawyers. It shares this adversarial architecture with our legal system. The various special interests are imagined to come and argue their cases before the people, opposed by the people's representatives. In the end the chaff inherent in the special interests' arguments as well as that which may be put forth in defense of the people's interests will be consumed leaving, if not the truth, a hard fought and workable compromise.


Today those who were to represent the people's interests have been bought by the special interests and represent those interests exclusively. "Our" politicians are merely the oursourced employees of those special interests. Having won their campaigns funded by the special interests "our" representatives show up for work in January greeted by stacks of legislation written by their employers. Their only job is to enact it.


There are no longer two adversarial sides, the special and the people's interests, as envisioned in our system's original design, but one. We the people of the United States of America are no longer represented at all by the American political class.


It has been argued before, and the argument accepted by, the Supreme Court of the United States that mere laws restricting the application of money to politics are an abridgment of "amplified free speech" and therefore inconsistent with the protections given by the 1st Amendment to our Constitution.


I am unwilling to see free speech in any way abridged - but we must cut money's influence on our political system to the bone if we mean ever to have it serve us again!


Campaign money is a narcotic; as addictive as alcohol, heroin, or tobacco.


I therefore propose a Campaign Finance Amendment to our Constitution which aims to restore the control of citizens over their government. Once the over-powering need to raise money has been beaten off their backs our politicians may stop pandering to the monied interests and devote themselves to their constituents' affairs.


It will not be easy to enact a Campaign Finance Amendment to our Constitution, pursuing one of two tracks :

  • Either we must pass the National Initiative for Democracy and then the Campaign Finance Amendment as a Citizens' Initiative.

  • Or we must fight the same battle fifty times over, convincing three-quarters of our state legislatures that they must ratify our proposal.


We must organize ourselves and offer our services door-to-door, neighbor to neighbor, within each of our states' and nation's precincts, working on behalf of any and all campaigns which agree not only to work for the enactment of this Campaign Finance Amendment but to campaign as though it were already in force. And we must work against any and all campaigns which refuse to do so.


This will not be a task whose period of accomplishment is measured in weeks or months, but in years.


Yet it is the only way we can wrest control of government from out of the hands of the present powers and once again govern ourselves, as we set out to do in 1789.


The Campaign Finance Amendment must go from a citizen's initiative to The Citizens' Initiative. If we citizens start a parade marching toward radical campaign finance reform then our politicians will vie with one another to "lead" it.


Democracy requires of those who would govern themselves a constant minimum of attention paid to politics, and sometimes more than that minimum. We have given our political class too long a leash for far too many years and must now roll up our sleeves and ourselves clean up the mess we have allowed them to make of our political system.


I will begin work on the software that will enable us to organize each and every precinct in our nation in an appropriately distributed fashion and that will similarly enable the people's candidates, those who pledge to support our Campaign Finance Amendment, to abide by its provisions in return for our support. I welcome any and all help and support in this effort.


If you have comments or suggestions, email me at jfl@28amen.org

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