by Cheryl Kathleen Gerth

There is no mistaking that Citizens United is one of the most egregiously prejudiced rulings in the history of the United States judicial system. Borne under the auspices of corporate greed, its conception and enactment have served only to fuel and enforce the power of corporations within our now dysfunctional national government and over our grievously wounded economy.

The voice of the people is all but paralyzed in the face of big money and the corrupt and anti-democratic, albeit legal, dealings between powerful corporate lobbyists and the legislators who are financially beholden to them.

It is essential at this very moment that we the people of Minnesota move to restore democracy and that we the citizens of the United States stem the overwhelming tide of corporate power that seeks not the well-being of all Americans but the servitude of all Americans and the use of all American capital unto its own rapacious needs. We need to commence enactment of a decisive resolution at the seat of democratic power closest to us, namely within the body of our own state government.

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This past November, both of the states of Colorado and Montana were the first in the nation to pass statewide initiatives supported by the voters calling to overturn the ill-conceived ruling of Citizens United.

Seven states have passed internal resolutions through the body of their legislatures to announce their support of the overturning of Citizens United. These states include California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The majority of legislators in both Connecticut and Maryland sent letters to Congress calling for a constitutional amendment opposing the same.

With our rich Minnesota history of democratic leadership and initiative, we would do well to lend our voice and support to this growing and necessary national movement. It was our own beloved Paul Wellstone who so aptly phrased the basic philosophy of a healthy democracy, “We all do better when we all do better.”

We are not all doing better. Corporations are using “their” First Amendment rights to fabricate claims that ultimately strike down public interest laws, laws that protect the environment, health initiatives, consumer rights and civil rights. They are making a mockery of the principles under which this nation was founded and belittle the majority of its citizens in the wake of their flagrant tom-thievery.

There is a swelling grassroots, bi-partisan movement among the citizens of this country who can no longer tolerate the egregious immorality of big money in government and support legislation on every level of government to overturn the ruling of Citizens United with a constitutional amendment stating that corporations are not individuals and money is not speech. To give this urgent need the impetus it requires, it is absolutely necessary for all of the individual states to pass a resolution proclaiming these same ideals. Please let Minnesota be the next state to add its name to the growing list of state legislatures who believe that we have seen enough.

The inescapable issue of campaign finance reform is the second arm of the body of changes required for the true restoration of democracy, the restoration of legislators serving their constituents rather than spending the bulk of their hours seeking funding for their campaign finance accounts, undoubtedly by serving the interests of the wealthier special interests who can afford the level of support our current election system requires. True democracy requires that we be done with the lavish and hypocritical charade that occurs with every election cycle, which now seems to extend from one election to the next.

Please support in every way you can all legislative motions and enactments that will bring a timely demise to Citizens United and a much-needed resurgence to the voices of all the people of this beautifully conceived, utterly misdirected nation. Let Minnesota be one of the states to display common-sense leadership and prove its heritage of, belief in, and respectfulness to, the voices, the lives and needs of every citizen.