If the polls are to be believed, big money—in the form of Mitt “Corporations Are People, My Friend” Romney—will be on the march this Super Tuesday in much of the country.
But it will lose some ground at the grassroots level in Vermont.
At town hall meetings across the state, in a great show of small-“d” democratic determination to renew the promise of the American experiment, thousands of Vermont voters will vote on resolutions urging that the US Constitution be amended to declare that corporations are not people.
The resolutions are a response to the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling by the US Supreme Court, one of a number of recent High Court decisions that have for all intents and purposes given corporations and wealthy individuals the “right” to spend whatever amount of money they choose to buy elections.
This year’s Republican presidential race, with its flood of Super PAC spending, has provided a glimpse of what politics will be like in the Citizens United era. And Americans don’t like it. But to get their democracy back, citizens must reclaim the Constitution.
Vermonters will do so in a big way Tuesday.
Communities across the Green Mountain State will go on record—“In light of the United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that equates money with speech and gives corporations rights constitutionally intended for natural persons…”—“to urge the Vermont Congressional Delegation and the U.S. Congress to propose a U.S. Constitutional amendment for the States’ consideration which provides that money is not speech, and that corporations are not persons under the U.S. Constitution…”
The Vermont communities that move to amend the Constitution will not be the first in the country to do so. A year ago, Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison and surrounding Dane County voted overwhelmingly to support proposals to amend the Constitution so that the money power does not overwhelm democracy.
Since then, legislatures in two states (Hawaii and New Mexico) and counties, cities, villages and towns across the country have endorsed amendment proposals. Members of Congress, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, have begun to propose such amendments.