Target: Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
Goal: Praise the state for working to overturn the Citizens United case that allows unlimited political contributions from corporations and unions.
One of the most contentious debates surrounding the most recent election cycle was that of corporate personhood. Due to the Citizens United decision in the Supreme Court, corporations and unions can effectively donate unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns, essentially buying candidates and elections. Rather than protect the American electoral process, making sure that it was more or less a fair fight, the decision made it possible to auction off elections to the highest bidder–all of this protected by the First Amendment. Many political figures, including former Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, consider the Supreme Court decision to be one of the worst of all time. The state of Montana felt this way too, and recently voted to revoke the ruling in the state.
On the November 6 ballot, Montana voters were posed a question about whether or not this ruling should be allowed to stand. The people of Montana spoke, with an overwhelming 75% of voters saying “no.” The initiative they voted in favor of would compel Montana’s Congressmen to pursue an amendment to the Constitution that would overturn corporate personhood.
This initiative is just the first of many steps that it would take to strike down the Citizens United decision. The effort to overturn the ruling is in its fledgling stages, but this nevertheless marks a victory against Citizens United. Montana is the first state to make it clear that they will not tolerate the electoral process being bought and sold.
This election cycle Americans rose up and declared that money and free speech are not the same thing. All of us who value democracy should thank Montana by offering them all the praise and support that we can in their fight against Citizens United.
Dear Governor Schweitzer,
The United States of America just saw one of its most tense and contentious elections ever. Party lines were drawn and staunchly defended while politicians and citizens dug their heels into the ground to defend their core values. This election saw a number of polarizing issues, which created gaping ideological rifts amongst people. Your state recently voted on one of the most important of these issues: that of corporate personhood.
Thanks to Initiative 166, which appeared on ballots in your state, the process of overturning the Citizens United decision, which grants corporations and unions personhood, has begun. A great many people believe that this decision is one of the worst in American judicial history, essentially giving corporations and unions the same protection under the First Amendment that an individual is afforded. This is of course extremely problematic—it makes it possible for powerful entities to buy elections under the guise that money equals free speech.
Three-quarters of Montana’s voters declared that they want something done about this issue, that it is imperative that the state’s Congressional delegation pushes for the decision to be overturned. The fact that this is such an important and pivotal issue to the people Montana truly speaks to the values of your state and its voters. The Citizens United decision was a blow to the electoral process and to democracy. The people of Montana have done what they can to right this. You should be very proud of your state, Governor. True supporters of democracy in America and around the world stand with you.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: DonkeyHotey via flickr