In spite of the fact that 84% of Americans believe that money has “too much influence” in our elections, Washington has done virtually nothing to address the issue of campaign finance reform. And while Congress remains idle, the situation has only become worse.
Each new election costs more than the last, and with this, greater numbers of ordinary Americans are removed from the political system, as their ability to make meaningful political contributions disappears. Those with affluence, on the other hand, gain more and more influence, allowing them to steer policy in a way that meets their interest, not that of the common good. As such, in the fight to restore our democracy it increasingly seems like we need nothing short of a miracle to make things better.
This miracle may not be so illusory, however. Today, Democracy Matters is excited to formally endorse Democracy Spring, an event that will serve as a wake up call to all politicians standing in the way of meaningful democratic reform.
On April 2nd, Democracy Matters and cosponsoring groups will meet in Philadelphia. It will be here, the birthplace of our democracy, that we will make a single, clear and reasonable demand to the United States Congress: “Take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure our elections are free, fair, and afford every American an equal voice, regardless of wealth.”
After Congress has been notified, we will march in unison, as our forbearers did, to Washington DC, speaking with all those we encounter, watching our numbers grow larger and our voices get louder with each city that we pass. If by the time we reach the Capitol on April 15th Congress has failed to act, we will conduct a sit-in, the largest in a generation. Those willing, by then over a thousand, will flood into the Capitol building, risking arrest. Congress will face a choice: stand with the people or throw us in jail. And while they ponder this question, thousands of other attendees will rally, making their voices heard, and relay to the rest of the country what Congress decides to do.
“I have informed the Democracy Spring organizers that I am willing to risk arrest, just as I did during the Civil Rights movement,” Democracy Matters executive director, Joan Mandle explained. “Restoring our democracy is that important. There can be no meaningful reform on any issue without first getting big money and special interests out of the electoral process. And although some politicians do not seem to understand it yet, public opinion and a social movement will soon show them that opposing reform is on the wrong side of history.”
Democracy Matters staff and student organizers will be in attendance, proudly joining celebrities and activists such as Mark Ruffalo, Zephyr Teachout, and Ben Cohen, and groups like 99Rise, Public Citizen, and the Working Families Party. We encourage those interested in Democracy Spring to visit their website (www.democracyspring.org) and consider signing up to join the event.