What would you do with $2 billion? That’s about how much Obama and Romney have raised to support their election bids this year. That’s right, let’s say it together (you can even deploy an Austin Powers cackle if you like): two billion dollars. Regardless of who wins, a small minority of organizations and individuals are using money to pick the next President of the United States—and we can assume that they will be repaid in political favors.
The amounts of money currently slushing about the campaign trail may cause many of us a visceral pain in the sections of our brain where idealism and trust reside, but arguably no one can say that they’re really surprised—almost everyone assumed that the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United would have some effect on the political landscape in this country.
What has been surprising is how complacent Congress is with a broken system. In a recent poll almost 90 percent of Americans surveyed agreed that there is too much corporate money in politics. But both presidential candidates continue fundraising at a breakneck pace, and all attempts at reform have been stymied in Congress.
We need to signal to Congress that we won’t accept the corruption implicit in our current campaign finance system. So what can we do? To start, we can visually signal our outrage today, October 29. A coalition of over 20 organizations—including Lawrence Lessig’s Rootstrikers, the Brennan Center for Justice, and unPAC—are asking citizens to spread awareness about the problem of big money in politics by spreading this image by artist Landon Wix across the web and on our nation’s streets.
If you believe that our political system has become corrupted by the manner and amount of money that is influencing political decisions, share this image today. It may be a small sign of solidarity, but together we can let Congress know that we demand a democracy that truly represents the people’s interests, not only the interests of those flush with cash. Let’s take back our political system. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "We the People are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts—not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." Here, that’s arguably a wealthy minority who are pouring money into the pockets of our political representatives.
Image courtesy of keepmoneyout.org.