There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents… There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents; for with these it would belong to the first class… The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent its ascendancy. – Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, October 28, 1813
That quote is just one of many by Thomas Jefferson and our other Founding Fathers that warned their own and subsequent generations about the dangers of letting money influence American politics. Make no mistake…the Founders’ worry was not about direct bribery of individual representatives. Their worry was that the wealthy would gain so much influence that the will of “We the people” would be drowned out.
The hypocrisy of the five “conservative” justices currently serving on the United States Supreme Court has never been more evident. The McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision they gave earlier this week gives no better example of how the extreme political wing they come out of claims that they want to return to what the Founding Fathers intended but then makes rulings in the opposite direction.
On the other hand, as I fully admitted in my original post on this subject not long after the Supreme Court’s equally destructive decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, if one looks strictly at the document without its supporting foundation of the Federalist Papers and the other records we have from those that wrote our Constitution, there is indeed nothing in there that allows for the federal government to restrict political donations.
This misguided and bordering-upon-insane push to allow an artificial aristocracy to have even more say in our daily lives must be stopped soon before it pushes the United States to a point of no return. Even clear-thinking conservatives should agree with this as they certainly don’t want to give more influence to the teachers’ unions and the likes of George Soros any more than progressives want to give more influence to The Heritage Foundation and the Koch Brothers.
Thus, I once again appeal to all people — right, left, and middle — to demand of their member of the House of Representatives, both Senators, and all applicable state elected officials that they support a Constitutional amendment to allow Congress to regulate political donations. All must stand up and tell anybody running for office that, regardless of party, they will not be supported unless they promise to vote for such an amendment.
My example of such an addition to the Constitution is what I call the Election Campaign Regulation Amendment (ECRA). There were many other proposals being floated around in 2010 when Citizens United was handed down and I’m sure more will be coming in the wake of McCutcheon. Whatever the final wording is that receives the most support, it will still probably sound very close to my proposal. I have also added a line to my original to assure that states are explicitly given the right to regulate political donations as they see fit.
The Congress shall have the power to regulate all donations, monetary or otherwise, made by individuals, groups, corporations, organizations, or any other similar entity involving in any manner any Federal election. This power expressly includes donations made indirectly and not necessarily given to a candidate, political party, or any similar organization. The states shall be given the power to regulate donations in the same manner for elections within their own borders. The Congress can enforce this power by appropriate legislation.
So…for all of you that say you have read the Constitution and the Federalist Papers and say you want our country to return to the intent of the Founding Fathers, here’s the chance. If you believe your side’s ideas are better and would win the day if the other side didn’t outspend you on television, here’s your chance. If you truly believe in “We the people,” here’s your chance.
Of course, I’m no fool. This won’t happen. As always in today’s America, the furor will die down fast except among a handful of zealots. The rest will move on to the next missing airliner, the next celebrity embarrassment, the next funny animal Internet meme, and so on.
Meanwhile, The Man continues to laugh at you all while he keeps running to the bank…and running to the Congress to take away more of your say in how this country is managed…and, all the while, stomping all over the words of one of our greatest Founding Fathers.
…under pretense of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves. – Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, January 16, 1787