A movement is growing. People are angry. Across the country, they’re organizing to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision to end the corrupting influence of money in politics.
That’s not enough, says United Republic ally and Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig in an “open letter” to the citizens against Citizens United.
Lessig cites the growth of groups including United Republic and city resolutions passed across the country condemning Citizens United as evidence that the momentum in the United States is growing to fight everyday corruption in government:
These citizen movements are incredibly important, and their objective is plainly right. Our democracy has been corrupted by the influence of money. Politicians are dependent upon “the funders” — spending anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent of their time raising money from these funders. But “the funders” are not “the People”: 26 percent of Americans give more than $200 in a congressional campaign … On average, my colleague Paul Jorgensen calculates, the per capita contribution of the 1 percent is more than ten times the per capita contribution of the 99 percent.
One person may have one vote in this democracy. But the voices of this tiny fraction of this democracy are an order of magnitude larger than the voices of the rest of us.
But Lessig writes that overturning Citizens United is only the first step in fixing our democracy. United Republic agrees with him:
But we need to remember that on January 20, 2010 — the day before Citizens United was decided – our democracy was already broken. Already, Congress was dependent upon its funders, yet the funders were not “the People.” Already, the tiniest slice of the 1 percent exercised an extraordinary power over the government. Citizens United no doubt made things worse. But even if it shot the body of this democracy, that body was already cold.
The road to restoring confidence in our government will be a long one. But if we work together, right and left, across the country, we’ll be able to buy our democracy back from moneyed special interests.