We must steer our nation away from the path where elected officials are constantly chasing the money, and back onto the path of a government of We The People.
Who doesn’t love the 4th of July? When I was young it meant a day of family fun at the lake, with hot dogs and fireworks!
As I grew older, I realized the 4th of July meant more than just parades and fireworks; it was a celebration of the founding of our nation, a birthday party for America. And the older I grew, the more deeply I came to appreciate what this holiday celebrates.
The first principles of our Declaration of Independence — liberty, equality, inalienable rights, and a government ruled by the people — deeply define our nation’s character and identity. More than 200 years later, we are still working to truly fulfill the Declaration’s inspiring vision that we all have a right to liberty and equality!
Our nation’s Founders knew that those first principles would only be realized if put in the hands of citizens. And so they began our Constitution with the words “We the people.” In doing so, they gave each of us a voice and a stake in what this country would become.
Today, this privilege has been corrupted. Our government is no longer directed by The People. Instead it is money, tied to special interests, that overpowers our nation’s politics.
As a result, Congress ignores the will of the people. Polls show a majority of us favor increased commitment to public education, taking action on climate change, and implementing stricter financial regulation. Fully 90 percent of Americans favor background checks before purchasing a gun, but Congress doesn’t act.
And yet there is reason for optimism. WE ARE THE PEOPLE! The Framers knew maintaining the Republic would not be an easy task, so they built into our Constitution the ability to amend it, if two thirds of the states agree. There are groups that are working to fix our broken system.
What can one person do? Join with other concerned and active citizens, like Move to Amend, that is pushing for a Constitutional amendment that would end corporate personhood and curb corporations’ ability to unduly influence elections with their dollars. And there are other organizations doing thoughtful work on federal election reform, like Root-Strikers and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.” I believe it’s time that we make some waves — get involved and speak out. We must steer our nation away from the path where elected officials are constantly chasing the money, and back onto the path of a government of We The People.
Sue Staropoli of Penfield is a wife for 46 years, mother of six and grandmother of 11. She is a volunteer facilitator for the Pachamama Alliance, which is dedicated to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet.