Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Our Perverted Democracy


Our political leaders have a responsibility to reclaim our democracy by reforming our corrupted campaign finance system and restore access to the ballot box in all 50 states.
That can only start by reversing Citizens United, and electing a Democratic president, that would by appoint Supreme Court justices who recognize that Citizens United undermines transparency in a representative democracy.
In the last three elections, more than $600 million in donations came from unknown, untraceable sources.  Congress should require federal contractors to fully disclose their political spending.  The Securities and Exchange Commission should require publicly traded companies to fully disclose their political spending.  Congress should pass legislation that requiring the disclosure of all significant political donations, no matter where they come from or who they benefit.  All politicians should have to identify their donors.
American citizens shouldn't have to be rich to run for elected office.  A small-donor matching system could enable people with a passion for public service to recognize that they can run for a national office without becoming a lackey for billionaire donors and special interests.
Nothing is more vital to our democracy, than protecting our citizens voting rights.  The protections of the Voting Rights Act must be restored.  We should be making it easier to vote, not harder.  We must offset the influence of money in politics, and fix our dreadful voter turnout rate.
In fact, 63 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote on our last national election.  That means about 144 million Americans, which is more than the population of Russia didn’t vote.
Americans should be automatically registered to vote on their 18th birthdays, unless they opt out.  Every state should have at least 20 days of early in-person voting.  No one should have to wait more than 30 minutes to cast a ballot.
Citizens United and its consequences has perverted our democratic system.  more than ever, the deck is stacked in favor of those at the very top.
Al Smith a New York City democrat, who once ran in a primary election against FDR said: "All the ills of democracy can be cured by more democracy."
We need more transparency, more accountability, and above all, more citizens exercising their right to vote.  We must show Republican voters that they made the wrong choice eight years ago, by restoring people's voices and votes to it’s rightful place at the center of our democracy.

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