Got an email this morning from the Office of Public Witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA) that let me know they are foursquare behind suppressing free speech. I have to wonder how many PCUSAers are aware that their denomination is in favor of Harry Reid’s cockamamie re-writing of the First Amendment to give control over political speech to Congress:
Next week – on September 8 – the United States Senate will vote on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and return the power of political voice to the people. As of right now, 50 out of 100 Senators are on board. With just one more, the balance will at last tilt away from Citizens United, back toward democracy.
You’ve got to love this. Here are these people advocating changing the Constitution, and they don’t even know what’s in it! Anyone who was awake during social studies in public school (I assume) will know that it takes 67 votes in the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment, not 51. That’s so that idiocy like this can’t pass on a bare majority founded on political expediency.
And the form of “democracy” they are advocating for is, to put it politely, bizarre. Apparently having Congress restrict free speech (by preventing individuals and groups from spending the money that it necessarily takes to get a message out these days) is “democratic.” Allowing people to use their resources to get that message out is “undemocratic.” Instead, the instruments of free speech should be in the hands of the state and its politicians. Then again, when you learn your political science from cereal boxes, bumper stickers, and Marxist textbooks, I guess that’s what you come up with.
Call on Monday, September 8th, call (866) 937-7983 to reach the Capitol Switchboard and express support for the Democracy for All Amendment. This amendment will ensure that all Americans, regardless of their wealth, can have their voices heard in our elections and our government. The amendment will give the power back to Congress to regulate special interest spending in elections.
What kind of mind writes this pap? How exactly will restricting or prohibiting the expenditure of funds in support of a preferred message or candidate “ensure that all Americans…can have their voices heard”? What they really mean is that under such a regime, the only voices that will be heard are 1) those approved by the politicians, and 2) the mainstream media, which offers virtually nothing but a message vetted and approved by liberals. (Citizens United, you may remember, is a conservative advocacy organization that had to sue for its right to show a movie critical of Hillary Clinton. That’s the kind of voice that will be shut down by this amendment.)
I also suspect that the writer of this email hasn’t actually read the amendment in question. It doesn’t just return to the post-Watergate campaign finance regime.
•First, it expands authority to regulate campaign and issue spending to the states, as well as Congress, meaning that every election or referendum in the country will have limits on speech, rather than just federal elections. (The amendment uses the word “elections,” but that is usually taken to mean anything that is put to public ballot, not just to fill public office.)
•Second, It doesn’t just permit regulation, but prohibition, of speech. (The proposed Article 2 says, “Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.” [Emphasis added.]
•Third, because it has been advertised as being a repeal of the Citizens United decision, I have to assume that the writers mean to bring back the ability of politicians to prohibit criticism of their job performance within 30 days of an election–in other words, when voters are most tuned into what’s happening.
•Fourth, it will allow regulators to pick and choose between favored entities, for instance, by prohibiting corporate contributions and allowing union contributions. The relevant word in Article 2 is “or,” which clearly indicates that regulators–politicians–can pick and choose between “entities” such as corporations, unions, or groups that come together for the purpose of achieving a shared goal such as electing a candidate or advocating a policy.
•Fifth, it will mean that “speech” will be institutionalized as a function of the mainstream media, as if it speaks for the citizenry. Article 3 says, “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.” So the corporations that run ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc. will retain their full freedom to influence elections in any way they want, while many others will not be able to spend money to speak for themselves. In other words, liberal propagandists journalists will have their place as the primary molders of political opinion encased in amber, while large swaths of the American people, acting in concert or as individuals, will be frozen out.
To sum up: if this amendment were to pass–the chances of which are absolutely zero, the Senate debate being nothing more than kabuki theater to give Democrats a chance to bash the Koch Brothers–the winners would be incumbent politicians and mainstream media. The losers would be freedom of speech and anyone who dissents from liberal orthodoxy who doesn’t have tens of millions available to start another conservative media company.
An email like this wouldn’t be complete without a set of talking points:
As a person of faith, I believe that democracy belongs in the hands of the people because we are each a special creation of God.
THEOCRATS! They are obviously trying to write their religious beliefs into the Constitution.
I therefore urge you to support S.J.Res. 19, a constitutional amendment to establish that Congress and the states have the power to regulate and limit election spending.
Speech, folks. This is about speech.
Each person has the right to raise his or her voice in public discourse, but our system today is broken and dominated by big money special interests, whose spending drowns out people’s voices and floods the media with ideological propaganda.
You know what’s amusing? They aren’t talking about the mainstream media such as the corporations mentioned above. They are talking about the private expenditures of private citizens and businesses offering a viewpoint never heard in the coastal newspapers or on the alphabet networks. The latter are apparently pure as the driven snow.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, now bolstered by the recentMcCutcheon decision, has unleashed a flood of spending on our elections that threatens the very foundation of our democracy.
Apparently talking points are to be fact-free, logic-free, argument-free, and dominated by TEOTWAWKI.
We know that corruption can take many forms, not just the quid pro quo of bribery.
Politicians turning the First Amendment into an incumbent-protection racket, for instance.
Our country faces great and serious challenges – from putting people back to work to averting catastrophic climate change to building a culture for peace and shalom around the world. But we will fall short unless we repair our democracy.
Translation: The progressive agenda will never triumph as long as dissenters are allowed to speak their minds.