Letter to the editor: Consider Issue 43

William Wilen

Issue 43 is on Kent’s Nov. 3 ballot, and the Kent Citizens for Democracy group would appreciate your support in getting it passed.

This ballot is a nationwide attempt to call on our Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution declaring that one, only human beings, not corporations, are legal persons with Constitutional rights and two, money is not equivalent to speech. Therefore, regulating political contributions and spending does not equate to limiting political speech.

Democracy has been eroded in such a way that corporations have used their money and influence, especially through lobbying and elections, to get their way. But democracy is for the majority of people — like you and I — not the minority of corporate billionaires who want to control congressional decision makers in order to continually line their pockets with more money for themselves rather.

Through Kent’s Issue 43 we want to overturn the Supreme Court’s infamous 2010 Citizens United decision which held that corporations and Political Action Committees (PACs) can spend unlimited amounts of money in elections. This influence is wrong because it is an attempt to define democracy narrowly to benefit the few, not the majority.

Corporations are not people and money is not speech. Voting yes for Issue 43 will also create a “Democracy Day” in Kent, which will be held a month before each election for the purpose of bringing people together in an open forum to discuss the impact that corporate campaign contributions have on local, state and national politics.

After each Democracy Day discussion, a summary of the participants’ perspectives will be sent to state and federal officials. This will continue until a federal constitutional amendment is ratified, strengthening our rights as citizens in a democracy and restricting the self-serving control and influence of corporations. Your support for Issue 43 will help us achieve this goal. 

William Wilen is a emeritus professor of education.