LETTER: Self-government does depend on the right to participate in political debate
(This post was published as a letter to the editor in the Boston Globe, click here.)
We agree “self-government depends on the right to participate in advocacy and debate” (McCutcheon decision reaffirms First Amendment, Boston Globe, April 6). That’s why we side with the dissenting opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC and with previous decisions that had upheld the $123,000 contribution limit struck down by the Court.
As Justice Breyer says in his dissent “where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard.” Far from freedom of speech protection, McCutcheon amplifies the voice of a handful of ultra-wealthy that can afford to give $3.6 million directly to candidates, and muffles that of the 99.99% of Americans who can’t afford to give at that level or even $5, $10 or $100.
The Framers wanted Congress to be dependent “on the people alone.” Sadly, Congress is more dependent on big money in elections—a dependence that is sure to increase now. Dollars don’t vote, but they do limit voters’ options and mold the policy agenda to the desires of big money.
And that’s why a constitutional amendment is necessary to curb the activist and politically naïve Court and to bring our democracy back in line with the founding principle of one person one vote.
(Also read this letter in the Globe opposing the McCutcheon ruling, Oligarchy defense disguised as one for free speech.)