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Amending Freedom

May 12, 2014

The First Amendment. The very first thing the framers of our constitutional form of government thought was important enough to fully articulate to limit the power of government. It goes like this:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Where in those words does it say “and stop campaign financing by big spenders?”

That’s an oversight that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to correct by means of a constitutional amendment. His somewhat tortured logic apparently goes like this:

“It will draw to a fine point where we are at — and that is, the First Amendment is sacred, but that the First Amendment is not absolute, and by making it absolute you actually make it less sacred to most Americans.” Source:

Okay, maybe the Supreme Court opened this door, but really, what in the world caused liberals to stampede through it this way?  When did campaign finance reform become about limiting constitutional freedoms?

It’s no secret that money influences policy, politics and power. In the past, in the world of U.S. politics, the so-called shadow donors were largely hidden from view. Now they aren’t quite so well hidden. And even if they tried, we have Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to let us know that the evil Koch Brothers are spending a good chunk of change in support of “conservative causes” as though that was somehow a sin.  

There are plenty of Koch-like equivalents on the left. Sheldon Adelson, the Gates, and innumerable Hollywood types and climate-control proponents shovel money to liberal politicians for help in supporting their causes with metronomic regularity.

Maybe we could have another amendment that simply does away with elections altogether and institutes a political lottery or draft. Anyone with a pulse that can read, write, and text would be eligible. When you reach 18, you have to register to spend a year or two  in Congress whether you want to or not. We could call it the Congressional Reporting And Politics amendment, and designate the two houses of Congress Number One and Number Two.

Money will always speak to power. Power will always kowtow to money. The best we can probably hope to do is to know the faces of the players and judge the worth of the people receiving their favoritism by the character and views of their backers.

No matter how desperately stupid campaigns become, usurping the First Amendment for a short-term political gain is not the answer. For every Koch or Adelson, there are a hundred thousand little people out there that shell out their ten or twenty dollars for something they believe in. Take the right to do that from one, and you can take it from us all. The First Amendment is absolute and it should remain that way.

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