American voters are adrift on the sinking U.S. ship of state in a political sea awash with thousands of activist organizations reflecting every hue of the political spectrum. Responding to the voter’s SOS, a nonpartisan lifeboat has been floating around the Internet and social media for the past couple of months quickly attracting a broad range of bipartisan support.
The political lifeline being tossed to American voters is the Voters’ Rights Amendment (USVRA). It simply says citizens should have the right to vote, they should be encouraged to vote, they should have the right to vote on public policy, and they should be able to write in their candidate choices on a safe, hand-countable paper ballot.
You might think that Americans already have the right to vote, but you’d be wrong. There is no present right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. You might also believe it’s a good thing for people to vote; however, increasingly there are state laws which suppress voting. You would also be wrong if you believe elected officials really care about what you think, or if you trust the computerized machine you’re voting on to be safe from tampering.
You would, however, be correct if you feel corporations should not have constitutional rights or that the Supreme Court’s decision allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections creates even greater political corruption. If so, you will be aligned with almost 70 percent of Americans against the 15 percent who believe the court’s decision in Citizens United was properly decided. (Brennan Center for Justice)
There have been a number of proposals to amend the constitution to overcome the provisions of Citizens United and the earlier Buckley decision. The best known of these is the effort by Move to Amend, which is included in the Voters’ Rights Amendment. Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap of the Move to Amend Executive Committee said, “Our leadership all took a look at [the USVRA] proposal and we like it! You may know that our original petition included a provision for a right to vote.”
Hundreds have already “stood up to be counted” on the USVRA website and others are speaking out. Talking about a national policy referendum, John Nichols of the Nation says, “I think it is a great idea. . . . When you go to those heart and soul issues, I think it is much easier to frame the debate and have a real discourse in the country. I think it forces our media to step up rather than to go off on sidetracks and deviations. . . . There’s a lot to be said for this issue.”
It is not that the USVRA is a leaderless movement. Everyone who “stands up” is a “leader.” They are not asked for money and their involvement is limited only by their energy and imagination. There is no organization, only a simple addition to the Constitution which will transform representative democracy, as the voters finally take charge of their own government.
The Voters’ Rights Amendment is a commonsense solution that finds resonance with every American who is sick and tired of politics as usual. Commentary on the USVRA website identifies what Tea Partiers and Occupiers have in common, explores the common background of small businesses and the labor movement, and explains why young people should make their voices heard about the issues that concern them.
At this time of crisis, both candidates for president are vying to be “cool,” and the media is worried about which one mistreats their dog and whose wife works the hardest. Instead of addressing the issues that concern all voters, both are secretly lining up hundreds of millions of dollars in unregulated legal bribes to spend in what will undoubtedly become the nastiest and most expensive presidential campaign in history.
The Voters’ Rights Amendment may be the only way to unify all Americans to do something positive to overcome their shared disgust with their government, their political parties, and the puppet candidates that are forced upon them.
What about the Voters’ Rights Amendment? What’s not to like? It’s as American as apple pie, and voting in a democracy is a good thing. Right?
Charles Foerster is a former Naval Aviator and professional pilot. He writes on subjects such as aviation safety and issues vital to the survival and sustainability of the nation.