March 22nd, 2011

VDB Receives Hundreds of Petitions Seeking To Overturn Citizens United

by Philip Baruth

So some years back began this thing that many other organizations now also do: they create online petitions and then deliver those petitions physically to elected officials, and ask collectively for action. I’ve filled out a few in my day, a sort of bloodless process that I’ve always known in some part of me would have some small theoretical impact, but it was hard to really feel the truth of that. Why? Because digital technology can be so alienating and compartmentalizing, and it can remove the feeling of physical togetherness that 3D protesting creates.

But today, for the first time, I had someone deliver a stack of MoveOn petitions to me. And I have to say, it was a surprisingly moving experience. Partially because the bearer of the petitions was Andy Grayson, who, along with her husband Woody, helped me get elected. Partially because the long list of hundreds of names represents people who think exactly the way I think on the issue of corporate personhood — which is to say, I want to roll it back, all the way back.

But it was moving also partially because the petitions come with small messages from most people who sign, and a lot of them I knew and many I didn’t, but all the signers took the time to write, and to stand up for the idea that elections should not be awash in corporate dollars.

Here’s the statement at the top of the petitions: “Corporations aren’t people and shouldn’t be able to corrupt our democracy. We need as many state legislatures as possible to get behind the call for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United ruling.”

Short, to the point, and truer word never spoken.

Thanks, Moveon types. You made my day. And whenever this issue comes before the Vermont Senate, I promise you that I’ll make yours.