On March 7th, Move to Amend of Lake Mills and Rock River hosted a public discussion with Lori Compas, executive director of the Wisconsin Business Alliance, and Republican Senator Dale Schultz. We would like to thank the 50 citizens who attended this presentation and engaged in lively discussion as well as the L.D. Fargo Library for the use of theirt facilities. The tone was one of mutual admiration and respect for the sincerity and collegial efforts of attendees and speakers.
This was a truly heart-warming political event. (I never thought there could be such a thing). It was uplifting to see Democrat and Republican leaders standing side by side answering citizen questions, showing clear appreciation and admiration for each other. They demonstrated mutual respect for all the citizens with questions, citizens who sometimes had very heated responses to recent legislative discussions and activity. It was exceptional to see Sen. Schultz attentively listening and courteously responding to a very angry citizen complaining about her perception of unfairness in a legislative hearing. He reminded us that we were all present for the same reason – to get control of politics away from monied interests and back to the people – to seek consensual outcomes – thus turning around a citizen's response from one of anger at the system to one of agreement that the system is broken and needs to be fixed.
Senator Schultz began by saying "Lori is a Democrat and I'm a Republican. What is important here tonight is we've all come together because we care about the system of government that we think ought to be propped up, reformed, and improved, because it's a wonderful thing – not because it's perfect, but because it's a wonderful thing. Then we'd be able to find the things – beliefs – that we find in common, that we unite, and that we get them done. And of course tonight I think all of us here believe that it's time to Move to Amend."
Senator Schultz went on to say: "We're talking about billionaires turning this country into a Russian-style oligarchy, where there are two dozen billionaires who BUY the whole political process." Later he commented on how this is enabled: "People who run for offices ... are pretty good people. Really, they really want to change the world – at least they start out that way, until they realize that the only way they can stay there is to make the deal with the devil – the Faustian bargain. And then they're hooked." He emphasized how important this constitutional amendment is: "The reality is, this is so important that we must place it as the number one thing."
Lori Compas started by saying, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. We have all of these problems in our state right now, but I think the root of those problems is money in politics. We have to get at that root. Time and again, we see our elected officials passing laws that do not seem to be in the vast interest of Wisconsinites. People who are not paying attention do not understand the full impact of those laws, until, say, they live in small quiet town in western Wisconsin and suddenly they have 50 sand trucks going through per hour. That is actually happening right now.
As someone who tries to organize small business owners, I hear that all the time [that people do not want to be involved in politics.] You may not want to get involved, but there are other people involved, and they are spending a tremendous amount of money on these issues. It is important for us to stand up for what we believe in.” Compas went on to say, “Our system is really broken. I firmly believe that money in politics is the root of the brokenness.”
Lori Compass said that she researched Move To Amend despite initial skepticism. Noting how huge corporations are controlling political decisions that hurt small businesses and small corporations as well as individuals, she now fully supports MTA and its goals. It is not possible to make progress on hundreds of issues and problems because huge corporations and extremely wealthy people are controlling the political agenda.
There was a period for questions at the end. Leslie Demuth of Waterloo asked: "About bills allowing lobbyists to give money to legislators while they are making law. And another one I believe would protect the identity of the donors to do their false, smear campaigns. – Does it make a difference when I contact my senator?"
"We've got this situation now where, as Sen. Schultz has said, the elected officials have chosen their voters. They know they're safe. They can take as many campaign donations as they want. They can vote however – you know – I mean – I hate to say it – but they can vote however they're being pressured to vote by outside interests and not really have to care what we think," Lori Compas responded.
Sen Schultz: "I absolutely believe that one person can make a difference, and that's generally how the world changes. One person just stands up and says "I'm mad as hell. I'm going to change it. ...My suggestion is pretty much personified by her [Lori Compas] – she just woke up one day and pretty much said "No, this isn't going to happen, and I'm going to do something about it.
How can you make a difference? You have to realize that most of the people who run for office, whether they are Republican or Democrat, are pretty good people. Really, they really want to change the world. At least they start out that way until they realize that the only way they can stay there is to make the deal with the devil – the Faustian bargain. And then they're hooked. And then – it's a dilemma – what do you do?
I think that the answer is you have to say to people that this process is supposed to work. You have to be a good citizen. You have to know the process. I know how it's changed. And here are some specific examples. You can talk about Move to Amend. You can talk about redistricting. And you can say 'Where are you on these issues?' And no, you don't accept 'I'm OK with that." [When you talk to your representatives]
You don't accept 'What was that.' You don't accept 'Well, I'm for it.' You accept 'I'm for it," and then you quickly say 'and what can I expect from your for leadership?' And 'How will you report back?' That's what you have to do. You have to demand leadership. And then you have to tell people 'You want to know what? If there was ever a case for being a single issue voter, defending the process that serves all of us, certainly is a candidate for that. And I want you to know I'm paying attention and I'm doing everything I can to educate my neighbors.'
As a guy who stood for election 12 times, that's a message that rings very loud and very clear. And if we get enough people moving in that direction, the political class will finds its way to the front of the parade. Believe me."
Kirk Lund, leader for Lake Mills Move To Amend brought up the coming March 31 presentation featuring David Cobb of the national Move To Amend organization in the L.D. Fargo Public Library in Lake Mills.
The purpose of the event was to engage local citizens in discussion of the ways in which unregulated big money in politics negatively impacts our important issues. This is relevant preparation for the April 1 ballot referendum, which will ask City of Lake Mills and Town of Waterloo residents if they want a U.S. constitutional amendment stating "Corporations are not people and money is not speech," to reverse the effect of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case.
We would like Wisconsin to join the 16 states that have called on the U.S. Congress to reverse the Citizens United decision of 2010 and add to the 28 Wisconsin communities that have officially called for an amendment through resolutions and referenda. In addition to local actions there are also bills in the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate supporting an amendment.
The bills read:
“We stand with the Move to Amend campaign and communities across the country to support passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution stating:
1. Only human beings — not corporations, limited liability companies, unions, nonprofit organizations or similar associations and corporate entities — are endowed with constitutional rights, and, 2. Money is not speech, and therefore, regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.
Be it further resolved, that we hereby instruct our state and federal representatives to enact resolutions and legislation to advance this effort.”
If you live in the City of Lake Mills, Town of Waterloo, or the Cities of Edgerton, Elkhorn, Delavan, Waukesha, or Wauwatosa, or in the Village of Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Waunakee, De Forest, or Belleville, or in the Town of Windsor, please vote "YES" on April 1, to help us regain control of our government that is supposed to be "of, by, and for the People."
Daniel Fary, Fort Atkinson and Brad Geyer, Jefferson
Rock River Affiliate-Move To Amend (Jefferson and Walworth Counties)
For more information...