Marylanders Take a Stand Against Citizens United

Marylanders Take a Stand Against Citizens United

Activists stood out in the cold and damp to make their voices heard

Today Common Cause Maryland had the great privilege of joining citizens, partner organizations, and legislators in a rally marking the third anniversary of Citizens United and calling on Congress to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision. Seventy-five people gathered in the cold and damp out front of the State House in Annapolis to show their support for a simple concept — corporations are not people, and campaign contributions are not speech.

After seeing billionaires and corporations flood our elections with cash over the last two years, coupled with intentional efforts to keep ordinary people from voting, we need to remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who reminded us of the “fierce urgency of now.” The time to overturn Citizens United and to get corporate money out of politics is now. This is a fight we can win.

Participants at the rally held signs that read “Corporations Are Not People,” “Money Out — Voters In”, and “Money Is Not Speech.” Two actors, dressed as a corporate person and a beleaguered billionaire, provided street theater to build the atmosphere at the event.

National and state legislators from Maryland, including Congressman John Sarbanes, Senators Jamie Raskin, Karen Montgomery, Roger Manno, and Jim Rosapepe, and Delegates Jon Cardin, Kirill Reznik, and Michael Summers all spoke to express their outrage at the Supreme Court’s ruling. Their message: Maryland is ready to ratify a Constitutional Amendment to overturn this decision.

“The voices of individual Americans are being drowned out by moneyed special interests with millions of dollars to spend and no limits in sight,” said Congressman Sarbanes, author of the Grassroots Democracy Act. “Without action, Congress’ dependency on big money will continue to corrode the institution’s ability to process the will of the people.”

Hosting the rally alongside Common Cause Maryland were Get Money Out Maryland, Maryland PIRG, Progressive Maryland, and Public Citizen.

The impressive turnout shows that there’s broad and passionate support for change. Nobody can know how long it will take to overturn this terrible decision, but we have learned in the past three years that it need not take long.

There’s no doubt what the voters want. The only question is whether elected representatives will represent those who have elected them. I know that if we insist upon it, they will.