By Paul Gorski
I had a huge writer’s block this week. What could I write about that was not asking residents to stand up and take charge of their local government and community? Not rebellion, mind you, but I have spent quite a bit of time encouraging people to vote, to contact their legislators and to just get involved. These topics are, after all, the theme of this column, but I wanted something fresh.
However, I was re-reading Brandon Reid’s column, “Illinois third state to call for constitutional convention to overturn ‘Citizens United’” posted Dec. 4, 2014, at http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/12/04/illinois-third-state-to-call-for-constitutional-convention-to-overturn-citizens-united/ and noticed that his article had 495 Facebook likes. Wow. If you missed the article, read it.
Reid discusses how “Illinois has become the third state in the nation to call for a constitutional convention to amend campaign finance law to overturn the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. … The Citizens United ruling found that, contrary to longstanding precedents, corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money to promote or defeat candidates.”
The article, as other articles he and I have both written, call on our legislators to fix campaign finance laws so elections cannot be bought by the highest bidder. It seems many people agree, again, 495 Facebook likes, some retweets and a few online comments. What a terrific response to a great article.
While it is important for this paper to share this information with readers, and it is great that these types of articles are getting such positive responses, we need to do more. The staff at The Rock River Times and I truly appreciate your letters, comments and responses. However, send these comments to your legislators, too. We need to look beyond social media and do hard lobbying of our elected leaders.
If you do not know who your local legislators are, contact us, and we will help get you that information. Once you have that information, I suggest contacting local, state and federal officials so we are all on board the campaign finance reform movement.
The residents are the backbone of this community; do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Elected officials are supposed to answer to you. Put the pressure on these elected officials to reform campaign financing laws. If the laws remain unchanged, those people and companies with the biggest bank accounts will rule, and that is not good for this nation.
Campaign finance reform crosses party lines. We all want fair, open elections. We also hope that our politicians could make decisions without being influenced by big money. Money has always influenced elections, but now, there are no limits. There will be no limit to political corruption without limits to the cash flowing into elections. Make campaign finance reform your top topic when contacting legislators in 2015.
So much for not having a rallying cry type of article! Have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Thanks again for reading The Rock River Times.
Paul Gorski (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.
From the Dec. 17-23, 2014, issue