Last September, when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Citizen’s United vs. the FEC, I wrote a blog (A New Era of Political Equity) articulating what I felt would be the ramifications for nonprofits should the court decide that corporations have First Amendment, free speech rights akin to those of the individual.
Yesterday’s decision, which “rejects limits of corporate spending on political campaigns” now insures that virtually everybody in America, along with corporations and unions, has the right to overtly advocate for, or against, a candidate or incumbent…except for America’s 1.4 million nonprofit organizations/businesses. We alone must remain silent.
Each of us must now consider this reality. In a year in which 36 states will elect new governor’s, and countless cities will elect mayors, we who feed the poor, shelter homeless vets, nurture the elderly, sustain the arts, protect the environment, care for the sick, educate children, etc…must sit on the sidelines and bear silent witness to a process that relies on our work, yet excludes our voice.
There’s a word for this….”wrong”.
And while I for one will work tirelessly to challenge this dynamic, none of us can, or should, loose sight of the fact that we do have power. There are 100 million people who work at, or volunteer with, any number of America’s dynamic nonprofit organizations. Our votes have currency.
We must recognize that we and we alone, are the ONLY force that can provide a counter-balance to powers that would emphasize dividends over citizens.
We must realize that this can ONLY be achieved when set aside historic, understandable, yet detrimental divisions, and finally and firmly stand together. Only from that vantage point will we be able to ask, and insure, that each candidate provides derailed plans for how they would use EVERY asset in the community to achieve their vision for a city, a state or our country.
It could take time, to be sure, to evolve from the cacophony of causes that now mutes our shared potential….but we don’t have the luxury of time. That is why I, for one, am ready to join my voice with yours, and yours, and yours and yours….and I am ready to do it today, so that, regardless of how much money one group spends in a campaign—the community we share will come first.
To that end, I ask you to join me…and all the others who have already signed up for the V3 Campaign, so that the Voice, Value and Votes of the nonprofit sector is heard–legally, and loud and clear–in every election.