At the end of 2011, Michael Moore announced in an e-mail to his hundreds of thousands of online followers that "... one of my top priorities in 2012 would be to spearhead a drive to remove all money from the electoral process. Period. Nothing -- and I mean nothing -- we want to accomplish, from creating jobs to protecting the environment to preventing wars, will happen as long as those who hold the purse strings are the ones who own Congress."
No details followed on how he plans to accomplish this feat. One would almost believe that if anyone could achieve such a lofty goal, it would be Michael Moore, for this is a man who stands up to injustice wherever he finds it. First and foremost, he is a brilliant, multi-award winning documentary filmmaker, and an author who has taken on the major issues of the day that trouble our country - from shipping our jobs overseas to gun control to healthcare. His new autobiographical book title sums him up neatly: Here Comes Trouble. A lifetime lightning rod and fearless voice for the voiceless, he should certainly use his voice and clout to join in on the already vast network engaged in fighting to overturn the Citizens United decision, coming up on the second anniversary since it cast a black veil over our country. Michael will no doubt join one of the over 150 organized protests planned across our nation on January 21st to mark the day.
The Move To Amend coalition, with over 150 member organizations, has been at work, mainly in the states, pushing for resolutions locally and on the state level in support of overturning Citizen's United, for ultimately the states will have to ratify such an amendment by a 3/4 majority of state legislatures if it is to become the law of the land. So deep grassroots organizing has been under way with considerable success, yet much more work still needs to be done in the trenches on the state level. And, as expected, Public Citizen is playing a major role, increasing its staff to help take on this issue.
What Michael wants to contribute to this movement is unclear. His voice can certainly rally the people. Does he plan on going state to state to spur people to launch petitions for resolutions and amendments to overturn Citizens United? This could be one approach. Yet, I see something else in Michael's future that could become equally significant, while complementing his stated mission. Since he clearly points a finger at "our" bought-out Congress as being a major part of the problem, why not go after the deadbeats in Congress that have been bought off, including those tepid Blue Dog Dems? They are all a part of the establishment that perpetuates gridlock and dysfunction and serves only their special interest paymasters, instead of the constituents whom they are supposed to represent and who sent them to D.C. in the first place.
The two parties have become almost one and the same because of the corrupting influence of money in our politics. Clean house, Michael, by setting up an organization to identify, sponsor and fund Progressive candidates for Congress. Such an organization, under the Moore brand, could rally hundreds of thousands and even millions of members. There must be a centralized approach to supporting Progressive candidates, and you have already built a following that is huge. Supporting just 25 truly Progressive candidates could change the makeup of Congress for the better and have a profound effect on all of our lives. Your support on the campaign trail for a Progressive candidate would give them incredible exposure, rallying the People to get behind them. Star power is desperately needed when the candidate isn't an Elizabeth Warren, and you could be a critical, passionate voice making the argument for these candidates. Your organization could also work with the Congressional Progressive Caucus to mentor these candidates and give them a common platform from which to speak.
Your organization could be named something like "Michael Moore's Clearing-House For Progressive Candidates." Yes, there are a handful of progressive orgs that already support and raise money for Progressive candidates, but they do it by soliciting donations for the few candidates they take on during an election cycle, raising relatively small amounts of money and often supporting candidates on a local and state level. They are also engaged in a multitude of issues, so a specialist organization is needed to move Progressives into positions in Congress where their voices and actions would be effective, on this one critical issue in particular.
Think of the Moore brand and its ability to tap into the Progressive Hollywood community and enlist their support and star power to the cause of electing citizen advocates to Congress, like our Founding Fathers envisioned. They saw Congress as a forum where citizens could serve the nation for a limited time and then to return to their private lives -- in those days on their farms -- not a permanent, private club for "professional" politicians. Encourage a new crop of young people to serve their states and country as a noble calling would have a more immediate effect on Congress, while continuing to build the movement to overturn Citizens United and go to public funding of campaigns.
This could be a three-pronged strategy to retake our country from those moneyed interests and set us on the right path once again to retake our democracy. There are plenty of supporters in Congress for overturning Citizen's United and going to public campaign financing, we just need to increase their numbers, and the proposals I have suggested could work. Here is my first recommendation for a candidate in your neighboring state of Illinois that should be on your list to support for Congress: Dr. David Gill of the new, Democratically trending IL 13th, running against 40-year professional politician and Boehner foot-soldier Tim Johnson.
Our nation deserves a better government, Michael, and you are one of the few people with the ability to actually help make that happen. Put your talents and power to good use and get involved in a tangible way, like I have suggested. America will thank you for it.
- with Jonathan Stone