THE BLOG
05/18/2016 10:11 am ET Updated May 19, 2017

If We Believe in the American Promise, Time for the 28th Amendment

"We can change the country, it is a democracy and it is in our hands." - Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Historian; American Promise Advisory Council.

African Americans are property. Women have no right to vote. Americans who favor an income tax violate the Constitution. Poll taxes may lock out millions of Americans from the voting booth. Americans may be drafted into the armed services yet have no right to vote. Money is speech and corporations are people.

The Supreme Court made every one these rulings. Except for the last (Citizens United v. FEC), none of these dangerous propositions stood for long because Americans responded with Constitutional amendments. Seven of our 27 amendments overturned Supreme Court rulings. Every generation of Americans has used the Constitutional amendment process to overturn the court and renew the American promise.

Watch Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and others talk about why a 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United is 100 percent possible and 100 percent necessary so that America is governed by people, not big money. We amended the Constitution 12 times in the 20th century and we can do it again now.

The problem has been a long time coming, but Citizens United brought the crisis to a head. In 2010, the court ruled that corporations, unions and those with vast wealth have "free speech" rights to spend unlimited money and override the rights of all Americans. As a result, more than $30 billion from corporations, unions and billionaires has poured into our political process to buy elections, corrupt government, and control policy.

Human constitutional rights now are claimed by the largest, most global corporations to block reform and control our government.

Equal citizenship has been transformed into a class system, where "super-citizens" whose wealth, we are told by the Supreme Court, entitles them to more representation, a louder voice, and more privileges than everyone else.

And our responsibility for self-government is collapsing as well. The hallmarks of citizenship -- deliberation, collaboration, civic engagement -- have given way to anger, hyper-partisanship, and apathy. With most Americans excluded from meaningful participation, approximately only one in three eligible citizens even bothered to vote in 2014, and some contested elections in 2015 saw voter participation at 14 percent.

No reform standing alone can solve this until we overturn Citizens United and rebuild our Constitutional foundation of human, not corporate, liberty and equal citizenship, not purchased power for a few. The way we do that is to pass the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Americans overwhelmingly support the 28th Amendment to overturn Citizens United, with repeated polls showing support of more than 75 percent of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Sixteen states have enacted 28th Amendment resolutions, as have 700 cities and towns in every region of the country. Many of these have involved voter initiatives, which consistently pass by huge cross-partisan margins.

Citizens United and its money-dominated "marketplace" political system frames a national conflict between two irreconcilable Constitutional values: principles of wealth-based representation and corporatism versus principles of human freedom and equal citizenship.

We can't have both, and only one of these will prevail. Whether we fight for and win the 28th Amendment will decide the outcome.