We do hold these
Thanks to the editorial staff on July Fourth for reminding Virginians of the powerful words underpinning the independence of our country that “... all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ... That to secure these rights, Governments ... deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
As we celebrated our Independence Day and as the American flag was raised in testimony of a victory of our citizens over the powers of tyranny and nonrepresentation, we should recognize the internal battle that our democracy is not winning. Average citizens around the country continue to struggle for our right to equal representation. Our political equality continues to be eroded by the corrosive role of big money in politics and the impact of pay-to-play practices on our public policies.
Americans have not given their consent to allow big money and special interests to influence our elections. Our governments — both in Washington, D.C., and in Richmond — should listen to the voice of the governed, 75% of whom — irrespective of party — want to get big money out of politics.
All of our elected officials — whether in the U.S. Congress or in the Virginia General Assembly — should take action to strengthen the voices of their citizens, through passing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that allows Congress and the states, yet again, to resume their right to regulate election spending.
Meanwhile, our Virginia legislators, after killing most campaign finance legislation in the General Assembly this past year, recently have established a legislative study committee on campaign finance. This committee should commit itself to transparency and listening to the voice of the governed. More than 200 years ago, we fought and died for the right to political equality and self-government. That struggle has not ended.