During these tempestuous days leading up to the Nov. 6 election, my phone keeps ringing for political calls I will not answer. I am informed that seven or eight billion dollars may be spent on this presidential election, which could have gone a long way to ease hunger and injustice.
I keep hearing in my heart and head words from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The president referred to America as "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." "Now," he goes on, "we are engaged in a great... war, testing whether this nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure." Are you troubled, too?
I feel that we are, in a way, engaged in a war, with our elected officials more than ever under the control of special interests. SuperPACs are a frequent source of funding since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission in 2010. The idea of giving corporations the same free speech rights as individual human beings would have been unthinkable to the framers of the Constitution and should be to us. A corporation is not a person, was not conceived by two human parents, does not have a birth certificate or a Social Security number or a passport. Nor does it have a heart.
If you, like me, would like to end the obscenity of having corporations and a few wealthy individuals trying to buy an election that belongs to all of us, you should vote Yes on the democracy amendment, which will be on the ballot in communities across Massachusetts and in Berkshire County will be Question 4. While nonbinding, it instructs our state senator to support a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment that would give constitutional rights to people, not corporations or unions or such, and would allow the people to pass laws limiting the amount of money that could be spent on an election.
Let us hope that the next four years show a return to greater sanity and a greater sense of fairness.
PHOEBE B. HONIG