Money is Not Democracy - A Plea for Measure 53 and Campaign Finance Reform By Lloyd Marbet
I want to thank everyone who supports the effort to end political bribery, the struggle commonly known as Campaign Finance Reform. It is a movement that crosses the political spectrum and touches upon all the political issues that we care so greatly about. This is an issue that needs our attention now, as we have only the month of June to accomplish a most difficult task.
Currently our supporters have turned in 15,000 signatures on our petition, yet we need a total of 120,000 signatures by July 2. We have distributed tens of thousands of copies of our petition at numerous events in a volunteer effort. And because it is a volunteer effort I do not know if we will get on the ballot—but I do know that if enough people care, anything is possible—and we still have time.
The key to any change is simply Perseverance, Perseverance, Perseverance—no matter how long it takes—no matter how great the obstacles—no matter the disappointments and failures you confront.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to stand up against great odds.
I am reminded of other struggles that have occurred over time. Hear the words of that great abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, when he graphically described his level of commitment to end the scourge of slavery: On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest; I will not equivocate; I will not retreat a single inch; and I will be heard.
Or feel the power in the words of William Shakespeare, accompanying a photograph of a clear-cut in British Columbia, which was printed on the front page of the “Forest Voice” by Tim Hermach’s Native Forest Council: Pardon Me Thou Bleeding Piece Of Earth That I Am Meek And Gentle With These Butchers
Or read Arianna Huffington’s latest book “Fanatics and Fools, The Game Plan for Winning Back America” wherein she states:
We have created a democracy that links us all, and with it come not only opportunities but obligations. There are no gates or walls high enough. There are no bank accounts large enough to buy you and your family and your friends protection from the fear and hunger of those left behind or to isolate you from the consequences of growing social inequities. We are all in this boat together. And the fact there isn’t a hole in your end of the boat doesn’t mean you are safe.
I know the power of human beings when they are willing to stand up and make change. I have personally witnessed it both within myself and in others.
Every one reading this is an agent of change—every one of you—and no one knows the true depth of your human potential and your capacity to do good—until and unless you exercise your muscle of compassion. We know it’s there because we all have been shaped by those who have come before us and left their mark upon our lives. I believe it is for this reason that we continue to struggle against those great odds.
Most of my life I have worked as an activist, starting with my opposition to the Vietnam War, followed by more than 30 years as an anti-nuclear activist.
When I first began to actively oppose nuclear power, Richard Nixon was President, we were still in Vietnam, and the nuclear industry, just like the war, was wrapped in the flag of a country that could do no wrong. For the majority of the nation, activists were lumped into a single category, viewed as dissenters, unpatriotic, betrayers of the national objective, economic obstructionists, you name it. We were invited “to love it or leave it.” It was an invitation we were unwilling to accept, and we are still unwilling to accept it.
There is not enough time to describe the long arduous effort it took to eventually shut down the nuclear industry in Oregon, but I would like to share with you one personal experience that comes to mind.
Year after year, our organization Don’t Waste Oregon survived financially by holding an Annual Walkathon in Portland’s Forest Park. We started this event in 1973, and every year a hundred or so people participated. This went on for six years until in March of 1979, a loss of coolant accident occurred at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant leading to a core meltdown and a narrowly averted nuclear disaster. That year a thousand people walked the 10 mile trail in Forest Park. In fact so many people cared they became an erosive force on the trail.
I have never forgotten that Walkathon, nor the spirit of those who cared. At that moment, the days of the nuclear industry in Oregon were numbered.
With that in mind, I invite you to consider the full extent of your powers.
Like Three Mile Island, George Bush and his Residential Administration, in its failure to act with integrity, is a meltdown of the core political system in our United States of America. Campaign Finance Reform is the path of extrication.
We are citizen legislators in Oregon. Not only do we have the power to vote for candidates, we also have the power to create law directly. Our ancestors sacrificed greatly to give us the initiative and referendum process in 1902. Not only do you have the opportunity to get rid of George Bush but you can, at the same time, enact the most comprehensive legislation on campaign finance reform in the nation.
By doing so Oregon will be changed overnight from presently being one of only six states in the nation with no limitation on campaign contributions and expenditures, into being number one in the nation with the most comprehensive restrictions and reporting requirements.
You have the power to do that, but only if you care enough to exercise it.
It always comes down to that age-old question: Do you care enough? Will you stand up and stop the political bribery of a Corporate Democracy manipulated by a Corporate Media? It is like a noose wrapped around our throats: stifling our communities, destroying our environment, promoting a dog-eat-dog existence at the expense of what it means to be compassionate human beings caring for the well-being of each other and life on earth.
I plead with you to take the power into your own hands and once again demonstrate what it means to truly exercise sovereignty. Get a copy of our petition and help get the signatures we need. Enlist your friends and family in this cause and join the growing chorus of people who demand to be heard and are no longer willing to sacrifice themselves upon an alter of disillusionment espoused by those whose only claim to control over our lives rests in their deliberate deception and greed.
Lloyd Marbet is a leading voice for progressive activism in Oregon. He is known for his successful efforts to shut down the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, and was nominated by the Green Party as a candidate for Secretary of State of Oregon. He is a core participant in the Money Is Not Democracy movement for Campaign Finance Reform.
For more information on campaign finance reform, contact: Paul or Lee Dayfield (Portland) 503.258.8011; Andy Reid, (Portland) 503.238.5761; Lloyd Marbet (Boring) 503.637.3549; Harry Lonsdale (Sisters) 541.549.1556; Leonard Nelson (Marion County) 503.581.5195; Pam Driscoll (Lane County) 541.343.5628.