By the People, For the People: 8 Concrete Ways for Citizens to Take Back Power
When it comes to national politics, we Americans surely have our share of disagreement on the issues. However, one issue in America garners broad support among people across all political persuasions—the need to ensure equal representation for all and limit political spending so wealthy individuals and special interests don’t get to define the rules of government.
Yet through a number of rulings, notably Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court has in recent decades awarded more political power to those with greater financial means. These rulings don’t align with the beliefs of the American people. Recent polling indicates that 75% of all Americans support efforts for the 28th Constitutional Amendment to address this issue, including 66% of Republicans, 85% of Democrats and 70% of Independents.
Constitutional amendments give citizens a way to assert our own rights and reverse the trends of the Supreme Court—something we’ve done many times in the past. The Founding Fathers devised the amendment process to empower American citizens, giving us a way to keep our democracy current over the centuries. And we Americans have exercised that power to pass 27 Constitutional amendments—seven of which overturned Supreme Court decisions such as restricting voting rights for women, people of color, and citizens aged 18 to 21. An amendment is a long-term solution and a time-honored way citizens have used to continually expand our definition of “equality for all.”
Now it is our generation’s turn to use the amendment process to ensure equal representation for all once more, this time by ensuring that every person’s voice matters—regardless of wealth or income.
Passing an amendment is possible, but it takes dedication. To make it happen, we will all have to work together. The good news is that we almost all agree it needs to be done, and simple steps we all can take can have a major impact. Read on for 8 simple, concrete steps you can take to further the movement toward the 28th Amendment and ensure equal political representation for every American.
1. Make a pledge: Make the personal pledge to re-engage as a citizen. This doesn’t mean posting on social media. It means supporting our communities in action. Pledge one hour a week to volunteering or taking some kind of positive community or political action. If you like, you can also sign the American Promise petition here, and pledge to “join the 50-state Citizen Uprising in my state to support the 28th Amendment so that people—not money, not corporations—govern America.”
2. Get involved locally: American Promise Associations in states and cities across the nation are doing simple but effective work to generate grassroots energy directed at forcing Congress to act on the issue of big money in politics. Come join us for an hour a week or an hour a month to talk openly and civilly with people in your community about an issue about which nearly 90% of Americans agree: The need to restrict big money in politics and ensure that we all have an equal voice—regardless of our income. Find out what’s happening in your state.
3. Share your concerns: More of a writer than a talker? Raise this important and broadly supported issue in your community by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. It’s simple and effective. Follow our guide here.
4. Rally your friends & family: Ok, here’s where we do get to share on social media! Invite your friends and family to like American Promise’s social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter); like and share our posts; and subscribe to, share and recommend the American Promise newsletter. We will keep you and your social network inspired, apprised of our activities, our progress, opportunities to act and more. Follow us and join in!
5. Ask your candidates to sign the pledge: Our representatives are supposed to represent us, right? Ask your representatives to pledge to represent you, not monied special interests. Before November, ask local candidates and incumbents to sign the American Promise pledge to support a 28th Amendment to ensure equal representation for all citizens via disclosure and limitation of money in politics. Find the pledge here. See who’s signed.
6. Support a November ballot campaign: After collecting signatures since last September, this month volunteers of the Massachusetts-based ballot committee People Govern Not Money delivered more than 100,000 certified citizen signatures to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, securing a spot for the 28th Amendment on the ballot this November. This would make Massachusetts the 20th state to formally call for the 28th Amendment. Support the Vote Yes on 2 campaign to help educate and inform Massachusetts citizens about this issue in the lead up to November 6. Just $10 will help us deliver success!
7. Support a ballot signature drive: Wyoming Promise is an American Promise partner collecting signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative. Donate to this organization to support its efforts to add Wyoming to the growing list of states formally calling for the 28th Amendment.
8. Become an American Promise member: Donate $28 to become an American Promise member. Be an official supporter of the 28th: Get our emails, local updates, event news, personal messages from our president and board, and a free American Promise window cling.