As millions of Americans come together this week with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, they may arrive with divisive political news on their minds. In this time of giving thanks for our blessings, we at American Promise encourage Americans to leave partisan politics behind and “come to the table” to share a vision for a better future: a post-amendment America, where we all have an equal voice in the policies that shape our lives.
Every day, we see signs of divide in our country, reinforced by hot-button headlines and polls that reflect partisan influences. How deeply do we perceive this divide? The most recent Civility Poll from the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service finds that a majority of Americans believe our country is two-thirds of the way to the “edge of a civil war” and that political, racial, and class divisions are growing worse.
As we head into the holiday season and the upcoming 2020 election campaigns, these dire poll numbers appear to reinforce the perspective that there is little Americans can agree upon, making collaboration and understanding unlikely and leading to divisive debates.
But at American Promise we know there is a common foundational principle that a majority of Americans across the political spectrum can agree upon and build from to reclaim our democracy: reducing the influence of big money in politics so our elected officials represent the will of we the people rather than the interests of wealthy individuals, corporations, unions, and special interests financing their election campaigns.
We’ve seen and heard this common concern from citizens across the country, and several recent polls reinforce that it lies at the heart of other democracy reforms:
- A recent poll, commissioned by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and administered by one Democratic firm and one Republican firm, found that a majority of American voters agree that “corruption in the political system” is the most serious problem facing the country—more than other issues getting greater attention in the media.
- That poll also revealed that 60% of voters believe that the money spent by special interests affects their lives, and that 90% of voters want politicians in Washington to stand up to wealthy special interests rather than work with them.
- The Georgetown Civility Poll cited earlier also included some signs of hope: It found that 87% of voters believe “compromise and common ground should be the goal for political leaders.”
At American Promise, we see the strength of collaboration when American citizens from across the political spectrum come together for the common cause that is the promise of our democracy: the power of the people to elect leaders who represent their interests. Our movement for the 28th Amendment is built upon the knowledge that most Americans realize the many problems created by big money in politics—including driving partisan division—and know that wealthy donors hold greater power to influence policy that affects all of us, every day.
Our nation was founded on the principles of personal freedoms that allow for a range of political beliefs, and as individuals we each have unique policy concerns—from health care to technology rights to free market competition and beyond. But we can agree that the common issue of big money in politics is corrupting the foundation of our democracy and weakening our individual rights.
To claim control of our political system, people everywhere are joining the cross-partisan, cross-country movement for the 28th Amendment to end the domination of big money in our political system. In recent years we’ve seen grassroots success powered by citizen leaders across the country, who are coming together in hopes of fixing our ailing democracy so our elected leaders can take meaningful action on issues that a majority of Americans agree upon.
Together we can demonstrate the power of cross-partisan collaboration by ending the domination of big money and moving toward a political system that works for all. Here are a few ways to be a part of this effort—and as a way to begin the process of crossing the political divide, consider asking someone with different beliefs from you to join you.
- Find or launch an American Promise Association near you and help build a national network in support of the 28th Amendment.
- Join a Business for American Promise chapter and work with other business leaders in nonpartisan advocacy to foster honest economic competition and reestablish integrity in government.
- Encourage your elected officials and local candidates to sign the American Promise Candidate Pledge and promise to use their office to advance the 28th Amendment.
As we come together with others for the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s appropriate to remember the message that President Abraham Lincoln shared in his 1863 Thanksgiving Address amid the Civil War: He asked that “gracious gifts” be “acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.”