Jim, California

Dear America,

I am an 85 year old retiree living on Social Security. I feel very vulnerable to the actions of uncontrolled big donating political groups interested only in increasing their wealth at our expense. The Supreme Court seems uninterested here for they have removed the protection we once had.

Sincerely,

Jim, California

Jake, Illinois

Dear America,

Shortly before the Inauguration in January 2017, I decided to act. I became a precinct committeeman in my township in the hopes of getting others out to vote and working on local elections because our local government effects us the most. I believe that you can’t have family values if you don’t value families, and that a community is stronger when everyone is working together. I believe that if you think global and act local, good things will happen for democracy. We still have a long way to go, I still have a lot of work to do and much to learn, but I feel better knowing that I’m out trying to do something rather than sitting on my couch watching TV or looking at Twitter.

Sincerely,

Jake, Illinois

Ken, Kansas

Dear America,

My experience with the American political system started as a 11-year old passing out campaign literature in the presidential election campaign in 1940. Fast forward to my college age years when I joined a local political party and became educated about getting people out to vote in both the primary and general election. All of this occurred in the state of Kansas.

Later I worked for two congressmen on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. At this point I had the opportunity to knock on doors in elections and encourage voters to support candidates.

Getting more people voting should be the goal of all who believe in making democracy work. This takes education about democracy which translates into persuading people to vote in every election!

Sincerely,

Ken, Kansas

Ellen, New Hampshire

Dear America,

I am an asthmatic, like millions of other Americans, and need a rescue inhaler. The propellant that used to be in these inhalers, CFC, was very effective in sending the medicine deep into the lungs. In the early 2000s, GlaxoSmithKline saw their opportunity, and lobbied Congress to make CFCs in inhalers illegal, because they had developed a proprietary alternative, and far inferior, propellant, HFA. Not only is this propellant insufficient to deliver medication deep into the lungs, and in fact causes clogging of the inhaler which was never before a problem, but generic rescue inhalers disappeared overnight, sending the price of an inhaler from around $5 to over $50, and in some cases hundreds of dollars. Millions of asthmatics lungs, and pockets, are suffering…all so Glaxo could make an extra buck. Our ‘democracy’ at work.

Sincerely,

Ellen, New Hampshire

Bob, Minnesota

Dear America,

I was very grateful when Minnesota passed the voucher legislation. I felt helpless that I could not financially support candidates that shared my values. Candidates that I did not support often were receiving financial support form individuals and corporations. It was not fair to sometimes have people win elections simply by outspending their opponent. The vouchers created a more level playing field that is vital to a true democracy.

I would like for this to go even further. I support every candidate being held to a specified amount that can be spent an election. The money that goes into political campaigns could feed every child/family in this country that goes with no or little food each day.

Sincerely,

Bob, Minnesota

James, Texas

Dear America,

We as a nation are in dire need of fundamental campaign finance reform measures. Numerous pressing issues (climate change, food labeling, gun safety, immigration reform, prison reform, education reform, short-term lending regulation, healthcare reform, banking regulation, opioid regulation) remain vexing problems primarily due to corporations’ ability to curry favor with elected officials. The corrupting influence of money in our political system is undermining our democratic traditions and discouraging Americans from voting and/or running for office. This ominous development may well end our experiment in representative democracy unless we alter this decades-long trend. For the sake of the republic, we must amend the US Constitution to state that corporations are not people (and do not have constitutional rights) and money is not speech (and thus can be regulated by state and/or federal campaign finance laws). Short of accomplishing this, no other reform of significance will be achieved. The moneyed interests will turn any reform to their benefit, often at the expense of the nation as a whole.

Sincerely,

James, Texas

Paul, Massachusetts

Dear America,

Massachusetts has a bottle deposit law, but it only covers carbonated beverages. The state legislature declined for 10 years to vote on our bill to include bottled water, so we gathered 150,000 signatures and put it on the ballot. At first, polls showed a significant majority in favor of the bill. Then came $8 million in misleading attack ads from the food and beverage industry, and we lost in November. Score: Powerful Special Interests – 1, We the People – 0.

Sincerely,

Paul, Massachusetts

Melissa, North Carolina

Dear America,

I’m 60 years old and never missed voting in an election. I never bought into the my vote won’t make a difference apathy. Until now. Now I believe we have a Congress that doesn’t represent us. The majority of Americans support gun reform, DACA, abortion rights and 42 years later we are still fighting to preserve Roe, gun laws haven’t changed, and the dreamers are still twisting in the wind. Somehow a minority has hijacked the wishes of the majority. Legislation is being written by lobbyists. I didn’t vote for a lobbyist. It infuriates me when I hear my representative say they were handed a copy of the bill by a lobbyist. I really shouldn’t be surprised since my representative has to spend so much of their time fundraising. We have lost our voice to known and unknown big money contributors and foreign sources. The Supreme Courts decision on Citizens United is ruining our government and our elections, and I’m guessing the majority would agree.

Sincerely,

Melissa, North Carolina