Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School, is a leading thinker on technology and Internet policy. He is the founder of Creative Commons and author of “Code,” “The Future of Ideas,” and “Free Culture.” He is also the leader behind a new movement to fix Congress by getting Big Money out of the election process.
In a recent E-mail to supporters of taking back government from Big Money and Supreme Court rulings that have enabled corporate election buying, Lessig passionately wrote:
Our Constitution says nothing about the liberty of corporations to engage in politics. What it does say, though, is that the government should be accountable to "We, the People" through elected officials who represent our views and interests.
But now the corrupting influence of special interest money has denied us our say in Congress's decisions. It's time for us to stand up and take it back.
As Lessig notes on the site of the movement he founded to draft a Constitutional Amendment that would prevent Big Money from buying our government:
As Americans, we may disagree on policy issues, but one thing that vast majorities agree on is that the institutions of our government have been corrupted, held hostage by well-funded special interests. It’s no wonder that only 17 percent of the American public in a recent Gallup survey said they had a favorable opinion of Congress; voters believe that corporations, labor unions, and moneyed special interests have a choke hold on politicians. We are disillusioned and discouraged because we don’t believe that our agents in Washington truly represent the will of the people. And the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C.—which permits unlimited independent corporate campaign expenditures—will only make this situation worse.
It is clear that a Constitutional amendment is needed to end the dependence of members of Congress on their campaign funders. But it's equally clear that Congress itself lacks the will to pass such an amendment. As a result, too many people throw up their hands and say, “We give up. Congress won’t fix itself. And there’s nothing that we can do about it.”
Too often, we get caught up in the hot button political story of the day and forget that it is Big Money pulling the strings in D.C. and in our state capitols.
Lawrence Lessig hasn't forgotten and for that he merits the honor of being named this week's BuzzFlash Wings of Justice Award Winner.