Where have they been during this campaign against them, this campaign to control them, this campaign to restore the average citizen’s place in the political campaign world?
Where have they been, those who easily write six and seven-figure checks to buy candidates and laws and parts of the state constitution?
Where have they been in our mailboxes and on our television screens and on our radios, telling us why Constitutional Amendment 2 is bad for us, bad for our political system, unfair and unjust to them?
Where have they been in defending themselves from accusations that they are abusive of the democratic process, arrogant in that abuse, and uncaring about those whose voices they overwhelm by their wealth—because they can overwhelm them?
Their silence on a proposal to limit their contributions to campaigns to relative pennies speaks loudly of the reasons the proposal is on the ballot, for they already know the people cannot control them, cannot limit them; they are too powerful, too cunning.
Their silence hints that they already know how they will render Constitutional Amendment 2 nothing more than an exercise by voters. Their silence tells us they already know how they will exploit contribution limits or attack them in the courts.
They who are silent already know their arguments before judges who will be asked to dismiss the people’s wishes. They already believe they will overturn the people’s wishes because, after all, what do the people know?
Let the people think they can control us, their silence says. Let the people think they can make their voices equal to ours again. Yes, let them think it. Let them think they accomplish something by approving the amendment—while we already know otherwise.
In two years, they are thinking, we will let them know what we think of Constitutional Amendment 2. And we are right. Because we are rich enough to know what is right.
But the people think, too. And the people will see what happens if Amendment 2 passes and the next election cycle shows new creative exploitations of the law. And the people, if they approve Amendment 2, can act again. And again if they must.
Or perhaps the people might be surprised if Amendment 2 passes to see that enough of the legislators they will elect might find enough courage to fix leaks, seal loopholes, and strengthen weaknesses that become apparent. But the people shouldn’t count on it.
Big money is silent. Because big money knows.