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Declaration of Independence, Part II: Eliminating Special-Interest Influence

Until special interests are banned from funding campaigns and providing jobs and other gifts to our 'leaders,' our governments will never relate to the needs of the people.

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all humanity is created equal, that all living persons are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among the people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter it,  laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

When a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce them under a perversion of power, it is their right, it is their duty to provide new guards for their future security.
 
Such has been the patient and growing sufferance of these American people for at least 40 years; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to require change. The recent history of the United States, its Congress, its presidencies, is one of repeated injuries and usurpations, all owing to special interests and other lobbies that have perverted individual and especially middle-class opportunity, dashed hopes for a renewed economy and set aside the promise that each succeeding generation will improve upon the last.

We, therefore, We the People of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled not in one place but existing as free humanity in every state of the great union, do solemnly publish and declare, that we are, and of right ought to be free and independent of all Special Interest, that such lobbies have no right to demand slavery from us, to be beholden to their thirst for greed, to give up our liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to forego any reasonable and secure future for our young, to abandon the glue of the nation, that is, its middle class.

We therefore declare that from this date forth, We the People are absolved from special-interest allegiance in favor of publicly funded election of all in Congress and the president him(her)self, with no special-interest money allowed as influence of any sort.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our sacred honor.

(With apologies to the Founders.)

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Maureen September 25, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Art: You say "I do not think any lobby should fund a candidate or give him (her) a job after the person leaves government" What about those in government? For example, the ones that Brenda mentions ..... Frank Sparaco, Republican minority leader in the county legislature and major player in the independence party who is given a part time job in Clarkstown with a salary of $75,000 to 'represent constituents' in snowy weather. 260 people applied and none were qualified. I read about one poor guy, unemployed, bought a suit, thinking this was a job he was qualified for. Or the chairman of the Bronx republican party, Jay Savino, who is given a job filling out tax cert forms for $80+ thousand and just sat in court during the Palisades mall tax case while another law firm tried the case. Or Ed Lettre, who heads the conservative party and is paid about $180 thousand by Clarkstown and the town board are fearful about giving him funds to fix the senior citizen centers in case he runs the costs over by 50%! All this general talk in your article is blah, blah, blah if you are not specific about what changes you would like to see on the ground. Any suggestions?
art gunther III September 25, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Maureen, My comment is directed toward the lobby system in Washington that has become perverted to the extent that ordinary voices cannot be heard. National elections, whether for president or Congress, are supposedly built around issues, but behind the curtain, special interests are pulling strings on talking heads. You mention local politics, such as in Clarkstown. I am not informed about them, but if ordinary voice is drowned out there, too, then the same remedy applies: a national ban on special-interest campaign financing in favor of public money so that the playing field is leveled and so that "favors" are not owed, nationally or local. That is my concrete suggestion.
HENRY FERGUSON September 25, 2012 at 11:06 PM
There was a time in America when enough citizens took sufficient interest in the operation of the political party of their choice and were therefore able to nominate trustworthy fellow citizens for public office.
HENRY FERGUSON September 25, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Isn't it obvious that we are own problem? If enough people today took the time to be active participants in the political system there would be better candidates for public office.
Mike September 25, 2012 at 11:33 PM
The concrete solution IMO is term limits. At least this way, you do not have politicians making careers and being cowtowed to special interests. Not sure how to minimize the role of political parties- that is a much harder solution.

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