I usually reserve my scorn for the Republicans these days, but right at the moment I am deeply cranky at the Democrats.
I just got a spam email (that sounds like nothing quite so much as a loud used-car ad) pointing me to this page. Suffice it to say, the Democrats have apparently submitted a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and they are trying to get zillions of signatures on a petition supporting it.
Now don't get me wrong -- Citizens United is a problem, and not a trivial one. The notion of the "corporate person" has taken deep root in American jurisprudence over the years, and this decision demonstrated that there are some real downsides. And while I'm pretty passionate about the first amendment, I also think there's a place for reasonable campaign finance rules: CU swung things a bit too far towards the fundamentalist viewpoint, IMO.
But I am deeply angry with the Democrats for tossing around a constitutional amendment as if it was just another political football. I am especially angry that, after a couple of minutes of looking around, I haven't yet found the proposed text of this damned amendment. It's not on their home page. Hell, it's not even on their "About" page. I'm sure it is out there somewhere, but they are, as far as I can tell, deliberately obfuscating it, and that is a fine way to lose my support. You can't just say, "We made a Constitutional Amendment, and we're on Your Side, so you know it's good!"
One of America's strengths is an exceptionally streamlined constitution. Compared to many countries, it is short, clear and highly focused on principles, rather than fine-grained rules. It is extremely difficult to change, and for good reason: it isn't a legal code, it is an architecture for that code, and the fundamental guidelines that everything else draws from. No, that isn't consistent, and you can certainly argue about whether you agree with all of those guidelines, but by and large it's still an impressive system, and we should be cautious about tinkering with it.
To me, the way the Democrats are handling this is demeaning to the Constitution. This game of screaming, "CU is evil! We must stop it at All Costs! And we aren't going to bother you with the details!" is deeply insulting to the electorate and the country.
Yes, we need a serious, reasoned debate about the influence of money on politics. And yes, that might eventually lead to an amendment. But hysterically insisting that we should sign This Petition Right Now is not the way to do it...