By: Tiffany Castro
“[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he American people will no longer accept the status quo of big money corruption and voter suppression …. There will be a growing political cost to pay for candidates and politicians who defend corruption. [Thus, Congress should] “[e]ither end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free and fair elections or arrest hundreds of people, day after day, simply for demanding an equal voice,” announced the website for Democracy Spring.
Although the online publication, SALON describes this event as “one of the most massive acts of civil disobedience in recent U.S. history [with] over 1,000 people … arrested in an enormous sit-in protest at the U.S. Capitol,” Seminole State students were mostly in the dark.
“I haven’t actually heard about it at all,” Seminole State student, Christian MacDougall revealed, referring to the mass sit-ins that took place this past month on Capitol Hill as very few media outlets have been covering it at all.
Michelle Ilugbusi, Direct Connect student, said she heard about it but did not see very many things pertaining to it so she ignored the hashtag that made a short appearance. “I believe I saw it because it was briefly trending on Twitter (low on the list, might I add). I looked at the tag but I still didn’t get anything from it so I just left it and figured it wasn’t important.”
‘Democracy Spring’, as labelled, planned a series of protests that spanned the course of a week where hundreds of people would not only risk arrest, but would flood Washington D.C.’s jails after staging multiple sit-ins and marches at the Capitol building. Protesters called for the passage of four bills that will attempt to reduce the “influence of money in politics” coupled with the sit-in that will “rock the business-as-usual cycle of this election and catapult this critical issue onto center stage.”
The four bills, which have already been introduced in Congress, deal with campaign finance reform, public funding of elections, and increased voting rights, including introducing a constitutional amendment overturning the controversial 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
This basically means that large corporations and labor unions can give as much money as they want to convince the public to vote for or against a candidate. Hillary Clinton, who happens to be one of its greatest beneficiaries, as reported by NBC, said, “We have to end the flood of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our election, corrupting our political process, drowning out the voices and votes of people.”
“American democracy is in crisis,” Kai Newkirk, Democracy Spring’s Campaign Director, said in a statement. “When hundreds of people are being arrested day after day at the Capitol, we need our elected officials and those running for office to stand up and speak out to end legalized political corruption and voter suppression.
Protestors were arrested for violating a D.C. code against, “crowding, obstructing, and incommoding.” Among its headlining supporters were Mark Ruffalo, Congressman Keith Ellison and Bernie Sanders.