Documentary to be shown Constitution Day

For the Troy Daily News

TROY — Troy resident Deborah Hogshead, a member of Greater Dayton Move to Amend, will host the showing of “Legalize Democracy,” from 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 17, at St. John’s UCC, on the corner of Canal and Walnut streets in downtown Troy.

New Carlisle resident Mary Sue Gmeiner, affiliate coordinator of Greater Dayton Move to Amend, will lead a discussion after the showing and answer questions about Move to Amend.

“Legalize Democracy” is a 30-minute documentary that introduces viewers to the ways in which the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted by the courts and amended in response to grassroots movements, and it examines the ways in which elections, public policy, and legislation have been influenced by large corporations and wealthy donors.

The documentary also describes Move to Amend, a national grassroots coalition promoting its “We the People Amendment” in response to the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.

In Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court said the government cannot restrict a corporation, association, or labor union from spending money to produce a message that advocates the election (or the defeat) of a particular political candidate as long as the favored candidate has no role in the development and production of the message. According to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice, campaign spending to influence key Senate races has risen dramatically since the Supreme Court decision.

Re-introduced in Congress in April 2015 by Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota, H.J.Res. 48, the We the People Amendment, specifies that rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only and that political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

The Constitution was signed Sept. 17, 1787. It was followed in 1791 by the Bill of Rights with its ten amendments promoting civil rights. Since 2004, Sept. 17 has been observed across the nation as Constitution Day, a time for commemorating and learning about the Constitution.

The Sept. 17 event in Troy provides students and adults an opportunity to examine the strengths and limitations of the Constitution. It also reminds people that voting is essential and one of many ways in which citizens can promote change.

Ohio communities that have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment include Dayton, Athens, Barberton, Brecksville, Defiance, Lakewood, and Oberlin.

Hundreds of organizations have endorsed Move to Amend, and more than 375,000 people have signed Move to Amend’s Petition: “We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”

In Dayton, the Move to Amend affiliate has been active since February 2013.