Every spring I buy my share of flowers at plant sales and nurseries until the yard, at least the front and back porch look sufficiently cheery and welcoming. We have several areas around the property that would look like no one cared if I didn’t. The quickest way to go is to buy already flowering annuals like pansies and petunias and ready-made hanging baskets for the shepherd hooks. Then I go around the yard with my trowel tucking flowers into pots and corners. It’s not very cost efficient, but the results are buoyantly gratifying just the same.
As the world greens up again, I feel my enthusiasm grow stronger too. I am hopeful, even idealistic at times. Sometimes I will even try starting flowers from seeds. Pretty much every spring I do this, however, I am disappointed. Most, if not all, of the seeds I plant never end up as cheerful blooms, even when I have started them in potting soil in the basement a month ahead. I am not sure if it’s my lack of a green thumb, old seeds or not knowing exactly what the seed needs to become its best plant self.
This past Monday I went to a meeting that reminded me of my bad odds with seeds. There has been much talk by Democrats and Republicans alike about getting dark money out of politics, how overturning Citizens United is the only way to save our democracy and give it back to the people. If corporations are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns how will the people ever have a say in their government? So we the people need to do something.
Slowly the seeds are being sown to change this. The meeting I attended was to start up a new chapter of American Promise here in the East Metro. American Promise’s sole purpose is to get the 28th Amendment passed. This proposed amendment allows Congress and States to set reasonable limits on raising and spending money by candidates and others to influence elections. Also, Congress and States will have the power to enforce this legislation and may distinguish between natural persons, corporations or other artificial entities by law. This meeting was one of four chapter starter meetings taking place here in the Metro. Vicki Barnes, who spoke at a St. Croix Valley Alliance membership meeting earlier this spring, organized the meeting with Kimberly Clinch an American Promise Coordinator explaining to our group of 15 or so what has to happen in order for the 28th Amendment to pass.
It seems like wherever I go these days if there is a call to action to make our communities more inclusive and democratic, I run into other Women Alliance members. I recognized four other members at this small gathering at Community Thread. For a few minutes, we were told to get with a partner and practice active listening as well as tell our story why we decided to attend the meeting. I had a chance to chat with Karen, a woman from the Alliance that I didn’t really know before. Her story was about the environment and how worried she is that corporations with too much influence in politics are doing irreparable damage to our state, and world. As much as there is to despair over these days, it makes me braver to act being a part of this sisterhood of acting, caring individuals.
My takeaway is that it has to start with planting seeds and convincing the American people that we can take back our democracy if we are diligent and improve our odds by planting determination and optimism around the country. The seeds are our stories, spreading them and then actively listening and gathering more stories. According to Kimberly, 96% of Americans believe Citizen United should be overturned, but 91% believe it is impossible to do. We need to spread the belief we can.
It may seem like a daunting proposition considering 2/3rds of Congress must propose the Amendment and then 2/3rds or 38 states must ratify it. Even so, 12 Amendments were successfully added to the Constitution in the last century. Like with all of those Amendments (women’s right to vote, Prohibition and its repeal, civil rights, etc.) it takes nearly all of us planting our seeds, spreading the word, and remaining determined even if nothing sprouts right away.
The American Promise group is shooting for 2026 to have the 28th Amendment a part of our Constitution. A lot will happen in our country in the next six years, but this looms bigger and more critical for generations beyond us if we truly want to preserve our democracy. Along with staying active, and informed I hope we can all participate and sow the seeds, believing we can have a democracy that is for the people. Here is the website: American Promise. There will be a training session in June. Sow your story.
By Peg Ludtke