The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Democracy under siege in D.C.

Protesting is not a topic that Americans are unfamiliar with, considering we have multiple historical protests that have sparked change throughout our nation. We throw around the phrase “freedom of speech” almost as much as we drop the new slang terms of today.

The event on April 11 in D.C. was no different. After nine days of marching an estimated 153 miles from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, thousands of individuals stomped the streets of D.C. in order to peacefully protest against money in politics. This is the first of many scheduled protests in a series of “Democracy Spring” events taking place in D.C. and other parts of the nation. The movement has garnered over 53,000 tweets on Twitter and continues to be raised in conversation. By opposing the funding in political campaigns, these individuals are making sure that the nation is aware of the lengths that they will go  to make sure that their voices are heard.

These protests are organized to take back the democracy that the money in politics has taken control of. The influence of billionaires and those with big money interests have ultimately taken control of the political race.

The end result of this corruption is making the presidential race less of a competition of citizen votes, and more of a competition of the amount of money the few A-list campaign drivers can accumulate. Famous celebrity, Mark Ruffalo, has already chosen to endorse this movement along with many other commonly heard names.

This protest was also organized to propose new changes to the political system by proposing four bills to Congress that will hopefully make a difference. The Government by the People Act and Fair Elections Now Act, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, the Voter Empowerment Act of 2015 and the Democracy for All Amendment focus on fixing the corruption in the election system and giving the power back to the people. These acts will work toward allowing the United States to still fall under the definition of a democracy.

In our current political race for the next president, we are seeing more uproar and controversy of opinions in the news and even in casual conversations, which may be a key influence as to why these protests are occurring.

“Things go better without Koch,” was a slogan written on one of the many posters those who chanted outside Capitol Hill held. Will politics go better without outside funding or will the lack of money flow cause it to fall apart? The additional funding makes the race seem like an unfair competition.

The person with the most funding seems like the one to win the most votes. Is corruption the recipe for victory?

We are all well aware of the amount of corruption that takes place within politics, yet no one has done anything to change it. With the rising popularity of left-wing candidate Bernie Sanders, we are seeing more discussion about companies that are corrupt to the point that he refuses funding from them.

We have seen protesting work in ways to create change and bring attention to a serious problem, or at least something a large population is passionate about.

Even though plastic handcuffs and a record breaking tally of over 400 arrests concluded the protest, the growing marches over this topic doesn’t elude that this argument will seize any time soon. This topic is something that plays a large role in how elections take place and raises the question of how much our votes really count.

The American people are asking for change and they are now doing something about it.

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