People Are Marching For Weeks For A Cause That Needs More Attention. It’s An Important First Step.

by
Owen Poindexter
There is a very unique movement starting January 11th in New Hampshire: it’s for the cause you care about most. Whether that’s climate change, business regulations, tax policy, education, you name it, the rebellion in New Hampshire is about that cause while not being about any of them.

There is a very unique movement starting January 11th in New Hampshire: it’s for the cause you care about most. Whether that’s climate change, business regulations, tax policy, education, you name it, the rebellion in New Hampshire is about that cause while not being about any of them.

How? The New Hampshire Rebellion is to fight back against the corruption endemic in our campaign finance system. Whatever policy goal you want the U.S. to achieve, the gravity of special interest money will pull our politics and policies in its own direction. That means that we can’t win this game until we change the rules (unless you happen to be a billionaire, in which case, let’s talk). Only then will politics be about the best ideas, not the most corporate approved ideas.

The Problem

Here’s a complicated situation summed up in one paragraph: elected officials from the President all the way down to your state reps want to get elected or reelected. To do that, they need your vote, but the fact of the matter is that the candidate with more money will be in a much better position to get your vote, because he or she will have been able to pay their way to your eyes and ears, via television, radio and internet ads. While many politicians talk a lot about how they get most of their donations from “ordinary citizens,” nearly all of them rely on extraordinarily wealthy citizens and corporations. Once in office, when a lobbyist from a corporate group that supported a politician handsomely approaches her about supporting a bill (which the lobbying firm itself may have written) or changing the language of a regulation, she knows that her cooperation will ensure the next round of funding for her next election. Like many folks, in many different jobs, they are just doing what it takes to stay employed.

 The NH Rebellion

Enter Lawrence Lessig. For seven years, Lessig (who first got known for developing the Creative Commons license), has fought to reshape our nation’s campaign finance system, so that politicians are beholden to the people that vote them in much more than the funders who help them advertise (his presentation on the issue, and his book, Repubic, Lost, are both highly recommended).

Now, Lessig is leading a rebellion in the form of a two week, 185 mile walk across New Hampshire from Dixville Notch to Nashua.

In an email to his supporters, Lessig explained the goals of the march:

“The point of the march is to focus the citizens of New Hampshire on the system of corruption, so that they in turn will focus the candidates in 2016 on this system of corruption too. We will be asking people from across the state to ask the candidates they will inevitably meet over the next two years: “How will you end this system of corruption?” And the hope is that if New Hampshire makes this an issue, it might well become an issue for the nation as well.”

How To Help

As stated above, your issue will not meaningfully progress until politicians are more beholden to you and your neighbors than mega corporations and their billionaire owners. Here’s what you can do to support the New Hampshire revolution:

Sign the petition asking New Hampshire citizens to ask presidential candidates, “How will you end this system of corruption?”

Find out more about the NH Rebellion Walk, events along the way and even join in (hey, it’s a great way to make good on your exercise-related New Year’s resolution) and donate to their cause.

Tweet your support using Thunderclap (which launches all supporting tweets at once).

And, perhaps most of all, educate yourself on this issue, and talk to your friends about it. Campaign finance is the biggest problem that not enough people are talking about. Well, that and your big issue, but the big day for your issue won’t come until after the big day for campaign finance reform. Once we are all on the same page with that, the rebellion will be unstoppable.

Oh, and in case you are thinking, "Why now? It's 2014. People will have forgotten by 2016," this is walk one of three. Lessig and his supporters will be back to walk in January 2015 and January 2016.

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