There is a political revolution afoot, and it’s not just Bernie Sanders who’s talking about it.
On Monday, thousands of Americans marched on the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. to protest the corruptive power of money in politics. The sit-in at the Capitol is the culmination of a 10-day march that began at Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and spanned 140 miles.
Coined a “sit-in to save democracy,” protesters sat on the steps of the Capitol building and chanted for hours, practicing civil disobedience; hundreds have been arrested at this point, which Capitol police have deemed unprecedented in U.S. history.
According to the Democracy Spring press release, “[The activists’] demand, deeply resonant in this fractious election year, is that Congress take immediate action on four key solutions to reduce the influence of money in politics, expand and protect voting rights, and ensure we all have an equal voice in our democracy.”
The four bills they are fighting to pass are 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.
The grassroots movement has sprung forth to “[culminate] with a Congress of Conscience Day of Action on Monday April 18, where hundreds more...have pledged to risk arrest.” Sit-ins are scheduled throughout the week in front of congressional offices as well.
Notable figures from the media have joined in this mass protest to reclaim our stolen democracy, including Harvard professor and activist, Larry Lessig, host of "The Young Turks," Cenk Uygur, actor Sam Waterston and actress Gabby Hoffman.
The Democracy Spring hashtag on Twitter has generated an outpouring of enthusiasm, as thousands have tweeted in support about finally eliminating corporate influence in our political system.
People are waking up and the establishment is panicing You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows #DemocracySpring— TheNewDeal (@TheNewDeal) April 11, 2016
Notably absent in coverage, however, has been the mainstream media. Despite the fact that this historic protest is occurring in their backyard, outlets such as CNN and MSNBC have yet to utter a word.
Chants from the protesters included a chorus of “Where is CNN?”As Uygur wrote on Twitter, “Largest arrest at the Capitol and [CNN doesn’t] even show up. Do they cover news?”
There was a "Where is CNN?" chant. Largest arrest at the Capitol and they don't even show up. Do they cover news? #DemocracySpring— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) April 11, 2016
Strangely enough, CNN correspondent Van Jones was unabashedly excited about the activism, tweeting, “THIS >> ABSOLUTELY COOLEST THING ON EARTH RIGHT NOW. #DemocracySpring”
However, it appears his network is reluctant to cover the protests, considering they benefit enormously from the current, corporate system in place and are a vital cog in the establishment machine.
This form of activism exemplifies a fundamental shift in the political atmosphere of the U.S. that we have been witnessing throughout this election cycle. When Sanders speaks about a “political revolution” this is precisely what he is referring to—grassroots movements in which individuals demand that democracy begin working for the 99 percent and reflect the voice of the people.
Corporate interests and donor money have dictated the whims of our politicians for far too long. Democracy Spring is the crucial first step in getting money out of politics: In Uygur's words, “The fight begins today. It doesn’t mean we win today. But in the end, we always win. Progressives have never lost. We won in civil rights, we won in women’s rights, we won in gay rights, and we’re going to win in getting our democracy back.”
Banner Image Credit: Reuters