October 30, 2013 · Lessig
Many of us fighting for corruption reform (aka, “campaign finance reform,” at least by the sort of people who call “alcoholism” a “liquid intake problem”) believe this:
Only New Hampshire can save us.
Why New Hampshire?
First, New Hampshire holds the first free presidential primary (Iowa is too addicted to ag subsidies to be called “free”), and the N.H. primary can set the tone for the 2016 election.
Second, New Hampshire is filled with fiercely independent voters, who are among the most politically astute in the nation (see “First”).
Third, New Hampshire is one of only states that has an express right of the people to revolution: Article 10 reads:
[Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
These three points together have led people in New Hampshire to launch the New Hampshire Rebellion (#NHR), which aims to recruit voters — Independents, Republicans, and Democrats — in New Hampshire to a single cause: To get every presidential candidate at every event in New Hampshire to answer one simple question: “How are you going to end the corruption in Washington.”
There are many ideas for how the #NHR will push its agenda. You can follow the tumble for #NHR here.
That’s the first bit of background. Here’s the second:
A local hero in New Hampshire is Doris Haddock (aka Granny D). In 1998, at the age of 88 (till she was 90), Granny D walked across the country — literally, from coast to coast (or at least to DC) — wearing a sign: “campaign finance reform.” Her incredible story is told in her book, Granny D: Walking Across America in My Ninetieth Year, and as everyone in the corruption cause across America recognizes, this made her our hero.
In 2004, she ran a small-dollar campaign for Senate against Judd. She didn’t win — despite being a guest blogger on my blog! — but she continued her work for “campaign finance reform” until she died at the age of 100, a couple months after Citizens United was decided. At the celebration of her 100th birthday, on January 28, 2010, a week after Citizens United was decided, she delivered an incredible speech about that decision, and the future of reform.
None of us have Granny D’s strength to walk across America. But some of us are now thinking about a smaller version of that march, aimed at recruiting people to the #NHR. Not across the US, but across NH; not west to east, but north to south; and not in the summer, but in the winter. In particular, this winter. Specifically, this January:
It is our aim to march from the northern tip of New Hampshire to Nashua, three times between now and the New Hampshire primary, recruiting voters in New Hampshire to the #NHR.
In the first year, though the details are still being worked out, we plan to begin on the day Aaron Swartz died — January 11 — and end in Nashua on the day Granny D delivered her Citizens United speech — January 28. When we begin, we will read a passage from Aaron’s last speech. When we end we will read Granny D’s last speech. And in between, we will speak in as many places as we can, recruiting as many citizens of New Hampshire to the #NHR.
This first year will a bit of a pilot. We don’t expect many to join us — though we of course invite everyone to participate, especially presidential candidates, for at least part of the march. There’s at least one person so far who has committed to make it from top to bottom. (Me). But our hope is that by the third year of this march, hundreds will be joining us to make this issue the first issue in the New Hampshire primary.
So here’s where we need your help: This is a joint project with Rootstrikers and #NHR (Rootstrikers.org providing institutional support while we get this off the ground). But neither organization has the resources or infrastructure to do this alone. To make it feasible, we will need a ton of support between now and January 11 — both to organize the event, and support it if it happens.
So I have built this webform to help collect possible volunteer support. If you might be able to help, or want to be kept in the loop, click here.
And whether or not you can help, please share this post as broadly as you can.
Thanks in advance (of a very cold January). And thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to keep Granny D’s memory alive. I’m really hopeful that at the very least, we’re going to make that work a lot easier.
(Original post on Tumblr)