Saturday, December 21, 2013

NH Rebellion- Prof. Lessig's appeal

From: Lawrence Lessig <>
Date: Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 3:17 PM
Subject: a request for help
To: Robert Shattuck

I'm writing to ask for some help with a project related to my work on corruption. You're getting this because at multiple times, your email address passed the transom of my inbox. If you might be willing to help, please read on. If not, read no more, and I apologize for the intrusion.


In January, I will join others in a march across New Hampshire (the long way). The march will last two weeks. We will cover 185 miles. And along the way, we will be recruiting citizens from New Hampshire to join the #NHRebellion.

The #NHRebellion was inspired by the late Doris Haddock, aka, Granny D, a citizen of New Hampshire, and who, at the age of 88, walked across the country with a simple sign on her chest: "campaign finance reform."

Long before I came to the issue, Granny D was recruiting anyone she could to the critically important cause of changing the way campaigns are financed. She believed, as I do, that the current system is a kind of "corruption." And she believed, as I have come to believe, that unless we find a way to change it, our government will be incapable of addressing sensibly any of the critical issues that it must resolve. Granny D devoted the last part of her life to this fight. The #NHRebellion will continue her work.

The point of the January march is to focus the citizens of New Hampshire on this critical issue of corruption, so that they in turn will focus the candidates in 2016 on 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 corruption?" And the hope is that if New Hampshire makes this an issue, it might well become an issue for the nation as well.

The #NHRebellion plans to walk the state three times between now and the primary in 2016. I've agreed to participate in at least the first. So on January 11 -- the day my friend Aaron Swartz died -- we will begin at the place the first ballots of the 2016 election will be cast. And on January 24 -- the day Granny D was born -- we will end with a party in Nashua. In between, we will have as many conversations with as many people as we can about the work Granny D started, and how we can now complete it.

I'm writing to ask for your help with this project.

Anything from simply sharing this email with people who you think might be interested, to helping to sponsor the walk, to actually walking with us, for part or the whole way — I'd be grateful for everything, as this will be a very difficult slog (not the walk, but to win this issue).

But why? Why would I walk for 2 weeks in the freezing winter of New Hampshire?

I've spent the last 6 years working on this question of corruption. Aaron Swartz convinced me to take it up. Since I did, I've spoken about it more than 250 speeches to thousands of people across the world. (Here's a mercifully short example: TED talk).

But as I've done this, I've been struck by the claim of almost every "expert" that "ordinary Americans don't care about this issue." Not the sort of people who turn up to a lecture by a law professor. But the rest of America, with a million other concerns, working hard to ignore all things political.

I want to understand how to make this issue compelling to these people too, and face to face. I want to learn how to talk about it so that it connects and is meaningful. Because I am absolutely convinced that we must find a way to rally America to this cause. And I am reluctantly convinced that more of us need to learn how better to talk to America about this cause.

So that's what I will be doing. We will have a number of events across the state. But the most important part for me will be the informal conversations and what it will teach me. I want to learn something from this about how to make this issue important. And I'd be grateful to you for your help in making it possible.

You can sponsor me on this walk by clicking here.

And you can learn more about the march — including how to join, even for just part of the walk — at #NHRebellion.

Thanks for reading this far, and for any help that you can provide.

Happy holidays.

Lawrence Lessig

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