We made it! On January 21st, the fifth anniversary of Citizens United, we stood together hundreds strong in front of the New Hampshire State House as a unified NH Rebellion against big money in politics. Our legs were weary but our spirits were high after walking 300 miles – 12,081 miles collectively – from all four corners of the state for the sake of our republic. The nation took notice.
Who could express our motivation better than 15 year-old Ella McGrail, who spoke to the assembled crowd after walking the long road from Portsmouth to Concord with her classmates?
"Our government now favors money over majority, a twisted reality that in no way resembles Democracy. It is a system that legalizes bribery and gives those with the most money the highest level of power over public policy decisions, a position that by right belongs to the citizens at large… I will not stand by and watch the struggle for my rights be won or lost without me simply because I’m not yet eighteen. This is our future, this is our fight."
Ella was joined on the platform by Republicans and Democrats, businessmen and clergy, activists and academics united by a deep concern over the state of our democratic republic. Their words, including those of NH Rebellion founder Lawrence Lessig, won't soon be forgotten.
The work has only just begun. In the year ahead, we will continue to Walk the Talk – Granny D style – in communities across New Hampshire, and Ask the Question of every presidential candidate: "What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?" We look forward to hearing your ideas and sharing our next steps with you soon.
In the meantime, we invite you to rest your legs, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, and celebrate how far we've come by browsing photos from the road, reading press coveragefrom around the country, and watching our opening video/song, and Lawrence Lessig's powerful talk at the Capitol Center for the Arts.
When young Ella concluded her Rally for Democracy remarks last week, she summed up why so many of us are willing to walk so far: "Nothing will change until this changes. All our nation’s problems, from poverty to pollution, will remain unaltered until we demand the reform that would allow us to address them. I want the nation my parents taught me about, when they explained that my vote would be worth as much as the President's, no matter how socially or politically important or unimportant a citizen I was."