Change Congress

Note: This post is a part of Ned Reskinoff’s Blogrolling for Change campaign. If you own a website or blog, write something explaining your support for Change Congress and contact Ned. He’ll add you to a deli.cio.us account compiling posts supporting Change Congress.
Earlier this year, it looked like Larry Lessig was going to run for Congress. There was a special election in Silicon Valley, a potent draft movement, and he even started an exploratory committee. But Larry declined. Being the kind of humble activist he is, he decided that the best way to make good on his promise to change his focus from making copyright law more sane to ending political corruption was not to run for Congress himself, but to create a larger movement mobilizing many other activists to press for a cleaner politics. What does he mean by “clean politics”? Four things:

  • Candidates should not accept contributions from registered lobbyists or PACs.
  • Candidates should support the abolition of “earmarks.”
  • Candidates should support reform to increase transparency in Congress.
  • Candidates should support public financing of public elections.
    Why these four? I’ll let Larry explain. This Powerpoint is long, but it’s worth every second:
    http://blip.tv/scripts/flash/showplayer.swf?tabType3=guide&tabUrl3=http%3A%2F%2Fchange%2Dcongress%2Eblip%2Etv%2Frss%2Fflash%2F%3Fsort%3D%7Edate&tabTitle3=Episodes&tabType2=guide&tabUrl2=http%3A%2F%2Fchange%2Dcongress%2Eblip%2Etv%2Frss%2Fflash&tabTitle2=Episodes&tabType1=details&tabUrl1=undefined&tabTitle1=About&enablejs=true&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fchange%2Dcongress%2Eblip%2Etv%2Frss%2Fflash&file=http%3A%2F%2Fblip%2Etv%2Frss%2Fflash%2F770720&brandlink=http%3A%2F%2Fchange%2Dcongress%2Eorg&brandname=change%2Dcongress%2Eorg&showplayerpath=http%3A%2F%2Fblip%2Etv%2Fscripts%2Fflash%2Fshowplayer%2Eswf
    I find Lessig’s concluding message incredibly compelling. No, ending corruption won’t get us universal health care. No, ending corruption won’t get a cap-and-trade system implemented. And no, ending corruption won’t get us out of Iraq. But ending corruption makes building the coalitions to accomplish those goals a whole lot easier. It means that stopping global warming doesn’t have to entail trench warfare against Big Oil and Big Coal. It means that passing a universal health care system doesn’t have to entail month-long fights against insurance and pharmaceutical companies. It means that the military-industrial complex has a lot less power to send us to war.
    But the power of Change Congress goes beyond that. It won’t ensure that progressive policy goals will be enacted. Bad policies will still get to the president’s desk, and they’ll still do damage. But they’ll be passed for the right reason. Consumer-driven, HSA-based health care reform could still be passed, but it’d be passed because the majority of the peoples’ representatives in Congress think it’s the best policy, not because an insurance executive who likes it funneled $500,000 to the relevant committee chair. I’d be much happier with a system in which policies, good and bad, are enacted on the basis of their merits, not the financial powers backing them. Change Congress brings us closer to that system.
    In the middle of the right panel of this site, you’ll see a little “Change Congress” tag with four stars on the bottom of it. Those four stars mean that I support all four planks of the Change Congress movement. You should too. Visit the site, join the mailing list, and sign the pledge. It won’t solve everything, but it’ll make the way our government solves things more honest.

    Blogrolling for Change

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