Hundreds March Against Corruption In NH
NEW CASTLE — A wind-weary, but determined crowd, arrived at Fort Constitution Saturday afternoon after a 16-mile walk along the New Hampshire coast in support of New Hampshire Rebellion’s nonpartisan movement against monetary corruption in the nation’s capital.
The N.H. Rebellion, founded by Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, is a movement that considers unrestrained money and the influence it buys in Washington, D.C., to be the root of the nation’s current political and governmental dysfunction.
The goal of the walk was to bring hope for change, said N.H. Rebellion Executive Director Jeff McLean.
Many walkers met at the ending point at Fort Constitution to be bused to the start of the walk at Hampton Beach. A busload of 20 walkers also arrived from the Boston area.
Decked out in red, white and blue stars and stripes, Debbie and Garritt Toohey of Rye were among the walkers gathered at Hampton Beach.
“We need to bring awareness about what the federal government is and isn’t doing,” Debbie Toohey said. “People need to pay attention and listen.”
Melora Rush of Somerville, Mass., came on the bus from Boston with her partner David Booth and 11-year-old twins Silas and Justin Booth.
“I believe it can work,” Rush said of the walks.
Rush said the family participated in N.H. Rebellion’s inaugural walk in January from Dixville Notch to Nashua.
“David did two days and the twins and I did one,” she said.
Many of the participants on Saturday also walked in January as evidenced by a show of hands during remarks by Lessig at Fort Constitution.
Michael Donovan of New Castle was the first to arrive at the finish point, completing the route in 4 hours and 1 minute.
“Money in politics is the root of every serious problem I can think of,” Donovan said as he waited for his fellow walkers to arrive.
While the event was nonpartisan, Chris Muns, a Hampton Democrat running for a state Senate seat in District 24, said he was supporting the walk to “make sure the people of New Hampshire decide the outcome of elections.”
“I don’t want big money coming into the election from special interest groups,” he said. He completed the whole 16-mile course.
While there were more than 400 registered walkers, about 100 more joined in along the route at designated points in Rye in New Castle.
One couple, Joan and Joe Simone, came from West Point, N.Y., and joined for the last eight miles.
“We stayed overnight in Portsmouth,” Joan Simone said. “We heard one of the TED talks and wanted to participate.” She and her husband are retired Air Force veterans who served during Desert Storm.
Walkers were serenaded by the Leftist Marching Band as they filed into Fort Constitution, forming a sea of patriotic colors on the lawn inside the stone walls.
After a thank you and brief introduction from McLean, Lessig took to a wall of the fort to deliver his address. He gave a brief history of being inspired by Doris Haddock, known as Granny D., who crossed the United States by foot at age 88 when she was fed up with government dysfunction.
“This second march has been extremely successful thanks to the work of Jeff McLean,” Lessig told the crowd.
He said the N.H. Rebellion would walk again in January 2015 and January 2016.
“By the time we march in 2016, there will not be a single politician in the state, including those people running for president, who has not been forced to answer this fundamental question, ‘What will you do to end this system of corruption in Washington?’” Lessig said.
“And then everyone in the state will listen to those answers and decide who to vote for on the basis of who gets that answer right,” he added. “And when that happens here, it will change the direction of the 2016 presidential campaign and we will have a chance to win back a democracy that has been taken from us from that tiny fraction of the 1 percent who fund our elections.”
He also said, “another impossible thing happed” on July 4.
“Many people asked me how we were going to win something beyond New Hampshire so we announced the idea of creating a super PAC,” Lessig said of the political action committee. “This (Mayday) PAC would be big enough to win over a Congress that would put in fundamental reform by 2016.”
With influential backers, he crowd funded $1 million in May in just 13 days. He then decided on June 4 to make it $5 million by July 4.
“Two days ago when we were $1.5 million away, George Takei of Star Trek fame, tweeted us and there was explosion of recognition,” Lessig said. “By 9:15 p.m., we reached $5 million.”
He closed by saying, “These impossible ideas will get us a democracy that will work again.”
To learn more about the N.H. Rebellion, visit www.nhrebellion.org.