Reclaim the American Dream

Another Blog Post By

Hedrick Smith

The Civic Uprising of 2017

Highlights – Ralph Nader Interviews Hedrick Smith :

“Certainly Trump didn’t intend to do this, nor did Steve Bannon, his Rasputin in the White House, but you know, accidentally and unintentionally, they have triggered and ignited a fire in the political prairies of this country.”

“I don’t think we’ve seen this kind of electricity, this kind of ferment, this sense of people that they need to come off of the sidelines and get engaged if they want to see a fairer, more inclusive democracy and if they want to stop the dismantling of programs that they think are important.”

January 21, 2017 – Womens March in Washington, DC. Source: (CC) Molly Adams

“People in this country, the middle class in this country, expected to exercise grass roots power in the 60s and the 70s and they expected Washington to respond …What’s happened over the last three decades is there has been this decline not just in civic engagement but a decline in confidence  that civic engagement and action at the grass roots could make a difference. What’s going on now is people are starting  to say, ‘We’re angry. We’re going to do something about it.’ And, ‘Hey maybe we can get something done.'” [It’s Up to Us]

Go Upstream, Fix The System

“People sense the political system is broken. They felt that way long before Trump was elected. Look at what Bernie Sanders was able to do in the Democratic primary campaign… about the power of Wall Street, about Mega Money flowing into campaigns, about gerrymandering, about the distortions of American democracy.” [Expose Dark Money]

July 2015 – Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Phoenix, Arizona. Source: (CC) Gage Skidmore

“We need to focus not just on policies. We need to go upstream and fix the system, the broken political system that is generating these bad outcomes for ordinary people.” [See Progress States are Making]

“Gerrymandering is creating gridlock in Washington. Gerrymandering is enabling mega-money to threaten people with being primaried on the left and right and pushing extremes on both sides, further to the extreme.” [When Did Gerrymandering Get Bad?]

Inspiration from Models of Success

“If more people knew there was an effective public funding program in Connecticut for state legislative elections, a good expose law on dark money  in California, or this amazing gerrymander reform in Florida, they’d start saying in Kansas or Oklahoma or the Dakotas or Pennsylvania, we could do something here, too…People get the information, they get the bug.” [Check Out Success Stories]

February, 2017 – Gerrymander reform advocates cram Virginia legislative hearing in Richmond, Virginia.

“Twenty-five states are engaged in some form of effort to change gerrymandering. There may be a lawsuit. They may have set up an independent commission. They may be like Florida that passed a constitutional amendment that says you can’t gerrymander with the intention to favor one party over the other or to keep incumbents in office.” [Popular Rebellion in Florida]

“Part of the problem in today’s world is that a lot of people think if I just click on a petition that is being circulated on line, I’m counted….No, in five decades of reporting, what I’ve seen politicians paying attention to is not a string of emails or a string of phone calls, it’s people showing up in their offices in Washington or at meetings back home and not coming just once, it is coming back time and again. Whatever it is you care about, it is coming back again and again and again.” [How This Website Can Help You]

Click play below for the whole interview