Letter to Mardi
Many people are impressed with the campaign of Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford professor running for the congressional seat of the late Tom Lantos.
Sorry to be so (old and) cynical but I have seen it before and it was a fraud every time. Ron Dellums was going to be a new broom who would change everything. Spent 30 years becoming a member of the Old Guard of Democratic House politics. Barbara Boxer - redhot radical progressive - now a member of the Senate power elite. Even more so Pelosi, now Speaker of the House. Look at all the revolutionary reforms she has introduced now that she is in power, in actual control of Congress. Even Bill and Hillary Clinton were going to make a break with the politics of the past. Kennedy's administration was going to be a New Frontier in American politics and history. In his three years in power he did nothing but get us into and barely out of nearly-catastrophic confrontations with the Russians. Jimmy Carter was going to clean up Washington after the corruption and scandal of the Nixon years. Accomplished nothing. Ruined the economy. Currently on the Saudi payroll. Ditto Jerry Brown and Tom Hayden. Valuable and important contributions by the progressives include Ralph Nader not seeing "a dime's worth of difference" between the author of "Earth in the Balance", Al Gore, and two Texas oil men. Whereupon he sucked away enough Florida votes from Gore to give Bush the presidency.
As to Lessig himself, his one-second attack on Jackie Speiers is itself typical of what is wrong with our politics. I don't know anything about Jackie Speiers but I know a smear when I see one.
Lessig wants to "Build a Movement"? How long have we been hearing that tune? I have been hearing about "Building a Movement" since I was a freshman at Berkeley in 1964. They have been building it for 40 years and still there is no Movement.
Nevertheless I am going to do my duty to the nation. On election day I am going to pick up trash in one of California's national parks.
I have long struggled with the impulse to get a bumper sticker that reads, "Vote for the Scumbag of Your Choice!", but cooler heads have prevailed.