Brilliant, as always, Lawrence Lessing talks about how our trust in government has collapsed, how money is at the root of it, and how we can make an easy change to the system to restore integrity, and break the dependency of politicians on corporate and lobbyist election funding.
He riffs on why Wikipedia leaves 100,000,000 USD on the table, as the 9th biggest website in the world, because it doesn´t accept advertising. Because the founder wants people to see Wikipedia in all its wonder and with all its flaws, of which there are many, but he doesn’t want anybody to say that it’s not trustworthy, because it´s all advertising fluff.
He talks about Hillary Clinton’s U-turn on opposing a bill stopping people from escaping credit card debt through declaring bankruptcy, after she got 140,000 from financial interest groups.
He talks about how the science around drugs is undermined by doctors getting up to 250,000 from a company whose drugs they are reviewing.
Doubts feed a dealy meme: “Classic tobacco science.”
He asks why governments get easy questions wrong? Why do they back down to the sugar lobby and say, ok, a balanced diet can consist of 25% added sugar instead of the 10% ceiling the World Health Organisation inisists on.
Why did the government delay ten years in acting on climate change, when the scientific community was 100% clear in the consensus that it was real and human-driven?
Lessing does not believe we have the same corruption of government that we had in the 18th century. Instead, we are facing “Good Souls Corruption.” They take legal acts, they take ethical acts. And yet they do the wrong thing.
And his assessment: that people in Congress need to have a laser focus on money in order to fuel their election campaigns. They need to spend 30–70% of their time, depending on how close to election, raising money to get re-elected. And this turns them into addicts.
He doesn’t question the need for lobbyists. They explain complex issues. But in the current system, this is tied to money. The lobbyists are the pushers of the crack.
He calls for citizen funding of elections, to break the destructive debilitating dependency on money.
He calls a strike. No more money for congressional candidates until they agree to endorse citizen funding of all elections. No corporate money. No lobbyist money. And from his activist website http://change-congress.org he has racked up 100,000,000 in pledges.
He runs a video of Al Gore saying that in order to solve the Climate Crisis, we need to solve the Democracy Crisis.
And he makes a fantastic, direct call to action to every person in the room to fix the failure of trust in their own government. To remember not simply to take individual actions to do the right thing, but challenge the government itself to do the right thing.
Standing ovation. Brilliant.
I immediately signed up to the strike. You should too.