Lawrence Lessig: How to Get Our Democracy Back

Change CongressLawrence Lessig writes in the Nation:

Editors’ Note: We encourage readers moved by this essay to sign the Change Congress petition, a drive to enact solutions proposed in this article. Click here to sign. A video commentary by Professor Lessig can be viewed here.

We should remember what it felt like one year ago, as the ability to recall it emotionally will pass and it is an emotional memory as much as anything else. It was a moment rare in a democracy’s history. The feeling was palpable — to supporters and opponents alike — that something important had happened. America had elected, the young candidate promised, a transformational president. And wrapped in a campaign that had produced the biggest influx of new voters and small-dollar contributions in a generation, the claim seemed credible, almost intoxicating, and just in time.

Yet a year into the presidency of Barack Obama, it is already clear that this administration is an opportunity missed. Not because it is too conservative. Not because it is too liberal. But because it is too conventional. Obama has given up the rhetoric of his early campaign — a campaign that promised to “challenge the broken system in Washington” and to “fundamentally change the way Washington works.” Indeed, “fundamental change” is no longer even a hint.

Read More of Lawrence Lessig’s essay in the Nation

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  • nathankarnes

    It seems to me that the Republicrats are the number one problem here. If independent conservatives and liberals could focus on the reform that we agree on (i.e. Federal Reserve, campaign finance, ending corporate welfare, ending prison, military, and medical industrial complex, more open government) and forget about other issues for a bit we could launch a new right-left reform coalition party to pass just a few laws and election reforms (i.e. turn the Senate into a body elected through proportional representation, instant runoff voting for House of Reps and President.) After a few years of working together and reforming our democracy to make it more friendly to a plurality of parties this right-left party could split back into Libertarian, Socialist, Constitutional Law, Green, etc. parties. This website seems to be the perfect place to discuss such an idea since there are people from all over the “right – left” political spectrum (such a false dichotomy anyway.)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PDDVWRQVUPMKRGHURIEQVNYWHQ Sean

    only way is to destroy the 2 party system.
    as it is politicians only need to pay lip service to 1 or 2 issues to stay in power