On Independence Day, Ralph Nader talked to Doug Hughes on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. Hughes is the man who landed a gyrocopter on the Capitol Hill lawn in an act of civil disobedience so that he could personally deliver letters of petition against anti-corruption to each member of Congress.
The U.S. Postal Service fired Hughes, and he faces multiple federal felony charges. Pick up the Hughes interview at 21:58 minutes.
The Nader/Hughes Interview
Ralph Nader leads into the interview with, “It’s almost a perfect story of how democracy should work.” Then he asks Doug Hughes the following questions:
- What was in those 535 letters and how were they delivered after the police quickly descended on you when you landed on the Capitol lawn?
- Where can people read your two-page letter?
- What kind of media interest [has there been] since you landed on the Capitol lawn?
- What are the points of reform that you think the people should demand… to get dirty money out of politics? (Here, Nader sneaks in a suggestion to ban political donations made by corporate government contractors.)
- Can you explain [what the government] is charging you… with, and what is your response? (Charges include impersonating a mailman!)
- [When your trial comes up this Fall, you have an idea for a flag-pole sitting movement…?] (The idea involves exposing former elected officials who now work as lobbyists.)
Doug Hughes’ Anti-Corruption Pole Sitting Movement Idea
Since I’m all out of original ideas, I propose to revive an old stunt – from the 1920s. Pole sitting. Some called it flagpole sitting. For the week of my trial, I would like to put 100 (or so) spokespersons on 100 poles all around the country – on 100 platforms. 95 years ago the press loved it – just for the novelty. We’re going to do it for a purpose.
Every day after court, I’ll conference call with my elevated friends. They can talk to the press – the local press. This gives them the chance to control the LOCAL message. The national media will have to go to the local press for the inside story for a change. Turning the Congress to an honest body working for the people has to start at the local level. We’re going to use the trial to build that local power.