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So this is difficult, it turns out. I guess that should have been obvious, but still, difficult.
Tuesday we did a short walk from Gorham to Pinkham Notch — basically straight up the mountain. As we arrived at an Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the rain began, and with it began an insane 36 hours.
My second kid’s birthday was Wednesday, so a volunteer took me to Hertz (thanks Dotti), and I drove three hours to Boston to surprise him. We played and celebrated his birthday, I did some laundry, went to bed (complete peace), got up at 4, and at 4:30 we (Kai from 99Rise was joining the march and had come up from NY the night before and crashed at our house), drove back to Glen. A volunteer picked us up at Herz (thanks again, Dotti) took us back to Pinkham Notch. We walked 17 miles in warm, brilliantly sunny weather, to North Conway. I grabbed a coffee and then spoke for an hour (with questions) to a large group from the community — no chance to shower, or even change the hiking boots. Dinner, aching legs, crashed.
That wasn’t the difficult part. After I put my son to bed, he woke, crying. He came to me, put his arms around my neck, and begged me to stay. “Why do you need to go,” he asked. “I’m trying to help make things better for all of us, puppy.” “How is walking across New Hampshire ever going to make anything better.”
This is difficult.
Warm, sunny, and stunningly beautiful: the 16 miles from Milan to Gorham (through Berlin) was the most encouraging time I’ve ever known in this fight for reform. The word about this march has spread. Cars (and trucks) were constantly waving and honking. And the very best moment for me was coming up over a hill and finding this sign set beside the road:
(click on this image and you can see our Flickr group, all CC-BY licensed)
There hasn’t been a single person along these 47 miles so far who has had to be convinced of the problem. At least some see this as the start of a solution.
Our second day was perfect. A tough walk, but beautiful weather, in the most incredibly beautiful woods and fields of New Hampshire.
At this stage of the walk, we’re largely isolated. But the walk is clearly known, as people are constantly stopping along the road, or honking with their thumbs up as they pass. We did some door to door at the end of the day, waiting for a pickup. The guy opened his door (in really fancy pj bottoms), with: “hey, welcome, how’s the march?”
I’ve been having fun with one particular shtick. Our most recent poll found 96% of Americans answered “important” or “very important” to the question: “How important is it to you that the influence of money in politics be reduced?” (68% “very important,” 28% “somewhat important”). So I’ve taken on the challenge of finding the 4%. We met a couple state rangers who had just policed an ice fishing pond. “Are you,” I asked him, “one of that 4%?” “Hell no,” he told me. “And you won’t find any of those people in New Hampshire.”
We’ll see. So far, he’s right. Not yet met someone who identifies as anything other than a conservative. Nor anyone who doesn’t believe the influence of money should be reduced.
Today we have about 16 miles to cover on the way to Gorham.
It was a tough day one. It will be a long and even tougher day two.
We began in Dixville Notch, and walked 10 miles through the rain. (A “notch” is narrow pass between mountains; Dixville Notch is the narrow pass between before and after the primaries begin — assuming the renovations get completed in time. )
I guess rain was an appropriate mood for the day. That mood was balanced — it was saved — by the endless enthusiasm of the dozens who had shown up to march. Two women had driven from MIT to walk in memory of Aaron. One from New Haven (beginning at 3 am to get there in time). Their stories are incredible and I’ll be more careful today to get permissions to tell more about who these walkers are.
The best story from yesterday was at a logging site. The owner was an “independent” from the Tea Party. We explained what we were doing, and he shook with agreement. His issue was the debt. “We’ll never,” he told us on film, “solve the debt until we get the money out of politics.”
Today will be twice as long. It looks like no rain, but no doubt, there’ll be endless ice. We may get snow in the late morning. But the thing I’m worried about most is just the difficulty of the distance. Twenty one miles on ice won’t be easy. (Though neither will ending the system of corruption in DC…)
In December, I took my daughter (4) to Cinderella on Broadway. As I walked through the incredible beauty of northern New Hampshire, covered in snow, fog hiding just parts of the mountain, the refrain from the prologue kept returning:
"It makes you wish that the world could be as lovely as it looks."
Pls RT: #NHR Walk across #NH to fight systemic corruption begins 1/11 #NHpolitics #NHRebellion #rootstrikers #aaronsw http://thndr.it/JI4F5Q
We walk with love for our country.
To honor our grannies and sons.*
We walk for an end to corruption.
Till the will of the people is done.
[obvious reference: Granny D and Aaron Swartz]
Thank you, Colin and friends. And thanks to all who share it.
With his help, I did a slight remix, emphasizing the critical McCain-like point: We’re talking about the “system of corruption” in DC. As McCain had said, “I am attacking a system that has to be fixed.”
I like Brian’s better.
A week and a day until we begin the walk. Just off the penultimate organizing call. Here’s what we really need now:
(1) An RV Driver: We’re going to have a follow-on RV (to provide protection and services), and would love to find someone with experience willing to drive. We found a driver!
(2) Walk webmaster: We’ll be producing a ton of content that we want to feed to the site. Looking for someone with experience with NationBuilder at least, but that plus ideally.
(3) Beds: Still have need for some beds. You can see where here.
For (1) and (3), please followup with japhet at nhrebellion.org. For (2), email me at lessig at nhrebellion.org.
Over the past couple days, walkers for the NHRebellion have been introducing themselves to each other on list. This one from Greg, speaking of Aaron hit hard:
From the first email announcement I have been happy to have been given the opportunity to do more in supporting the work Aaron has done.
I am a vet. I think of him as a brother vet.
I was in uniform, he did not wear one.
My friends and neighbors “selected me” to serve, I think others have also served, just not formally via a letter from their draft board.
I had the full weight and support of the government at my back, mostly… maybe… at least they said they would be…,
Aaron, I believe had it on his back. Far too much for any individual.
His memorial service in Manhattan changed me deeply by remembering my own life being on the line for my own young convictions.
I have not gone a single day since without spreading his name and message to anyone I have been able to speak to. By far an encouraging experience for me, but so terribly inadequate for who he is, and what he stands for, as do I.
This little hike in New Hampshire helps.
Peace, Greg. I’m looking forward to walking with you.
You can follow the walk at nhrebellion.org.
I’m looking for an example of a young Carlin believing things might change. #reallyreally