Doug Hughes, a postal worker from Florida, flew his little gyrocopter to Washington, D.C., and landed it on the lawn of the Capitol building to protest campaign finance laws. He drove the little copter to somewhere just outside of D.C., then flew it to the Capitol while carrying 535 two-page letters – one for each member of Congress. CBS News reports that the letters said, in part:
I’m demanding reform and declaring a voter’s rebellion in a manner consistent with Jefferson’s description of rights in the Declaration of Independence. As a member of Congress, you have three options. 1. You may pretend corruption does not exist. 2. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform. 3. You may actively participate in real reform.
CBS is also reporting that the U.S. Secret Service questioned Hughes last year about his plans to do this, though he tried to keep it a secret from everyone, including his family. He went ahead with his plans anyway, despite knowing they were illegal, because he doesn’t believe authorities would “shoot down a 61-year old mailman in a flying bicycle.”
The Verge says that Hughes is not an anarchist. He’s also not violent, and he wasn’t out to hurt anybody or threaten national security in any way. He knows that we need government, and he’s not protesting the very existence of the government. He’s just protesting the fact that our government goes to the highest bidder these days, thanks to the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions.
These days, it seems like we do have to pull some interesting stunts just to get Congress’ attention on anything. They’re too stuck on making their rich benefactors happy, so those checks keep coming in, to worry about real problems. Money, in the form of campaign donations, cannot be a form of protected speech because it shuts down the speech of everyday Americans who can’t contribute tens of thousands of dollars to political parties, super-PACs, and candidates. Unfortunately, it’s still not likely that Congress will listen to Hughes, although the rest of us and the media have definitely taken notice.
Hughes was arrested at the scene of his landing, and the Capitol Police bomb squad promptly started investigating the area. President Obama was briefed on the event, but the official who briefed him stressed that it was just noteworthy, and not a national security matter.
Watch a video of the whole event below:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giv8wy-9lEI?rel=0&w=560&h=315]
Featured image via screen capture