Day 6 (of the #NHRebellion Walk)
We crossed the 1/2 way point today, ending at 95.2 miles, with 90 to go. We’re through the most difficult walks, sort of. 20 more miles today. 17 the day after. But then it slows down.
We’ve been staying in the homes of volunteers the last few days. More have been joining along the way. The cars keep honking.
There’s one thing I think I know after a week out here that I didn’t when I started this walk.
The thing I always wondered was why what ever pundit said about this issue seemed true: that people don’t care about it. “Care about it,” in the sense that they actually do something about it. That they don’t seems true.
This was a puzzle, for me, because as I’ve interacted with people, I’ve always been struck by the opposite: a yearning, almost passionate desire, that this problem be fixed. So is that just because of the peculiarities of the sorts I connect with? Or maybe just further proof of my winning personality?
But I realized as I thought through this along this walk that there’s two obvious reasons why people who care about something don’t do something about it. They either don’t care enough (the assumption of the pols) or they don’t think anything can be done. It seems clear to me now that it’s the second, not the first, that explains this issue.
Again, as we discovered in our latest polling, 96% believe it at least “important” that the influence of money in politics be reduced. 68% “very important.” 28% at least important. No other issue has this sort of support.
But we also found 91% believe the problem won’t be fixed. We want it fixed; we don’t believe it can be fixed — just as most of us would want to time travel, but most of us don’t do much to advance the cause of time traveling. Or just like most in Egypt or Iraq wanted a different government. But few did anything about it.
This means the real work here is simple: give people a sense that change is possible. Show them how, make it seem manageable. Because if we could crack the 91%, we could free the energy needed to make this change happen.