On today's BradCast, the power of protest and organization.
We start at the University of Missouri after African-American players on the football team there used their power over the weekend to collectively and courageously support a student hunger strike in a protest to force university system President Tim Wolfe to resign amidst a series of racially charged incidents on the Columbia, MO campus. The leverage used by the players is another great reminder of how smart and courageous protest can succeed in making substantive change --- even against some of the world's most powerful entities. Go Tigers!
Speaking of which, my guest today is, once again, Douglas Hughes. You may recall him as the 61-year old Florida postal worker who landed his homemade gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in a dramatic protest last spring. He was our guest back in April, just days after the incident where he had hoped to bring attention to the desperate need for campaign finance reform.
He was, at the time, arrested and charged with six felonies that might have netted him more than 9 years in jail for his attempt to deliver an important letter to all 535 members of Congress. Now, he has struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors and joins us to discuss the deal, why he took it, the latest developments in his case, and whether he feels his protest was ultimately worth the extraordinarily high cost.
Hughes tells us today that he has "no regrets" for having "stomped on the dragon's tail", despite losing his job at the Post Office, facing enormous fines, jail time, and even the loss of his ability to vote as a "felon".
"I stomped on the dragon's tail and I knew it was going to turn around and come after me," Hughes tells me. "And it has, and I have no regrets."
He credits the flight with helping to broaden the discussion about the need for reform, and says, despite the extraordinary cost, he'd do it again "in a heartbeat" as he continues his call for a "voters rebellion" to help "get the money out of politics so everybody that's in Congress knows they've got to answer to us."
Though Hughes was reluctant to mention it, he has a GoFundMe page where folks can donate to his legal defense fund and other needs as he is now struggling to survive day-to-date until his Social Security finally kicks in. Please consider helping him out if you can!
Lastly, it's wingnut v. wingnut over at Fox "News"! So, bust out the popcorn!...
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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)