Round table at NYCBA about Campaign Reform
September 5th (I know, I have really fallen behind my posts; bear with me, there is just too much going on to keep up) I attended a very interesting and enlightening round table at the New York City Bar Association titled “How Will Recent Developments in the Law Influence the 2012 Elections”?
Moderated by Nan Aron (lecturer, author, and President of Alliance for Justice), the panel consisted of:
- Angelo Falcón: President and Founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy
- Keesha Gaskins: Senior Counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program
- Lawrence Lessig: Professor of Law at Harvard University (and much more)
- John Samples: Director of the Cato Institute Center for Representative Government
The discussion was quite interesting. Leaving aside, which does not mean they are unimportant, US centric details of Campaign Law, the main points I took from the event were:
- Mr. Falcón focused so much on “Latino” that his words fall into the “leaving aside” zone.
- The debate between Mr. Lessig and Mr. Samples was simply striking: Mr. Lessig explained, in his characteristic accesible and charming style, how inequalities and concentration are hurting true democracy in the US. Mr. Samples, on the other hand, absolutely irreverent with data and facts, kept repeating a sort of right-wing ultra-capitalist mantra of “hands-off government”, “money is all that matters”, “freedom comes before justice”…
- While I have never been completely in favour of Mr. Lessig’s mild approach to admirable well-meaning reform, which in my view only leads to system assimilation, the false perception that “something is improving”, and eventual perpetuation of a stale, corrupt, and dying system, after seeing what he is against (irrational fanatism disguised behind manipulated classic theories), I understand why he does not try to aim higher.
- The discreet surprise of the night were the dead-on remarks by Mrs. Gaskins: we need to address even more fundamental problems, like education or identity, before we can even talk about economy, laws, or political campaigns. Otherwise, its a loud and busy debate that will lead nowhere.