It is day four of a two week, 185 mile walk organized by the NH Rebellion, an activist organization focused on ending the systemic corruption produced by the way political campaigns are being funded. The forecast is for freezing rain over the 11 mile climb from Gorham, NH to Pinkham Notch. With 47 miles already underfoot, walkers have tended to blisters and replaced rain gear that failed during the steady sleet and rain experienced on the first ten miles of the journey, but lead organizer Japhet Els continues to press the importance of safety during the morning meeting.
As we file onto the street with signs held high, there is a surprising amount of enthusiasm for what most would consider to be a grueling ordeal. While some of this might be attributed to the dedication for raising awareness on the issue of campaign finance, the majority of it is owed to the overwhelming show of support experienced in the days before. As one local resident noted: "It's good to see that people want to see things go back to the way they were, you know. That's what built this country."Other residents, remembering the legacy of the inspirational campaign finance reform activist, Doris “Granny D” Haddock, posted signs welcoming the walkers. By day two, it became clear that word was spreading as local media arrived to conduct walking interviews and as more drivers honked horns, waved, or gave a thumbs-up as they passed by.
"I've been politically angry for decades, but ever since the Bush two administration, I've been politically apathetic," walker Leif Hunneman commented. "There was something about the catalyst between, you know, Aaron [Swartz] taking this issue and blending it with activism that really resonated with me."
The day the march began was the one-year anniversary of the death of Swartz, an anti-corruption fighter and champion of Internet-freedom who took his own life while facing prosecution on multiple federal hacking charges. The walk will end with a celebration of Granny D's legacy, on January 24, which marks the day she was born in 1910. New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan is scheduled to attend the celebration where she will proclaim the day to be “Granny D Day” in honor of Haddock.