Synopsis: “It’s no secret that special interests bankroll campaigns and relentlessly lobby to rig the system in their favor. Unrepresented pulls back the curtain to investigate the mechanisms that propel Congress’s corruption cycle- giving political insiders enormous, unchecked power.
Democratic and Republican party leaders alike encourage us to believe that the political divide is wider than ever. In reality, the vast majority of Americans agree on basic reforms to outlaw the wanton political corruption from both parties, but politicians won’t pass them.
UnRepresented reveals the opportunities and challenges as committed public servants, non-partisan activists, and everyday Americans build unprecedented movements to fix the broken system before it’s too late.”
“Why is public discourse on politics so charged? Do the majority of Americans really hold such irreconcilable views? Or is it that we are increasingly frustrated by our inability to achieve the most basic and widely beneficial policy reforms like lowering healthcare costs?
In my experience, it is more the latter thatâ€™s motivating our anger. We are pissed at the crooked laws we see Congress pass like Medicare D paying drug companies whatever they ask or the failure to demand better terms for ordinary Americans in bailing out the banks in 2008-9.
Americans see this corruption and are frustrated because the candidates elected to solve it donâ€™t. We see the system itself is corrupt, but the corruption has reached the point that we feel powerless to stop it. So we vote for candidates making ever larger promises for radical change, but in pinning whatever hopes we have to these individuals, what we fail to understand is:
1. Why Congress doesnâ€™t rely on our support
2. The power we have to change the laws enabling this corruption
The core problem:
Congress doesnâ€™t rely on us because its members donâ€™t get the money they spend from us. This is true in elections, in which most financing is provided by a few thousand people. It’s also true in running government, in which unelected lobbyists exercise undue control over policy and unlimited debt allows Congress to reliably reward all of these political investors.
Politicians succeed in avoiding reform by spending billions each year to broadcast partisan messages that divide voters into the smallest blocks necessary to win elections. This effectively concentrates power in the hands of those that control the party and benefit from the status quo.
A simple formula for change:
If the problem is Congress not getting its money from us then thatâ€™s what needs to change. The question is: how do we do this if we canâ€™t rely on them?
The history of major American reform movements shows that when the Federal government wonâ€™t act, that citizens can still achieve these reforms by passing them at the State level. From Womenâ€™s Suffrage to Marriage Equality, Americans achieved these reforms in the face of a recalcitrant Congress by passing the laws State by State until a tipping point was reached and the reforms became law nationwide. States even have the power to directly amend the US Constitution without a 2/3rds vote of Congress, which is why Americans now directly elect Senators.
The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that Congressâ€™s borrowing should be limited, that corporations should not be allowed to contribute to election campaigns and that campaign financiers and lobbyists should be required to fully disclose their political spending.
Unrepresented shows the leading movements working to achieve these reforms through acts of State government. Their success depends on more Americans seeing through the partisan messaging the beneficiaries of the status quo use to keep us focused on their priorities. We need your help to do this. “
Born in Detroit, Daniel Falconer studied Film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He wrote, directed, and edited.