Last week, US Postman Doug Hughes flew his gyrocopter on to the US Capitol lawn, carrying letters calling for campaign finance reform addressed to Congress. In an interview with Democracy Now, Hughes said his actions were worth risking his life and freedom.
Hughes had previously told the Tampa Bay Times that he was going to attempt the flight into the no-fly zone and that he didn’t “believe that the authorities are going to shoot down a 60-year-old mailman in a flying bicycle.”
The more than 530 letters Hughes was carrying focused on the issues of corruption and greed in Congress.
“Congress knows what’s going on; I wasn’t telling them anything they’re not aware of,” Hughes said. “I was telling them something they don’t want the people to be aware of. And I was telling the people that there are solutions in place. They know there’s a problem. I’m telling people something they don’t know: There are solutions that have already been designed; they only have to be implemented. And it’s in our power to implement them.”
When host Juan Gonzalez asked Hughes what those solutions are, he responded,
What my letter actually said to the Congress critters was they’ve got to decide whether they’re going to deny that corruption exists, or they’re going to pretend that they’re doing something about it, or they’re going to really roll up their sleeves and be a part of reform. But I’m looking to the local media, particularly the print media, OK, at the local level, to hold the candidates’ feet to the fire and force them to take a stand on real reform and whether or not they’re going to vote for it or whether or not they’re going to try and take a halfway, mealy-mouthed stand on it, which means they’re going to try and preserve the status quo. The idea is, the voters can decide well if they’re informed. The national media can’t and won’t inform the voters about where the candidates stand. But the local media, which has been, you know, very weak and impotent in the political process, can really take the ball, and they can be the moving force in informing the voters.
After landing, Hughes was arrested and now faces up to four years in prison for violating national defense airspace and flying an unregistered aircraft. He is currently under house arrest in Florida and is wearing a GPS monitoring device.
“Yes, it was worth risking my life, it was worth risking my freedom, to get reform so that Congress works for the people,” said Hughes.
Watch Hughes’ full interview with Democracy Now.