Hedrick Smith

Hedrick Smith

Hedrick Smith to speak on ‘taking back our democracy’

Veteran reporter Hedrick Smith believes citizens are “winning back” democracy with grassroots action.

Smith just wrapped up a one-hour documentary for MSNBC that tells the story of “movements pushing for and achieving political reform” in the following states: Washington, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Florida and South Dakota.

He will give a talk titled “Taking Back Our Democracy – The People Vs. the Politicians” on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at the Emmanuel Parish Hall from 5-6:30 p.m. about what he calls the missing story of American politics: heroic stories of civic action. Tickets are $10 at Darvill’s Book Store or at the door.

“Lots of people are deeply upset and despairing about the state of American democracy,” Smith said. “Tens of millions of people are upset, angry, despairing, frustrated, fed up and disenchanted with democracy. And they don’t think anything can be done about it. My reporting tells me that is not true … not only can you do something about it, people are doing something about it, and their stories need to be told.”

Smith, who has made films for PBS and Frontline, began work on his newest documentary in 2016. It will air this fall prior to the general election. After the broadcast, Smith will post clips from his film on the Youtube channel “People vs. the Politicians.” He hopes that after citizens hear about what others are doing, they will be inspired to take action as well.

“It’s about people fighting for voting rights, rolling back Citizens United, exposing dark money from billionaires and corporations in political campaigns, public funding of campaigns that empower small donors and anti-corruption measures,” Smith said. “I am extremely worried about how our democracy is being undermined by the concentration of economic power, by the capture of Washington by special interests, by hyper-partisanship, which has largely destroyed the political middle and by gerrymandering, which enables politicians and political parties to gain a lock on power.”

Mandi Johnson contributed to this story.