Watch out Michael Moore, here comes Jerrol LeBaron. Not a political activist like Moore, LeBaron was just an ordinary guy with a not so ordinary wish. After seeing unwanted results of many supposedly needed bills, his desire was to have the politicians actually read the bills they were signing. He wanted to do something to make a difference and while he hasn't reached his goal yet, the awareness of his role is awe inspiring.
Fools On The Hill is the story of Jerrol's quest to accomplish just that. The problem, he realized, is nationwide. Not only was it federally affected, but locally and statewide, so Jerrol decided to start with the one state that seemed to have the fewest requirements for getting a bill on the ballot - North Dakota. Using his own money for the journey, during the four brutal winter months in 2010, LeBaron and his crew slogged around the state, going to the hidden nooks and crannies, small towns and bigger cities, trying to get signatures for his bill. He drove 20,000 miles, in all.
"It wasn't something passionate like gay rights or the abortion issue, so finding volunteers was difficult." In the end, he did by knocking on every door he saw.
Written and edited by Jed Rigney, it was produced by Eliza Bayne, with associate producers Gato Scatena and Jordon Rosner of the Fete Group. The film stars several notable activists as Ed Begley, Jr. and Dean Cain.
Many legislators receive their thousand page bills at 2 am and have to vote on it the following morning. Very few of them take the time or read, or even skim, what the bill really says or think about the consequences to their constituents. "There's no way to understand how a bill will affect people when it's one thousand pages long. Who knows what little known pet projects are funded in the lines of the bill.
Watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington you get a good idea of what really happens in the scene where Jimmy's mentor - a senior staffer - tells Jimmy that no one ever reads the bills.
"It used to be ruling by the people," he said. "Now it's ruling by the politically savvy. "
Most bills, he found out, were written by lobbyists. Those are the guys with the money who wants the politicians to vote their way. So many bills have hidden aspects to them, which favor the money. The the bill in New York that forbade the Seneca Indians from selling their tobacco was sponsored by none other than Philip Morris; the California pension problem was started because of the bill sponsored by CalPers, Bush's Wall Street bailout was another example.
Politicians today don't interface with the masses. They deal with the people who can raise money to help their re-election campaigns. Instead of serving the will of the public, they are serving their own will. But how do you vote for something you don't even understand? How do you vote for something without considering the consequences of the bill on the people of your district?
One North Dakota resident suggested that the bills be placed on the internet four days before the vote so that the public has time to read and digest and give their remarks to the legislators.
When one politician was confronted by an angry constituent, he hadn't even recalled voting for the bill. He admitted that he had just voted blindly. He had listened to the experts. What experts? The lobbyists, of course.
Other notables appearing in the film were John Philips,radio show host; Dale Weitzel, Associated Press, Barbara Maynard, Cary Harrison, Gary Jacobson, Rick Amato, Tom Schatz, Marcia Fritz, Laura Murphy, Bruce Weisman, Bree Walker, and Dr. Ted Baehr.
In the end, LeBaron did not get all the signatures he needed, but he vows to return and hit other states. "I'd like to see a bill like this become nation wide. Think of it - Tens of thousands of bills passed and someone actually understanding what they say.
An important film for every American to see. It proposes an actual solution to those moved by Occupy, et al.
While it is shown in several theatres, if you like what you see, you can buy it for a nominal price at the web site.
For more information go to www.Foolsonhillmovie.com