Geeks, bloggers, artists and new-media pioneers have been in love with Lawrence Lessig since... well, forever. When you think about the things we love about the Web, Lessig is in each of them: In every Creative Commons license (Xark, btw, is licensed through a CC "Attribution-Noncommercial- Share Alike 3.0 United States License"); in the work of the Center for Internet and Society, in the civil-liberties-protecting brilliance of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Lessig is more than a law professor, more than an intellectual. Even the term "visionary" fails to capture the practical leadership role he has filled in the amorphous space we think of as "web culture." Yet to see him solely as a get-things-done leader is to miss out on the power of his remarkable ideas. If we were a village, he would be one of our respected elders.
Since the death of California Congressman Tom Lantos earlier this month, a grassroots movement has been forming around the idea of drafting Lessig to run for the suddenly vacant 12th district seat. It's one of those strange moments that feels fated: Lessig offered his final "Free Culture Lecture" at Stanford just weeks ago, announcing that he was turning his attention from Internet law to a campaign to change the relationship between money, influence and politics. Lantos' suddenly demise created this vacuum.
Within the last two days, Lessig has put up a Lessig '08 site and announced that he's considering running for the Lantos seat. The Draft Lessig Facebook Group has -- at this hour -- grown to 3,395 members (up about 1,400 since earlier today), and in 48 hours of online-only fundraising has generated more than $20,000.
If you're serious about wanting to change not only the faces in Washington, but the way that Washington operates, please consider throwing your support behind Lessig and his Change Congress campaign (the bipartisan Change Congress campaign will continue regardless of Lessig's decision about his candidacy). Donate. Join. Volunteer. Digg.
No, I'm not a utopian. I was raised on a commune, so it's "been there, done that" when it comes to believing that a few simple changes will magically solve all the world's problems. But I'm not a cynic, either, and I'm not blind: Something amazing is happening RIGHT FUCKING NOW. It's political and it's cultural and it is coming out of US, unmediated by the unusual suspects.
We are the people we've been looking for.