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People We Love :: Bill Moyer

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Giving Politicians a Backbone

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You might run into Bill Moyer striding alongside a giant polar bear, or a walking puppet of the U.S. Constitution. Or you might hear him on the radio, conversing with a person who could be “the ideal secretary of defense”—if our government had a “backbone.”

Founder of the Backbone Campaign, Moyer organized a group of artists in 2004 on Vashon Island, Washington, to bring a puppet of a giant spine to the Democratic National Convention. Each vertebra was a platform plank like “no corporate personhood” and “civil unions for all.” The campaign called on political leaders to take a stand on issues Americans care about.

The Backbone Campaign along with other progressive groups have created a “shadow cabinet,” a dream team of leaders with progressive values. Visitors to, can rank nominees for secretary of state, for example, which include journalist Bill Moyers (no relation) and activist Medea Benjamin.



Stephen Silha wrote this article as part of Purple America, the Fall 2008 issue of YES! Magazine. Stephen is a freelance writer, communications consultant, and co-founder of Photo of Stephen Silha
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