FREAK POWER: HUNTER S. THOMPSON'S CAMPAIGN FOR SHERIFF
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America has never needed inspiring and honest political voices more than it does right now and that’s why journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s irreverent and imaginative campaign for sheriff is still as electrifying today as it was in 1970. Nixon was a deeply polarizing president and Hunter's progressive ideas resonated with a generation that was disillusioned and actively seeking alternatives to political norms. In 2020, American democracy is again facing an existential crisis and Hunter’s message that young people can speak out, run a truthful campaign and take hold of the country's political destiny is more relevant than ever before.
Hunter S. Thompson went to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago as a journalist and returned home disgusted, yet motivated by what he’d just seen: violently suppressed protests, riots, corrupt politicians, and abusive cops. Back in Aspen, he finds more of the same. The local police and sheriff’s departments are targeting young people, harassing and charging them with absurd crimes and trying to push them out of town. Hunter decides he has to do something to change the police brutality that has become the norm.
We follow Hunter as he builds his own political movement, which grows from a local sheriff’s race to a national media sensation. He creates a radical platform in which he envisions completely reforming the sheriff's office by disarming the police, focusing on environmental crimes and legalizing marijuana.
As Hunter and his friends grapple with the challenges of trying to transform the political landscape in Aspen, they become ensnared in the corruption and cronyism of the political establishment. During an era when the police and FBI were hunting down activists and jailing or assassinating them, Hunter's campaign puts him in the crosshairs of J. Edgar Hoover and the forces that are under the thumb of Nixon. Soon there are death threats, bombings, an agent provocateur and Aspen becomes an ideological battleground for what “The American Dream” really means and how powerful interests often coalesce to undermine democracy.
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