Running as an independent, again…
[late Summer of 2007 until the present, Joe switched back to running as an independent]
After the relatively cold shoulder we eventually got from the Green Party (as described in the last section’s audio), I went back to running as an independent candidate for the balance of Campaign 2008 – and throughout all of Campaign 2012.
Although I will say, that I haven’t been totally turned off to the Green Party. Actually, we traveled to subsequent Green Party Annual National Conventions at Durham, North Carolina (where, by the way, I also took our kids to a Durham Bulls baseball game), and also at Alfred University, in Alfred, New York. We went to learn more about the Party, and to continue to test the waters.
As we continued to travel, to stump, to do interviews… The intent was to continue to research for our position papers, gain more exposure for our campaign, and to also continue to plant seeds about the things we’d already researched.
One of the places I planted seeds, as well as in this case also offered a sweeping, and scathing, analysis, was at the University of Notre Dame in 2010. I was asked to talk, as coincidence would have it, on the same night President Obama was giving his State of the Union address.
What I said that night at Notre Dame, unfettered by special interests and party affiliation concerns, was probably a lot closer to the real State of the Union. And incidentally, the real State of the Union: isn’t very good. In fact, it’s abysmal.
Awhile later, during a talk at the Consistent Life Ethic 25th Anniversary Conference in D.C., I said what America has evolved into is a: “culture of death.” And incidentally, the late John Paul II had noticed this, and coined the phrase, long before me.
And it wouldn’t take a social scientist from, say, Harvard, to plainly see these areas of death. At the time of the talk, we were close to having killed 55 million babies in their mothers’ wombs. Rapidly advancing global warming, emanating from our energy gluttonous lifestyles, was already killing scores of people in more arid countries through drought and famine. Then there were now many super charged hurricanes and typhoons killing people, everywhere. Our city streets, and schools now, were becoming war zones…We had spent billions of dollars on massive amounts of nuclear weapons to stay ultra-protected in this country, while 24,000 people starved to death every day elsewhere in the world, according to UN figures.
And I could go on… and on… and on… So we kept on… and on… and on…
In our last major tour of Campaign 2012, among a good number of stops, we stopped in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, which is nearby a number of military bases.
When reporter Tom McLaughlin of The News Herald there, asked me my stance on the military, I offered a “culture of life response.” I told McLaughlin that I’d recently learned, for instance, that the military spends $50 billion a year just to maintain a nuclear arsenal that includes more than 5,000 deployable nuclear weapons.
That’s enough to blow the world up hundreds of times over. I then said that our 15 year old daughter Sarah, who doesn’t think in ‘Party think’ had recently, and quite innocently, asked me: “Dad, why don’t we have just enough nuclear weapons to blow the world up once?”
“Good question Sarah.”
Then I told McLaughlin that our administration would work toward reducing our nuclear arsenal to this level, or even less. And we would take the tremendous amount of savings each year to help those starving, dying of preventable disease, and such – in other parts of the world -- while also using some of the money to help revitalize our nation’s cities, and such.
This made sense to Sarah, and to me. I mean, you do the right thing – then trust God, right?
On the global warming front, and staying on the side of the culture of life, I told the reporter that the Deep Water Horizon blowout that sent massive amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, should have been a bottom for a nation addicted to fossil fuels. And our administration would ban offshore drilling and ramp up, exponentially, the development of green energy so our kids wouldn’t be inheriting a world of climate chaos. I also ask Americans to sacrifice, like Americans did during World War II. Actually in essence, this is war too. War on the environment.
I then pointed to a nearby community called Seaside, Florida, where we stopped earlier. I noted that the town redesigned itself to be as walking and bicycle friendly as possible, and that town should be a model for every town in the nation at this point.
And then it was on to Georgia, where I continued to talk about a Culture of Life.
I told the Thomasville Times-Enterprise that we believe global warming is, indeed, real, and as concerned parents, my wife and I are worried about leaving a world of climate chaos to our children. I mean, what sane parent wouldn’t be worried about that?
For this newspaper, I also drew a comparison. I noted that we’ve killed more than 50 million babies with abortion – while six million people were killed in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. And we know how the German people from that era are viewed now in retrospect.
What will people think of us 20 years from now? I wondered. Will we still be viewed, in retrospect, as the “best nation on earth?” A lot of us have blindly bought that line.
And I added that one thing is for sure. That is, abortion, urban violence, global warming, rural poverty, a skyrocketing national debt… have, for some time, been getting worse. And here’s an interesting common denominator to it all.
That is for the past 20 years, we have had presidents who have either graduated from Yale or Harvard. That might tell us something. It might tell us that whatever they teach you at Yale and Harvard might not necessarily equip one – to solve these problems.
Then it was on to Columbus, Georgia, where I expanded on that for the Ledger Enquirer newspaper there. I said political bipartisanship among a good deal of the D.C. politicians these days, political ties to big business, special interests, and super-PACS are making both parties seem like: the difference between Pepsi and Coke.
And, not to name any names, but… I ended the interview by saying wouldn’t it be refreshing – and not in a Coca Cola kind of way – to have somebody in the White House who is not umbilically attached to big business and who is not a puppet. We would actually like to see an average joe revolution evolve. A little modicum of common sense in D.C., would go a long way,” I said.
Having said that, we headed back to Ohio.
Now earlier in our campaigning, I had told the Country Today newspaper in Wisconsin that our platform called for a major return to an agrarian based society, with many small organic farms – like it was in the old days. So it only made sense, walking the talk, and such, that we at least help a small organic farm keep going.
So while other presidential candidates were jetting frantically around the country on money from, say, big businesses and special interests during the summer of Campaign 2012, we moved to an organic farm in Yorkshire, Ohio, where we bailed hay, milked cows, painted part of a barn (well, I had to keep the Joe the Painter image up), tended to free range chickens…
In early fall, we moved back to Bluffton, Ohio, where we’d lived during Campaign 2004. By far, the best small town in America, or so I say. See the book section on this site.
During the fall, in between working and going to our kids’ sporting events, I took some one-tank-trips out into Ohio for some last minute campaigning. And as with all the campaign trips, both far and near, I not only continued to get a message out, I came across yet more fascinating Americans doing these great things in their communities to make a difference.
And fittingly enough, my last stop was in Holgate, Ohio (pop. 800) – yet another small town in a looooooong string of small towns over the past 12 years. While other presidential candidates were focused on a plethora of national poles, in Holgate, I became focused on some rusty downtown light poles. As I note in our last blog entry of Campaign 2012, there was an older, retired gentleman painting these poles. The city wouldn’t paint them, he told me. Ohio Edison wouldn’t paint them. He’d called both of them. So he was painting them, on his own, in light blue, his favorite color. Didn’t ask anybody, or anything.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it’s not what your country (or Ohio Edison, for that matter) can do for you, but…
And I’ve got to say, for me, this endearing small town scene is fitting. That is, as I’ve mentioned earlier, oh, a few times… If a president is really not going to fix things in this country, and if Congress people really aren’t going to fix things in this country… it’s time for us, the people, to roll up our sleeves – grab that metaphoric paint brush (and there’s where I’m an expert, huh) and fix things ourselves – ultimately, for our kids sakes.
That’s why Liz and I are doing what we’re doing. We just couldn’t wait any more for those people in D.C. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of time left.
Not much time at all.
An addendum: As you’re probably aware, I didn’t carry the country in Campaign 2012. Actually, I’m not sure I even carried Holgate.
But our campaign motto is: Never Give Up!
So I didn’t.
For the next two years, I stayed in Bluffton cutting the grass, continuing to work, and continuing to go to our kids’ games. (And if you go to our kids pages on this site, you’ll see that’s been a lot of games.)
Oh, and with almost every free minute – except, of course, for Liz and my dates at the Dairy Freeze up the street, and some work on our old campaign vehicles – I’ve been cloistered in the Bluffton University Library continuing to study up on every domestic and foreign issue imaginable.
For instance, as I’m putting this recording together, ramped up talks are going on with Iran about their nuclear program. As part of my research on this crucial issue, I’m currently reading parts of the book: Iran and the United States by Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who is an Iranian who has worked for 30 years on various diplomatic issues between the U.S. and Iran. He did his postdoctoral research at Princeton University – and offers tremendously unique, and valuable, insight into the thinking of the Iranians in regard to the negotiating process around the nuclear program.
In fact U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who has also been involved with these ongoing negotiations, has written the forward for Mousavian’s book.
And as I’ve been reading the book, I’ve also been reading about the Iranian issue in the New York Times, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal… all Bluffton University periodicals. Between internet sources, and these publications, being at this small town university library is literally like having “…the world at your doorstep.”
And in the next audio, I explain why, indeed, that library, and much more, has been a crucial part of my preparation for the presidency. Of course I don’t want to snow you either. I said every free minute I’ve been doing this intense research, but, okay, that’s stretching the truth a little.
The Bluffton University Library also has a subscription to the Bluffton News. And in between reading up on the nuclear situation in Iran, the crisis in the Ukraine, the ongoing Israeli / Palestinian conflict… I can also be found occasionally reading sports stories about my kids’ games in the Bluffton News. Did you know the Bluffton Boys Varsity basketball team lost a sectional game to Swanton in a nail biter the other night, 53 to 50? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
And while the other guys, euphemistically speaking, of course, Hillary, are looking at reams of exploratory committee data, national poll data, data on how much SuperPAC money they may be able to garner… before declaring to run for president, I’m just waiting for the Spring high school baseball season to be over.