The book Cambodia (A Shattered Society) notes that under the Khmer Rouge regime, there were “mobile brigades” of youth, and adults, who worked exhaustively each day in the fields of agriculture, industry and fishing. What’s more, they were rationed merely small portions of rice, a small amount of vegetables, and very occasionally some “fish paste.” It was a diet almost totally devoid of protein. While the Kmer Rouge regime is no longer in power, significant parts of the country are still not faring much better when it comes to, say, nutrition. In our cross country travels, we met a Maryknoll priest in Vermont who is stationed in Cambodia. (He was back in the states visiting family.) This priest said he is surrounded by malnutrition and starvation in Cambodia. What’s more, he noted that a majority (66%) of Americans are now overweight. He then drew a corollary. He said on “9/11” America lost 3,000 people in the tragedy. However, he continued, 24,000 people silently starve to death in the world, every day. With many Americans over-consuming nutritious food, and also wasting billions of dollars on non-nutritional junk food and beverage in addition. In God’s eyes, the priest lamented, many Americans are nothing short of: “food terrorists.” Note: Our foreign affairs position paper addresses some of this.
Post election I have continued on with my ‘populist pursuits.’ Besides house painting, I continue to write freelance articles for our local newspaper. One article that I wrote in the last week was about an extra-ordinary senior at Bluffton University. Chris Wagler has a triple major (You read that right!): accounting, business administration, and exercise science. What’s more, he’s been president and treasurer of BU’s Business Club. He’s also the goalie on the soccer team. And he works part-time in the evenings at the Bluffton Family Recreation Center. Chris has also just received a full scholarship to do a Masters in Accounting at Bowling Green State University. (He’s decided on accounting, just so he can keep track of his schedule. LOL, sort of.) Note: A good number of evenings, I can be found in BU’s Library continuing to do research on our positions. For instance, there’s been a lot of nuclear saber rattling between president elect-Trump and Russia in recent weeks. This, ultimately, will send a dangerous ‘radioactive ripple’ into other countries as well. In the book China Goes Global by David Shambaugh, it’s noted that: “Beijing has not entered into nuclear arms reductions bilaterally or multilaterally. It has long argued that the two major nuclear weapons states — the U.S. and Russia — must drastically reduce their arsenals down to China’s level before Beijing will consider joining such discussions.” Note 2: Obama’s stated goal was to work toward a: “nuclear weapons free world.” And in this area, he was making strides. Trump? Apparently not so much. Our administration would be more in Obama’s camp on this one.
Okay. The election dust has settled. And, that’s right, I decided not to ask for a recount. (Didn’t want the country any more divided than it is.) Also it was apparent, at least to our campaign staff, that Russia didn’t try to manipulate the election in my favor either. So, time to accept the results — as I have the four past campaigns — and move on… In the last couple months, I’ve continued on with my “average Joe” life. Before the weather got too cold, we finished painting the exterior of a house on Spring Street in Bluffton. It was done in a rather distinctive “prairie green.” I couldn’t help but think how nice the White House would look with this color. (It’s been white for soooo long! Maybe when I get there…) Actually the color would be emblematic, in part, of our administration’s paradigm around developing a much ‘greener’ U.S. Unlike the incoming Trump administration, we (along with a host of scientists) believe global warming, for instance, is a real and imminent threat. And our energy position paper outlines a series of steps we’d take (based on some extremely tried programs), to help reverse global warming, quick!
In the last week of the campaign, I was interviewed by NBC News out of Maryland for a story they were doing on official write-ins. A similar story about write-ins in Ohio ran in Kent State University’s online newspaper Wired. Our campaign was featured prominently in this. During the days, I continued with a house painting project (call me “populist”). And in my free time I did some stumping in our local area, while also catching as many innings as possible of the World Series. I’m an Indians fan! Today, Election Day, I traveled across the state on Rte. 30, the Old Lincoln Highway, stumping in a number of small towns. In Steubenville, where we recently moved, I voted — then I passed out some campaign flyers at the polling location. [Trump and Clinton didn’t do that!] I then headed home where our youngest son Jonathan asked: “Could you win Dad?” I told him that “,,,yeah Jonathan, I could win.” Then he suggested we say part of a Rosary. I smiled, knowing the poll numbers, and thinking to myself: ‘Well, this is the only way I’m going to win now.’ But you know, it’s always good having that innocent hope, huh.
In the last few weeks, I’ve done a number of articles for my wife Liz’s magazines. One of the stories was about a 13-year-old who has a “compassionate streak” a mile long. If, for instance, he sees someone eating by themselves in the school cafeteria — he’ll go sit with them. How refreshing is that?… During this time, I’ve also started a relatively large exterior painting project at the house of a Bluffton University Economics professor. During my breaks, I’ve been picking his brain about current economic trends, and such… I’ve also been on Ohio’s back roads stumping yet some more. During a stop in Forest, Ohio (pop 1,400), I put up a campaign card on the bulletin board of a local gas station with the inscription: “Can’t see the ‘forest’ for the trees anymore this election? Then Vote Joe!” Catchy, I thought… During this time, a front page article about the campaign appeared in the Findlay Courier newspaper. The headline: Perpetual Presidential Candidate… [The article noted that I have been running for president continuously since 1999.] And yesterday, I was interviewed by National Public Radio’s Statehouse Bureau in Columbus, Ohio. The reporter asked me what motivated me to keep going. I said making the world a better place for my kids, for everybody’s kids.
Have started another exterior house painting project (hoping to complete it before election day — because I could be quite busy after that). After giving a talk at Oberlin College a number of years ago, a professor there referred to me as a “cock-eyed optimist.” Apt. I also continue to stump on Ohio’s back roads every chance I can. Some vignettes: At a McDonald’s in Gallion, Ohio (I got the sausage McMuffin), I approached a table of older women. After passing out some campaign cards, one of the women said she was concerned about how liberal everything was getting. She had gone to Tiffin University back in the 1950s where “…cheerleader skirts were below the knees.” Quaint? Nostalgic? Or would we do well to go back to that kind of modesty in dress? I am running as a “concerned Midwestern parent” who thinks the latter might not be such a bad idea.
The local Fox News affiliate did a nice piece on the campaign… And I have continued with our Ohio back road stumping strategy. Well, with Ohio being the “center of the political universe,” and all… This morning I headed into Northwest, Ohio. In Rawson (pop. 576), I put up a campaign card at the post office that included: GO HORNETS! (HS mascot). Well, when in Rome (or, well: Rawson)… In Benton Ridge (pop. 303), I passed on a campaign card to a guy walking his dog. Jim Insley said he was tempted to “flip a coin” on Nov. 8th, but it wasn’t going to matter much because he believed the ‘Rapture’ was imminent. There’s an outside-the-lines take to all this, huh… I also taped a campaign card onto the box that holds Benton Ridge’s “Paradise Pizza” take-out menus. I wrote: “Vote for Joe and everyone will be living in ‘Paradise.'” [I’ve got a million of ’em.]… In Pandora (pop. 1,147), I put up a campaign card at Ted’s Market “Serving the Community for 25 Years“; put up a campaign card in Pandora’s post office; and stumped in the Lunch Box Diner there. While passing out cards to a table there, one one 17-year-old boy (who was in a number of theater productions at Pandora High) said that, while he couldn’t vote this time, he’d been watching the election process unfold with tremendous dismay. I couldn’t help but feel sad for the generation coming up in regard to how much our country had devolved in general at this point. Our campaign is designed to stop that.
In my spare time (like there is any), I’ve been contacting Secretary of State offices and filling out “official write-in” forms so our votes will be counted in as many states as possible. Criteria varies from state to state. Some are relatively easy, others medium hard, and yet others are ridiculously difficult (ibid. Pennsylvania)… On Monday I traveled across Ohio (where I am an official write-in candidate) on back roads, stumping. In Cadiz (pop. 3,309), I stumped in a downtown diner. I approached a table where, it turns out, there was a former Cadiz Village Council person. Bill Frontz told me he had also been the head of the Rotary here. [While we’re transfixed on main stream presidential candidate exploits, it’s these unsung people who are truly the backbone of the country.] Cadiz is also the hometown of actor Clark Gable (Gone with the Wind). I put up a campaign card on the diner bulletin board that read: “Frankly, I do give a damn!” –Joe... Note: The local paper, the Harrison News Herald does a weekly “Correspondence” section, with segments from eight hometown correspondents. The Ron Retzer Trio is playing at the Apple Stirrin’ Time Festival. In New Athens, Jim McBeth returned home after having surgery on his leg. In New Rumley, David Rose was honored for his work on the local Custer Museum. And what’s more, the correspondents often, it seems, insert some quirky trivia fact. Like did you know it takes one acre of peanuts to make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches? I didn’t.
During the month of September, I was interviewed for a TV news piece with the local Fox News affiliate WLIO. The reporter asked me what my chances were. I responded with Ohio’s state motto: “All things are possible with God.” He smiled. The campaign was also featured in a front page article in the Lima News. I told this reporter that my wife and I were running as your “typical concerned Midwestern parents” who were ‘concerned’ about ever increasing abortion numbers, mounting terrorism, seemingly never ending war now, violence in our cities, dire poverty worldwide… “We’re not only concerned about our kids, we’re concerned about everybody’s kids,” I said… During this time, I also finished a big house painting project, wrote some articles for our local paper — then packed up and moved to Steubenville, Ohio, where our family will start the next chapter of our lives. Note: Last night I did a Blog Talk Radio debate with American Solidarity Party presidential candidate Mark Maturen. We were on the same page with most issues. The only major point of contention was, well: He’s a University of Michigan fan and I am, of course, an Ohio State fan! Good it was on radio from separate locations, or I’m sure it would have come to blows. LOL.
For the last month, a couple friends and I have been working on our campaign vehicle. It’s a 1984 converted Midas Motor Home. The roof had a leak, the carburetor had to be rebuilt, and there needed to be some interior painting. [While not an expert mechanic (that’s why I needed the help), I can do some light stuff. Enough to get some grease under my nails occasionally.]… During this time, I was also spending time with our kids. Including beating our daughter (who was a recent college conference “Newcomer of the Year“) at a game of one-on-one basketball. But whose bragging, huh? “Maybe next year Sarah!” …I also worked late nights making phone calls to get electors and filling out Secretary of State papers to be an “official” write-in candidate in some states like Ohio (Wouldn’t that be something if we won Ohio?), Minnesota, Montana. Other candidates actually have staffs to do this, as they have mechanics for their campaign vehicles, and such. Just call me populist — with a capital P… During this time, I’ve also been working on a big house painting project (Joe the Painter). Wrote an article for our local newspaper about a Mennonite Church mission trip to Ethiopia (Joe the Journalist). And I’ve been doing some ongoing position paper research (26 years and 250,000 cross country miles for the research). In between all this the last monty, I’ve also been doing some stumping locally and Facebook posting for my national constituents… And thus is the lot of a small town, “average Joe” independent presidential candidate — the ultimate “outsider” this campaign.