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.
I recently did an interview for the local newspaper with our daughter Sarah, who went to Nicaragua with a group of Franciscan University students. She said the most poignant moment happened for her early on. The group had just gotten off the plane and were on a bus going toward an orphanage in the heart of Managua, the capital. It was 10 p.m. The bus stopped at a red light and the windows were down. A group of young kids were playing soccer at this hour on a small patch of dirt in the middle of the city. With smiles of joy on their faces, the young kids motioned to the college students to come join them. Sarah, a college soccer player, said there was an explosion of mixed emotions inside. Here were these kids who were tremendously joyful with their circumstances and wanted to share with these American young people. And here were these kids with, probably, little to eat, shacks for homes, and a small patch of dirt for a field. Note: Our foreign policy spins around, well, meeting in the middle. That is, asking Americans to sacrifice more (high-end artificial soccer turf, high end food consumption, high end houses…), so these kids in Nicaragua (and all around the Third World for that matter) had, at the very least, more of the basics of all this stuff. Question: “But Lord, when did we see You playing on a field without grass?”
In the last couple weeks, I continue with a relatively big house painting project (Joe the Painter, cont.)… I’m also continuing to do interviews for my wife Liz’s magazines. Of particular note is an interview I did with a 13-year-old boy for a “Young Achievers” column we run. The boy said that among his various hobbies, he likes to open the dictionary once a day — at random — and learn a new word. “Do you know what incendiary means?” He asked. [Maybe I should be doing that.] During this time, I also interviewed a PGA member who was the Head Pro at a local country club. He said in the “old days,” before X-Box golf, kids used to just practice, well: “golf, golf.” What a concept, huh… Also, as the mainstream Party candidates started to fan out in the swing states — me too. I chose Ohio because, well, I live here so it was close. On a Saturday evening I stumped at the North Baltimore Summer Festival and talked with Kari Stallcap, who was running a booth for the Wood County Committee on Aging. She said the agency: sponsors talks on a gamut of senior subjects; does “Meals on Wheels”; provides medical escorts for some seniors; provides senior legal advice… Our position paper on Social Security spells out that this should be way more than about just a monetary fund, but rather an entire safety net so seniors feel as ‘secure’ as possible in their respective communities… From North Baltimore, I traveled west down a back road and stopped in Hoytville, Ohio (pop. 305). Volunteer firefighter Jerome Miller was sitting on his porch. I handed him a campaign card and we struck up a conversation.) He’s been a firefighter 16 years, just made lieutenant. What’s more, a display in his front yard includes: and old red fire ax; some old fire boots, and a couple old fire helmets… I then headed about seven miles west to Deshler, Ohio (pop. 1,801). There’s a big sign that says: Welcome to the Corn City! I put up a campaign card in the post office and wrote that I was “Pro- Corn!” If we don’t carry Deshler, I’ll be surprised.
In the last couple months, I’ve found myself (as usual): multi-tasking. I’ve been out to campaign on the back roads of Ohio several times. I’ve been working on a big house painting project in Bluffton (“Joe the Painter”). Liz (the ‘almost First Lady’) and I have been taking regular evening bicycle rides and attending some of our son Jonathan’s Summer League Basketball games. And I’ve been writing some articles for my wife’s magazines. One of the most recent interviews have been with a professor of biology at the University of Findlay. Among other things, he said advances in the field of genetics of late could open the door for things like: a cure for cancer. What’s more, he said such factors as stress management and nutrition are key components in the immune system’s ability to fight carcinogens in the system now. [There’s an emphasis on this in our Healthcare position paper.] Note: Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention… During he past two months, I’ve been regularly cutting the lawn and tending the garden at our home on Main Street (that’s the street name, literally!) How’s that for populist? And my wife will probably having me doing the same at the White House. LOL (sort of).
I had a “political science session” last night with my daughter Sarah who has just finished up her sophomore year at Franciscan University. The session shed some key light on an Obama administration’s transgender related bathroom “directive” that had gone down earlier in the day. Sarah’s political science professor was Benjamin Wiker, PH.D., who wrote the book Worshiping The State (How Liberalism Became Our State Religion). Sarah said that Professor Wiker noted that in Machiavelli’s time he believed a “king” should appear “…all mercy, all faith, all honest, all religion.” But that this is just a ruse to mask “…inward amoral, irreligious Machiavellianism.” Wiker wrote that a really clever ruling atheist could use the “art of duplicity” to effect his agenda. Fast forward to now… President Obama appears affable enough, genuine, and says he’s a practicing Christian. However, his wholesale support of abortion, gay marriage, transgender bathrooms… are agendas that are expressly antithetical to the gospel message. Machiavellian duplicity? Could be.
Jimmy Carter and Dr. Norman Borluag, who helped bring a “Green Revolution” to India and Pakistan in the early 1970s by increasing their rice and other food grain production, began a similar grassroots movement among small farmers in Africa. The men inspired the governments of a number of African countries to provide small loans for fertilizer and better seed. [These farmers were able to repay the loans easily through their increased crop yields.] What’s more, Carter and Borluag didn’t encourage the use of costly and difficult to maintain equipment like tractors. But rather these farmers primarily used hoes and other hand tools, Carter writes in his book: Talking Peace. Note: This has decidedly been a major problem in American farming. That is, first it was small tractors and small combines. Then they were bigger, then bigger… This meant farmers could farm bigger tracts of land — buying some some small family farmers out, then more small family farmers out… In turn, less and less youth were being raised on the land and the once backbone of our country started going away incrementally. This was all billed as: “progress.” But was it? The Amish, for instance, intentionally don’t use tractors or combines. They stay small, don’t buy each other out, and are tremendously good environmental stewards with their land.
I was just reading today in Harry Truman’s Where The Buck Stops book about his reflections on President Lincoln. Truman noted that Lincoln, as a youth, not only worked on his parent’s family farm, but he was also hired out to work on other small farms in the area to bring in additional income for his family. What’s more, Lincoln was primarily self taught in his early years and would walk almost 20 miles to Springfield to get law books to study. Conversely, I was talking to a family farmer this morning in Bluffton who was lamenting about the demise of the small family farm where kids learned the value of work. He said, for instance, that current presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign promise of a free college education seems a natural extension of all this. That is, many modern youth — because practically everything is handed to them at home these days — indeed feel entitled to a free secondary education as well. Note: Our agricultural platform calls for a strong return of the small family farm. So strong, in fact, that the country evolves back into an agrarian based one, with these small farms again being the backbone.
I was just reading part of the book: Soviet Foreign Policy Since World War II by Alvin Rubinstein. The author suggests that: “…Soviet disarmament policy reveals that Moscow has exploited the theme as a means of compensating for military and technological inferiority.” Well okay, here’s a different sort of geopolitical chess strategy in Russian/American foreign policy: Why not slow the “Arm’s Race” on our end? This might, in turn, slow it on their end. What’s more, then we take some of the considerable savings from this slowing and help the Russian people at large, many of whom are currently struggling financially with their relatively recent transition to a free market economy. Note: I am not suggesting reducing sanctions on the Russian government for it’s unprovoked incursion into the Ukraine. But rather, I’m suggesting finding, and using, safe humanitarian-aid conduits into that country.
I recently interviewed a woman who went to Haiti as part of a Mission Possible team. [Mission Possible is a Christian humanitarian aid agency.] Her impression shortly after landing there: “I’m not sure what Dante’s Seven Circles of Hell are, but I’m pretty sure I’ve skipped six of them.” She said there was searing heat, stick thin people everywhere, little electricity, even less running water, very little food. Her role was to primarily give dental hygiene talks at the various schools, ending the presentation with passing out a toothbrush to each student. She said she was absolutely amazed at the politeness and appreciation for the toothbrushes — because for many of the youth this would be one of the few things that would be theirs. Although this woman added that in many cases, these would become a “family toothbrush.” Note: Our foreign policy spins around getting way more help to those in the Third World. When we look around at our tremendously consumption oriented society in America, in comparison to these tremendously struggling people — we should be ashamed we aren’t helping more. Absolutely ashamed!