criteria, Christians, crime and cars…

Catching up on the last couple weeks… Late at night, I’m continuing to review the criteria, from state to state, to be an “official” write-in. Each state’s criteria is different and there is a jumble of protocol to meet (some difficult, some not so difficult)… During the days, I continue to write for two local newspapers — often about stories that tie into various parts of our platform, and so on. For instance, we’re staunch “religious liberty” supporters. And last week, I covered a ‘town square’ prayer vigil for a young girl who had been Life Flighted to a Toledo hospital the night before and was in critical condition. Christians from around the town gathered, prayed and read from the Bible. It was a heartening display of Christian solidarity. [The girl was an active youth group member at a local Assembly of God church.]… I wrote a column that expressed that defunding the police was “…left of ludicrous.” What we should be doing, I wrote, is ‘funding’ the police way more, in tandem with citizens stepping up way more with community initiatives to supplement local police work. In our travels, I researched citizen “Crime Alert” block programs, citizen Mediation programs to cut down on police work and court dockets, community “Crime Stopper” programs… I also researched an Indio, California CHIP (Citizens Helping Indio Police) program that had citizen volunteers driving about in squad cars handling minor things and calling in more significant things. This was helping cut down on police burn out, and helping make Indio safer in general. For more all this, see our position paper on crime… Also during this time, I wrote a story about a local Cars & Coffee (see photo) monthly gathering where classic cars sit side by side with, well, your more run of the mill local cars whose owners have, nonetheless, kept them up quite nicely as well. For instance, a classic 1957 Nash might be parked next to a 2007 Volvo. Our platform calls for Americans to value and maintain things much more, as opposed to the “planned obsolescence throw-away culture” that seems the predominant paradigm these days.

Enter to Win!

I headed out this morning, face mask on, to Columbus Grove, Ohio, to do some impromptu campaigning. Not having the millions for advertising (go figure), I often use bulletin boards to get my name/message out to multiple people. (I can’t tell you how many of these I’ve put up all across the country over the past 20 years of campaigning.) What’s more, not only do I personally sign them, but I try to come up with some “localized” comment for the card as well. By the way, it’s the: “Columbus Grove Bull Dogs.” What’s more, I actually try to strategically locate the campaign card near other postings that might, say, play off it. For instance, on this one I’m trying to get across, subliminally, that I’ve “Entered to Win!” Okay, so, like, not everyone is going to get that. But it entertains me. LOL, sort of.

populist painting, small town newspapers, and ballot access (kinda, sorta…)

Catching up on the last 30 days… To keep my “populist” image going, and to put food on the table as well, I’ve been doing some house painting. My son Jonathan is working with me this summer. And when he’s not doing that, he’s practicing soccer. He’s a senior this year, was named 2nd Team All-State last year, and their team went to the State Championship Game. This year I’ve just got my fingers crossed there will be a season at all… I’m also continuing to do free lance writing for two local newspapers, with many of the articles tying into various aspects of the platform. For instance, I did a story on a small town local merchant who, during the shutdown, was on the verge of losing the business — as are many small business owners across the country. Our position revolves around downtown revitalization in these small communities and, over the years, we’ve researched a number of models to help affect a shift back to this. I also did a story focusing on a family here, and how they, in part, survived the Great Depression. A lot of resilience, a lot of thrift, and a lot of prayer. Note: It is also crunch time for ballot access, which, it looks like, will be “official write-in status” for me. (Unless there’s some kind of a miracle.) So late at night, I’ve been going over the criteria, filling out forms, and so on, so I can be an “official” write-in.

Farming fertilizer fallacy

While doing research on agriculture, I read an article in National Geographic on farming and fertilizer the other night. And a major problem in America these days, and around the world for that matter, is artificial fertilizer with nitrogen that’s contaminating ground water, suffocating wildlife in lakes and rivers, and is even now creating big, aquatic “dead zones” in bodies of water like the Gulf of Mexico. (Yet another front in which we’re gradually destroying the environment.) As president, I would push for banning these artificial fertilizers and ramp up, exponentially, organic growing — across the board. Organic farmers Ron and Maria Rosmann, in Harlan, Iowa, spread no nitrogen on their fields and instead add nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in nodules on the roots of legume crops like soybeans. “You organic guys can’t feed the world,” Ron says he hears. But he always replies: “That’s not true.”

Arctic insanity

The other night I was reading an article in this magazine about the dramatic warming going on in the Arctic. In fact, at this rate, scientists posit that by the year 2036, there will be no summer sea ice up there anymore. There’s a “canary in the coal mine” for planet extinction. Yet, instead of pouring all our energy (in a reverse sort of way) into curbing greenhouse gas emissions, countries are jockeying for position to mine minerals, oil and fish up there, as the thawing opens up these possibilities. What’s more, troop presence (American, Canadian, Russian…) is increasing up there as well, as a new ‘Cold War’ — in a not so cold place anymore — is taking shape. Our administration, on the other hand, would stand down from all this, while putting a tremendous amount of focus on cutting back energy demand, going to alternative energy, and so on. Just for one: To extract fossil fuels from up there, burn more, and speed up the planet’s extinction at the expense of future generations, is absolutely nuts — both common sense wise and spiritually.

Thrift mentality…

Old Farmer’s Almanac photo

For a newspaper article, I just interviewed a woman at our local Farmers Market who makes homemade jellies and breads. She lives on a nearby farm and said she abhors letting anything go to waste. So much so, she utilizes practically everything on the farm for her products . For instance, she makes “red onion jelly,” which she said goes good on sandwiches. She makes “corn cob jelly,” which she said evolved during the Depression era. She even makes “Queen Anne Lace Flowering Weed Jelly.” If Americans, as a whole, had this kind of thrift mentality with practically everything, just think how much more savings this would generate for our brothers and sisters in the Third World who are food insecure, clean drinking water insecure, habitat insecure… There is so much potential relievable suffering in this world, if only us in the First World would shift our paradigm and sacrifice more. Our foreign relations policy spins around this.

Running out of “north”?

U.S. Fish & Wildlife photo

For a newspaper series, I recently interviewed a local naturalist who has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Iowa. She said with temperatures warming, this is pushing migratory birds farther and farther north each year. You know, you have to wonder if at some point they’re just going to run out of “north”? What’s more, during a talk several years ago, I heard an environmentalist say that after all the trees are gone, all the birds are gone… next is: all of us.

Many of us contributed to George Floyd’s death

photo by Joe

I covered a George Floyd Protest Rally this week in our village. Some 300 people came together for a peaceful, and poignant, protest. There were prayers, songs, testimonies about racism… But the one thing that was missing was the acknowledgement that in small town (and suburban) America, many people have grown indifferent to the plight of those living in desperation (Black, whites, Hispanics, Asians…) in our inner cities — where a lot of this police violence, and violence in general, is happening. Racism among some police? Sure. But virtually all these police are functioning, day in and day out, in veritable war zones. So, of course, some police are going to develop things like varying degrees of PTSD, and so on — which will, at times, hinder their judgement. The onus, really, is on us. That is, those of us who myopically reach for more and more of the “American Dream,” (more money, more safety, more, well, everything), while forgetting about the people trapped often in a veritable Hell. Note: Our family intentionally moved to a hardscrabble area of Cleveland, Ohio (and the time the poorest city in the country) to do outreach work with the poor, along side a group of Catholic Workers. We saw this desperation, this pervasive climate of violence — and its across the board — first hand.

Hall of Fame anonymity

I just today wrote a newspaper article about this man who grew up not more than 15 miles south of here in the small town of Alger, Ohio. According to a Pittsburgh newspaper at the time he was playing, Raymond Brown could have played in the Major Leagues, if he had been allowed to. He wasn’t. What’s more, when he finished playing, he moved back to Dayton, Ohio, where he worked at a “biscuit company” for seven years before he died. His tombstone initially said nothing about baseball. However, after he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Dayton Daily News did a series of stories on him. Subsequently, an ad hoc citizens group did fundraising to get him a “fitting tombstone” with information about his baseball playing.

Memorial Day / two takes

World photo

For Memorial Day this year, I interviewed two men. One was a local man who was a Marine and fought in Iraq right at the beginning of the war. A Christian, he was willing to lay down his life to free the Iraqi people from the iron fist and well-documented murderous, torturous ways of Saddam Hussein. He was two blocks from the iconic Iraqi War scene where, with much fanfare, Hussein’s statue in Baghdad was toppled. The other man is a local Mennonite and a Christian Peacemaker. He went to Columbia at the height of that bloody civil war to help displaced people stand up for their land rights, and so on. What’s more, he and others, were human shields for children, from this displaced group, as they walked to school each day. This man said the motto of the Christian Peacemaker is that: “We should be willing to die for our cause as much as a military person is willing to die for their cause.” You’d think Jesus would agree when He said: “No greater love has a man…” Our foreign policy revolves around this kind of ethos.