Average Joe Buckeye Blitz cont. Drove up Rte. 49 to Antwerp, Ohio, where I met with Bob Silliman who is a Third Order Franciscan. Silliman has been active in the Pro-Life movement and is also quite an artist. His oil paintings have been displayed in the Toledo Museum of Art and he is currently working on a series of paintings with spiritual themes. As with his Pro-Life activities, and other work for the church, Silliman said he sees his painting as a “ministry” as well. I told the Antwerp Bee-Argus newspaper that we would consider Bob Silliman an “extra-mile American.” This morning Bob and I attended St. Mary’s Church here and the priest said abortion is going on “right under our noses,” but many (even in the church) have grown “callous” to it. The priest continued that “we all abhor the violence and bloodshed of war,” yet in God’s eyes, abortion is no different, if not worse. That is, the violence is directed at innocent unborn babies, he said.
Average Joe Buckeye Blitz cont. Stopped by the County Fair in Van Wert, Ohio, yesterday. I was particularly drawn to an “Old Fashioned Farmers Display” that featured small tractors from the 1930s and ’40s. We would actually like to see a return to this “smaller technology” on farms, in tandem with a dramatic come back for the small family farm in America. “We are not only losing these farms, we are losing a way of life that is so important to the fabric of this country,” I told the Country Today newsaper in Wisconsin during a Election 2000 campaign tour. As the farm machinery got bigger and bigger, it opened the door for bigger and bigger farms, with the far end of the continuim being corporate mega-farms. This scenario, we believe, is often driven by greed. While Amish farmers, for instance, stay small because they know the family up the lane needs to make a living off the land as well.
Average Joe Buckeye Bitz Tour cont. I canvassed downtown Bluffton, Ohio this morning getting most of the electors required for my write-in votes to be counted in Ohio. And the way it’s looking, this could possibly be a significant number. This afternoon I set out for more ‘Buckeye Back Roads’ campaigning.
Average Joe Buckeye Blitz cont. Back in Bluffton, Ohio today where my wife Liz (and campaign manager) and myself are filling out the election forms to be a write-in candidate for most states. Not hard if you have a party machine; but a rather daunting task for a small family from the Midwest. (Especially when you have to wait for the kids to go to bed before you can get much done.) The Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum newspaper ran an article on my campaign stop yesterday. It said I had a number of “well thought out” platform points. One I had discussed with them revolves around agriculture. We’d like to see agriculture classes introduced in both rural and city schools — taught by area farmers. What’s more, we’d like to see regular field trips to the farms, not just to observe, but to work on the farms. This, we believe, would put students more in touch with the land, with the cycles of nature, and so on. What’s more, what about city kids who might have a leaning toward farming — but are never exposed to it in a hands-on fashion? (We would also like to see a return to many more small family farms.)
Average Joe Buckeye Blitz cont. Drove through Attica, Ohio (pop. 955) yesterday and picked up a Attica Hub newspaper that featured a story about the town considering grants to help pay for a new water tower. I, in turn, wrote an “Open Letter to the Community” (you can do that in Attica’s paper) this afternoon about a fund in Atwood, Kansas (pop. 1,500) we researched. Two Atwood residents donated $10,000 apiece some ten years ago to get the fund going. It was to be for city projects short on tax money, a local school class that might need additional supplies, the senior citizen who needed supplemental prescription drug money… Ten years after the initial seed money was donated in Atwood, the fund had a phenomenal: $967,000 (almost a million)! And in addition, a tremendous amount of things had been funded year to year in the town. I told the Attica Hub that people gave beyond their taxes because they felt it was their civic responsibility. So there’s a little less need for bureacracy, and a little more local initiative. (Not to mention the town has grown closer.) Later this afternoon, I told a reporter from The Daily Chief Union newspaper in Upper Sandusky, Ohio (pop. 6,533) that if someone picks up on this type of idea in Attica, it’s as if “we get one of our policies enacted long before ever getting to D.C.” And who knows how far the idea ripples out from there.
Average Joe Buckeye Blitz cont. Stumped with a morning group at the Pelican Coffee Shop in Bucyrus early today. There were some 25 men with, I was told, an average age of 80. (The group has been meeting since 1958 and is kind of the behind-the-scenes voice in town.) Howared Pfleiderer, 84, told me they are often joined by the mayor, police chief, council people… I told a reporter for the Telegraph-Reporter newspaper here that I would like to see these men also regularly joined, “elbow to elbow,” by area youth, young adults, middle-age adults… like it was in the old days. Anymore, I then told radio reporter Becky Abernathy of WQEL here, the seniors in America are cast aside in nursing homes, retirement communities, RV travel, “when they have all these years of accumulated life experience and wisdom that is going unheard.” Social security is not just about maintaining a monetary fund, I said. I then met with Floyd Reinhart of nearby Sycamore, Ohio. He is a retired district director for the U.S. Farm Service Agency. We talked about strategies for steering the country back to more small family farms, which was once the fabric of America. In addition, Reinhart is also active in the Catholic Rural Life Association. He said in this area, the Association is considering a program to inspire local farmers to set aside an acre of land for gardens and so on. Food grown on these parcels by local volunteers would be sold at farmer’s markets, and the like, with the proceeds going to provide seed money for poor, rural farmers in the Third World. (I was so impressed with Mr. Reinhart’s ideas and enthusiasm to make a difference, I couldn’t help but think: ‘Wouldn’t this small town man be a good Secretary of Agriculture?’.) To round out the morning, I stopped at Liz Tiball’s eighth grade class at Holy Trinity School here. The older students, I learned, are making items for the younger ones which will be won at games, etc., at a yearly Mardi Gras event. All the proceeds go into the Toledo Diocese mission to help in Zimbabwe.
Average Joe Buckeye Blitz Tour cont. This afternoon I talked to a prayer group at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Sandusky. I said I look at how we deal with the environment as a moral issue — and a pro-life issue. As an example: As we continue to burn fossil fuel so we can drive as much as we like, this means we are regularly pumping emissions with carcinogens into the air. Now say a child of five breathes this polluted air in, contracts cancer, and dies — yet God wanted this person to live until they were, say, 60 years old. Does that become a pro-life issue? I told the group: yes. After leaving Sandusky, I headed south down Rte. 4, stopping first in Chatfield, Ohio (pop. not much). There I talked the small grocery store owner into putting up a flyer. Another ‘campaign coup’. Tomorrow morning I do a whistle-stop in front of the Pelican Coffee House in Bucyrus, Ohio. You can’t miss it, it’s got a big neon pelican on the front window.
Average Joe Buckeye Blitz cont. I stumped with the “regulars” early this morning at LEMMY’S Restaurant in Huron, Ohio. And I learned LEMMY’S is actually a loose acronym for “Lake Erie Monster,” which (like the Big Foot legend) was supposedly sited about seven years ago around here. I said when I become president, like the UFO mysteries, I’d “get to the bottom of this thing…” I then talked to a 4th grade class at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Huron. (The teacher had just seen an article about the campaign in the Catholic Chronicle newspaper in the Toledo Diocese.) One student asked me about my education platform, and I told her I’d like to see one-third of all curriculum (k-12) be volunteer work in the community because, well, so many parts of society could use the help. And… “I want my own children to learn as much about helping others as they do learning about math, science, English…” After the talk I drove to Sandusky, Ohio and stumped on a downtown street corner there.
“Average Joe” Buckeye Blitz cont. Just before leaving Port Clinton, the county prosecutor there approached, said he’d seen me in the Toledo Blade newspaper recently, and wished me luck. Then it was onto Marblehead, Ohio, where I passed out some flyers downtown and met with Gail Kowalcz at Ex Libris used bookstore here. Wonderful story. All the books here are donated by village people. They are using the store to raise money for the rennovation of an old Coast Guard barracks — for the town’s first library. I told the Peninsula News here that I applauded the efforts, especially in light of our platform point on decentralism. We would, incrementally, like to see more of these types of old downtown facilities restored, more “Mom & Pop” businesses open downtown as well, and more people walking and bicycling to shop locally. What’s more, I also was impressed with the creative way the town was trying to fund the library from local initiative. From Marblehead, I took a ferry to Kelley’s Island, Ohio. Kelley’s Island is the largest island in Lake Erie, with glacial grooves that are, supposedly the “finest example of glacial scarring in our Western Hempisphere,” according to a book about the Lake Erie Islands. However, I skipped the grooves (I’m not with the kids this week), but rather opted for the “Country Store” in the middle of the island. There I talked the owner into putting up an “average Joe” flyer and button, a ‘campaign coup’ because this is where everyone shops. The owner told me there were about 385 registered voters on the island. So I figure if I carry the island… well, D.C. here we come! (As my wife Liz will, oh, more than a few times say to me: “It’s a happy little world you live in.”
Average Joe Buckeye Blitz cont. Did a phone-in interview on the “Tom & Beth” morning radio show in Fostoria. Tom started with: “Ladies and gentlemen… we have a ‘Tom & Beth’ exclusive…” Tiffin’s Advertiser Tribune ran a front page story with the quote: “We don’t think we should be saying economy, economy, economy… when 24,000 people are dying each day from starvation [in the Third World],” said Schriner. (I had told reporter Matt Shuman that the operative word should be: “sharing.”) In Fremont, Ohio, I stumped with the regulars in Rudy’s Restaurant (“Where You’re The Boss!”), then met with Randy Fielding who has developed the organization Angels Inc. He’s developing a model for incarcerated youth to work at daytime jobs and in voluteerism. I told the News Herald in Port Clinton, Ohio, where I stopped next, that Feilding’s model only makes common sense. That is, why not take that jail time and make it as productive as possible for society — and for the person encarcerated.