11:44 a.m.: We have just crossed the Ohio line on Rte. 90 heading west. And the Average Joe Buckeye Blitz Tour is underway. Let the games begin! … And they did. Our first stop was Cortland, Ohio. We were eating dinner in an outdoor pavilion by ourselves when, out of the blue, a group of some 16 bocce bowlers showed for their weekly game. They, graciously, asked us to play, but again there was no suggestion of me ‘throwing out the first…’ er, ‘rolling the first ball’ as the visiting presidential candidate. (See 7/27 entry from Sanford, Maine.)
I just read that President Bush stopped over the weekend at Hiram College in Ohio to meet with the Cleveland Browns at their training camp as part of his current campaign tour. That’s going too far! I’m the Brown’s fan! He’s from Texas for crying out loud… ON TO OHIO!!! Note: During a talk at Annunciation Church on Cleveland’s south side a couple years ago, I said I didn’t pander to any constituency group. Then winked and said: “However, I just wanted you people to know when I do get to D.C., one of the first things I’ll do is have the Capital Dome painted orange and brown (Cleveland Brown’s colors).
Still heading back to Ohio for the next phase… We stopped back in Jamestown, New York where I saw an article about our campaign in the Western New York Catholic newspaper. It noted that I had a “consistent pro-life ethic.” That is, I’m against abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty… but I am also against such conditions as poverty and pollution. For instance, if a little four-year-old child dies of starvation in Uganda, partially because I, as an “average American,” haven’t chosen to cut back on my lifestyle more to help in the poverty ravaged Third World — then this too, I believe, becomes a “Pro-Life” issue in a very real way.
Still heading back to Ohio… We took the kids to the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, New York, today. Phenomenal experience. It’s a ‘glass cornacopia,’ if you will. Glass artistry. Glass demonstrations. High-tech glass technology (phiber-optics, photo-tonics…). According to literature here, Corning Glass is one of the “oldest businesses in the world,” starting in 1851. And it has been one of the more innovative. The company, for instance, developed the original Polymore Telescope mirror.
Still heading back to Ohio, we stopped in Oneonta, New York where we met Jo and John Terwilligier. They are involved with the “Come Share a Meal at Our Table” program. Wonderful people and a great program. Jo and John explained throughout town here, for the past 12 years, volunteers and local businesses (in the form of food donations, etc.) provide a daily meal “for everyone.” The reason: “So no one in town has to be hungry.” Afterward, Joseph and I went to the Oneonta Public Library where we read a book about Jackie Robinson, who was the first Black Major League Baseball player and the first Black player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame — which is just north of here in Cooperstown, NY.
Heading back, we are traveling on a rather mountainous Rte. 9 in southern Vermont and have had the bullhorn out several times as we passed through small towns along here. In Wilmington, Vermont, we saw a cemetery with the quite apt, and simple, name: “Resting Place.” But unfortunately, there is no ‘rest’ for an independent candidate and his staff (read: family) in a set of rather slow campaign vehicles, so we rolled on…
We are heading back toward Ohio to campaign for the next 30 days, calling it the “Average Joe Buckeye Blitz.” (Again, we are doing this without paid campaign consultants.) Ohio, according to all kinds of reports, is going to be the bellweather state this Election. During 2002 we campaigned for eight solid months in Ohio, going to all 88 counties (see “Ohio Tour” on website Tour Map). We gained some supporters and we were in a good deal of media all over the state. We are going there to build on that. And, what’s to say we won’t be the ‘Nader Florida factor’ in Ohio — or just win outright for that matter. I mean, being from Ohio, I am a “native son,” of sorts.
We came to Old Orchard Beach, Maine today for our last stop of our current Coast-to-Coast Tour spanning some 8,000 miles. We had come here to learn about a $4 million pilot project to harness clean, renewable energy from ocean waves. While here in this vaction spot, we also did a whistle-stop event on a corner that sees the foot traffic of people from all over the country (helps us cut down on the need for all the million dollar national TV ads). Toward the end of the event, we met Fred Ptucha from Santa Rosa, California. He provided Naval Intelligence for “Swift Boats” (including the one presidential candidate John Kerry was on) during the Vietnam War. Ptucha is now a member of Veterans for Peace and is recently back from a trip to Vietnam — where he and other veterans were helping build homes for families who became homeless after the war. I told local reporter Liz Gold that our adminstration would promote a U.S. Department of Peace that would include just such an initiative, and more. Note: This week marked the successful coast-to-coast bicycle trip of John Paquet from nearby Wells, Maine. The Coast Star newspaper here said Paquet left San Francisco June 6 and “dipped the front tire of his bicycle in the Atlantic Tuesday…” In that tradition, but not being able to get the “average Joe” Mobile over the beach to the water (it doesn’t have four wheel drive); we instead dipped our feet in the Atlantic. And while we were there, and because we have kids who wouldn’t have had it otherwise, we also swam in the Atlantic to mark the end of the tour.
The Journal Tribune here ran a front page article about the campaign. It noted I believe Americans need to consume less and put the savings toward helping quell poverty more in the inner cities and the Third World. We then journied east to Kennebunkport, Maine, where, among other things, we saw the Bush family muti-million dollar complex of “summer homes” on the coast here. I can’t say this is really keeping with the spirit of our belief about: “consuming less.” While this might typify the zenith of living out the “American Dream,” perhaps we might want to consider redefining the “American Dream” as it might be better typified — in God’s eyes.
We did a street corner, whistle stop event at Sanford, Maine’s “Central Park” today. We then met with Bob Egan, a menber of the York County Right For Life group here. He said when he protests abortion publically, he carries a sign with a quote from Mother Theresa: “Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.”