Friday, February 17, 2012
My Trip to Manchester, Part 1
Some writers might start off with, “And there I was, on a Greyhound bus to Manchester. Off to work on my first presidential campaign.”
But I don’t want to do that, instead, I want you to understand what had gotten me to this point. I was born the same year that Clinton got elected. 1992. But I never really remember hearing people talk a lot about Clinton, I can’t even say that in my first eight years of life I knew that our president was Clinton or that we even had a president. That’s all a little bit fussy. But I do remember having a good sense of who Bush was. This could be that because from the time I was eight until I was a sophomore in high school he was president.
Looking back on how I got involved in politics, I think now that it’s funny I ever got mixed up in electoral politics. Politicians always seem to be a part of the problem, not of the solution. My interest in politics was really inspired heavily by my initial reading of the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, mixed of course with George Orwell’s 1984. All of this was wrapped up in my admiration for the intellectual, counter-culture movement of the Hippies in the 1960’s. The ir method was to infiltrate the system. If what we have in now are a bunch of Berkeley graduates, Woodstock attendees, former inhabitants of Haight-Ashbury and Flower Children, then I conclude that one thing must be very true, “Power corrupts and Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.”
And if I look at the two books mentioned above, it doesn’t seem that it’s a matter of trying to change the system from the inside. Winston and Jill (?) tried and failed to change the system from the inside, and the whole concept in Ishmael is that we each must learn to free ourselves from the grip of Mother - Culture. Her incessant whispering turns us into unquestioning clones. We ask no questions, seek no answers. Accept truths that have no truth to them. If the authority tells us that it is true, it must be true, if the authority tells us it is false, then it must be false.
I was never prone to living that way. My dad had raised me using some very interesting methods. When I asked him a question he would never admit he didn’t know, he would make something up, or sometimes he would know and he’d intentionally lie anyway. He admitted this later and said it was to get me to look things up. I grew up with an encyclopedia in my lap and a pencil in my hand. I learned to be self-sufficient in finding answers, and it got to the point where I couldn’t just scratch the surface, I had to excavate the entire site. Reading these two books only solidified what my dad, and probably a bit of biology, had already started. And were it not for this curiosity, this inability to be satisfied with any amount of information anyone else gave me, I would have never stumbled upon Governor Buddy Roemer, the candidate I was going up to Manchester to support, the candidate I still do support and will continue to support through to the very end.
The 2010 General ‘Midterm’ Election wrapped up in November of 2010. By March of 2011, five months later, I was already looking at presidential candidates, and there were probably already 50 filed with the FEC at this point. On March 3rd, 2011 Governor Roemer announced that he was forming an exploratory committee. I’m not sure who all was in at this point, but I knew I wasn’t settled on a candidate. I couldn’t tell you when exactly I did settle on a candidate, but I think it was between the first debate on May 5th and the beginning of June. I did not come to Governor Buddy Roemer first. Actually I was more interested in another Governor, Governor Gary Johnson from New Mexico. I was so excited about this guy. He was going to end all war, shut down all embassies, he had private and public sector experience, he was an athlete who’d climbed Mount Everest, he was going to liberally move forward on drugs, saying that by ending the War on Drugs we would save money and lives, and he was going to liberally move forward on LGBTQIAP rights. But as the summer progressed, I realized that all that glittered wasn’t gold. So somewhere between September 18th and October 13th I stopped being a Gary Johnson supporter and started supporting Governor Roemer. I stopped supporting Governor Johnson because he’s an apologist for Wal-Mart who thinks that the corporation saved rural America. He also believes that they don’t intentionally use child, slave or sweatshop labor. I figured I could learn to like the Fairtax, but I would NEVER learn to like that. I was furious, and in a couple of blog posts, I walked away.
So I spent the next month ‘In the desert,’ as it were. I was lost, without a candidate or a movement to cling to. Still blogging and still tweeting, still trying to figure out who I was and how I was going to protest everything that fed the fire in my belly. And by October 13th, it seems, I had arrived whole heartedly at Buddy Roemer, the anti-corruption candidate who was sympathetic with Occupy Wall Street and who didn’t take any big corporate money. If someone accused me of having a thing for underdogs, I’d have a hard time debating against the accusation, but it seems that in this particular situation an underdog is set up because they don’t have the right beliefs or the right financial backers.
So when Dan Dubrule, a volunteer coordinator for the Roemer campaign, offered to pay for me to ride up in a Greyhound to volunteer for the campaign, I jumped at the opportunity. On December 2nd, 2011 at 2:30 my bus pulled up, I got out of my dad’s white Chevy S-10 and I walked over to the Greyhound. The greatest experience/adventure of my life to date was about to begin and as I got on the Greyhound the only thing I could think was, “Where am I going to sit!”
"Those that dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their mind, wake in the day to find that all was vanity, but the dreamers of the day, are dangerous men, for they may act out their dreams and make them real."