Sometime in early 2009 I became disillusioned with the political theatre on perpetual display in America. In particular, the hysteria caused by TWO parties, TWO candidates, and TWO campaigns in the build up to the election of the President of The United States (POTUS) every four years. Truth be told, for the previous decade I had enjoyed the show and gladly participated in it. Early on I even bought into one side’s message wholeheartedly. But a chasm grew during that decade between two ideologies which I will, for easy consumption, label conservative and liberal. The American electorate appeared to be more divided than ever and the election of 2008 seemed a sober testament. I found myself opposed to tenets on both sides but, as I had obediently done in prior elections, pushed them to the back of my mind so I could focus on the topics the candidates were focused on. After all, I was at the mercy of their agendas along with the framing of them by a leviathan mouthpiece apparatus: The Media. An entity with which I had absolutely zero influence as an average voter. My disillusionment ultimately made me question how and why voters bought into either side’s platform, along with the process by which those platforms were sold to us.
I reacted in the way I usually do when I’m trying to figure something out – I read. I started at ground zero with our country’s founding documents. Quite different to read those as an informed adult instead of an oblivious child the way most of us do in secondary school. I followed them with personal works by our Founders themselves. Then with material that inspired them. Next came Presidential biographies. Eventually came the works of contemporary black sheep like Ron Paul, someone who is routinely marginalized by controlling interests (read: TWO parties and leviathan media) yet roundly embraced by moderate voters as a voice of reason. Along the way I re-discovered the works of John Locke, ideological progenitor to the American experiment. I was so inspired by his ideas that I convinced my wife (God bless her) to name our first-born son after him. It was he who inspired Thomas Jefferson’s “certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. And at some point in 2010 after much literary ingestion, I revised my worldview. My political beliefs were razed and reconstructed with sound material. The modern process by which our President was (s)elected looked absurd to say the least. I was compelled to reject that process, the TWO parties, and all of the bullshit. Replacing it all was a determination to square my new worldview with the tilted edifice surrounding me. As I recalled the letter and spirit of our nation’s founding, I felt empowered to place myself within said edifice. Not to support it, but to level it in however small-scale I could. Even if the result was visible and satisfying to me alone.
I wondered why I couldn’t run for President. I wondered why, for that matter, any constitutionally qualified citizen couldn’t run themselves. I found no good answers then and I find none today. If our political state of affairs is as complex and nonsensical as it appears, then how can it be fixed? On whom can we rely to fix it? As long as we voters support the status quo, can we reasonably expect anything to change? Are we voters as polarized as election results indicate? Or does it just appear that way because a wilderness of differing opinion is ominously funneled into a simple A/B choice every four years? The answers and solutions, in my mind, rest with individuals: Me. You. Us. Remember that The Republic our Founders gave us depends on a rugged individualism, expressed on as small a scale as single citizens and as large a scale as an entire nation. That scalable trait is what earned our independence, lest we forget.
So in my own small corner of this vast sphere, I’m restoring my political sanity by attempting to run for President. I realize dear reader that ‘sanity’ is seldom a term attached to such an endeavor. I’m also not so stupid to believe I actually have a chance of winning within the dysfunctional system in place, but that’s not the point. The point is to reject the collectivist nonsense I’m coerced by every four years in favor of something far more simple and principled. To never again cast a vote for a candidate, party, or process that doesn’t represent me or make sense. To regain the power I’ve naively conceded as a voter. Somehow the concept of running by and for myself makes perfect sense. Who better to represent my precise political beliefs than me?! Who better to represent yours than you?! To some, ESPECIALLY to those satisfied with the status quo, this concept is ridiculous and threatening. But I’m certain that it would bring a smile to the face of any one of our Founders if they were alive, for it is exactly what they intended for a government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people.
The POTUS Project will navigate our dysfunctional system and illuminate that which is obscured or otherwise unknown to the average voter. For instance, does a candidate really need tens of millions of dollars in their war chest to run? Behind the fundraising, sound bites, speeches & crafted imagery, what does a campaign actually do to legally qualify their candidate? These are but two of many questions I have. And the best way for me to answer them while conducting myself in accordance with all of the above is to run as a candidate. I invite you to follow my progress through my blog and official Twitter account @sterner2016.
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now”. – Goethe