A little over a year ago, I was lead to turn off all TV news and limit my talk radio listening during the day in favor of reading books, internet blogs and other related sites in addition to the Bible. I read liberal, conservative, libertarian and progressive materials so that I could obtain an understanding of all sides of social, economic, cultural and political topics.
In December of 2012, I believe I was lead to begin a journey of exploring a possible run for Congress or at least a journey to discover people’s views on the current state of affairs in this naiton. In the span of 7 months, I met with 59 different individuals (some of those 2 and 3 times) regarding this journey. Among those I met with were sitting and former state office holders, present and former republican committee people, friends, family members, acquaintances, relatives, coworkers, and my pastors. Although surreal at the beginning, these conversations became more meaningful to me as time went on because they gave me an opportunity to share my Christian faith and my political beliefs, to ascertain people's perspectives of today's society as well as to examine my inner self.
To give you a little insight into those conversations, below I list what I learned about myself, politics in Lancaster County, what this country needs now, and my potential run for political office:
• In Lancaster County politics, and I'm sure as in other parts of the nation, you are selected for office and not elected. The only election that takes place is schmoozing the 200 plus committee members of the local GOP. I was told repeatedly that I would do myself a disservice if I ran against the party's wishes and/or if I ran without the party's endorsement. I learned that the county GOP only wants candidates they deem worthy and not the general populous. I heard that my time would come only after I worked my way up in their "queue" system. Since I never donated to the GOP or even bought a GOP barbecue ticket, I was urged to not even try. I reached out to numerous sitting committee members to discuss ways the GOP could become more involved in the local communities. The GOP needs to touch people's lives before they try and win votes. Off the record, some were happy that I wanted to serve the public; however, since I was not part of the chosen class, it would be like climbing Mt. Everest with no hiking equipment.
• Most of the 59 that I talked to concurred with me that our country has moved far from its roots as a republic. The federal government is so large and consuming that a small amount of elected and non-elected (the bureaucracy) officials actually control our lives through taxes, regulations, domestic spying and other senseless laws that the framers never intended to be passed. Bottom line – leave us alone.
• I was flattered to hear from almost everyone that my demeanor, intellect, beliefs and understanding of today's political climate are on point and would resonate with voters.
• The fact that I am a political outsider may be of an advantage. Or not.
• I would need to raise a half a million dollars in order to be a serious candidate.
• The current political party system favors incumbents in such areas as money raising and gaining nominating petition signatures, especially those independents and members of a third party.
• My committee involvement in the upcoming Zombie Run in Lititz would be a detriment to my candidacy, especially here in Bible country.
• The county GOP as well as those surrounding the sitting Congressman has, in some respects, already anointed the sitting Congressman's successor.
• Washington, DC is corrupt as is politics in general. Even if I would become elected to serve in Washington, most said that I would have to be on guard 100% of the time as to not become beholden to the existing moral decay that is Washington, DC.
• Change in Washington and this country does not happen by electing more conservatives or democrats or republicans. It is only through the changing of the hearts of people that this country's morals and less governmental intrusion into our lives begins to swing in the other direction.
• Listen first. Talk later. Be kind.
• Service to people is my calling -- taking credit for successes, is not.
• Americans need to rely on Jesus and become more like Him. Jesus came to serve His fellow man. We need to do the same.
(Part 2 on Thursday.)