Looking back, this David vs Goliath fight I’m engaged in is a bit of a Cinderfella story – kid from the hood makes good. And no matter how you view me when it’s over, this is the fight I’ve been itching for my whole life. If you were to ask most people who knew me when I was a child, they would tell you that I was destined to spend most of my life trying to get out of the big house rather than into the White House. The precocious, undiagnosed ADHD son of a single mother growing up in the 1970s, in less than desirable neighborhoods, I found a lot of ways to get in trouble and trouble found a lot of ways to get into me.
Through early, physical, and emotional abuse so common among latchkey kids of that time period, I grew tough, I grew angry, I grew defiant, and I grew strong! I was just smart enough to keep ahead of the law and just stubborn enough that life had to beat me back with everything it had. Some might say it still finally just gave up and let me be myself.
A poor kid in a home that valued education, my mother shucked and jived to get me into the best public schools despite that it sometimes meant taking public transportation or walking as many as 3 miles (alone) to school – a place I was often suspended from for various reasons, most often for sticking to my guns. I was a terrible student. Frankly, the work bored me and I learned faster than they knew how to handle back then. That lead to a lot of opportunities for me to get used to fighting bullies – usually kids with good grades from semi affluent families who took great joy in trying to play whack-o-mole with a mouthy poor kid whose clothes reeked of an American brand of poverty.
More often than not, they got away with it, and any punishment handed down was handed down to me. I had it rough, to be sure, but compared to some kids, I always knew that no matter how little we had, we were always also rich: Outside of school, in my neighborhood and through church projects usually lead by my mother. (Think of the weirdly cool missionary lady with the wild hair and beat up old car full of canned goods for homeless people that seems to show up somewhere in every church and you’ll have a sense of the woman who raised me) I learned what real poverty looked like – as neighborhoods turned from black to Latino to Asian refugees, and families of 7 or more shared one bedroom apartments and lived on far less than we did.
I saw it in shanty towns in Mexico built of cardboard and old blankets. I saw it in in the eyes of refugees coming into airports who sometimes saw me before their feet even officially touched our soil. We didn’t have much by American standards, but we were exceedingly wealthy.
As I moved into adulthood, I continued to make my fair share of mistakes, trying my hand at a variety of careers ranging from sales, to landscaping, to construction, and retail, internet technology, writing, and truck driving. I learned the value of hard work, and I got my head handed to me a few times in business. I never bankrupted a casino, but I definitely messed up my share of businesses and hurt more than a few people (including myself) in the process. I was a liar, a cheater (in my first marriage) a self-serving survivalist who life offered more than anyone’s fair share of grace and second chances. Eventually, upon the conclusion of my 3rd marriage, all of the lessons life had spent trying to drill into me for so long finally got a proper hold on me, and left me choosing to make my outer life as homeless as my soul so we could find home together.
I moved into an old, leaky, smelly Ford Econoline Motor Home and lived in a Wal-mart parking lot in BC Canada for a year. During that year, in a very public way, I blogged away my life of unpacked baggage, and finally let it go. I found peace, grieved that which required grief, smoked a lot of weed, and most importantly, I fell absolutely head over heels in love – with the truth.
It is what finally did, indeed set me free and unleashed my potential. I count it as a personal honor that by the time I found myself angry with the 2016 election, it was my ex-wife – the mother of my two step-daughters who first said, “It’s your time. Go beat him. You should run for president.”
Maybe someday I will write a book on my life, if it amounts to something people want to read. It’s hard to capture in a bio of this nature, but suffice to say this: My resume is anything but presidential – in the traditional sense. There’s a reason, however, that I refer to myself as “nobody from nowhere.” It’s not that I believe that. It’s that in some fashion it will be the only substantive objection other than my sexuality (which may be fun for some to throw at me, but which is certainly nobody’s business but my own in a land where liberty is our birthright) which anyone can throw at me.
They’ll say I don’t have the experience and that I simply have not done anything. I know from the outset that will be their mantra, and I answer them with the same defiance I did to teachers and principals who underestimated me – the defiance that taught more than anyone’s fair share of bullies that I was not to be trifled with: You see, what they mean when they say “experience” is that I lack their brand of experience. I never learned to be elite.
Where has their elitism gotten us? I don’t have their experience for sure, but I’d take every one my experiences over again – every failure, every assault, every beating and every ounce of disappointment ten times over to go into office with my experience rather than theirs. Politics is supposed to be about the little guy. Our nation is only as great as our care and aid for the most destitute of our outdoor neighbors. History does not regard as “great” those who were rich or mighty. It regards as “great” those who sacrificed themselves for the good of many. It does not reward those who collected much but rather those who contributed everything.
As we build our own legacy as people and as a nation, we would do well to bear that in mind. In the old days of mining, the miners used to bring a canary into the mine with them to alert them if they ran out of breathable air. If the canary fell over dead, it was time to get out of the mine – and fast. My experience that so many opponents will no doubt wish to deride will serve our nation well.
I know what it’s like to have to choose between groceries and electricity. I know what it’s like to come home from work dirty, in desperate need of a shower and then to go to sleep before stepping into that shower, collapsing into my own filth because I just don’t have the energy to stand for even one more second. I know what it’s like to give up basic things for myself so my children can have supper. I know what it’s like both to be the giver and the receiver of Christmas hampers designated for the poor.
The White House isn’t about governing. It’s about presiding over those who govern. As President, it will be my job, in part, to serve the same purpose as the canary in the mine – to see the sometimes fatal implications for hard-working Americans of certain paths of governing which may, to rich elitists seem some benefit, but which will to the “least of these” spell suffering – or possibly even death. I’m not in many ways, according to my resume, qualified to be your president (despite that the constitution says otherwise) except for one thing: In 2020, So far as I can see right now, despite a likely huge field of ivy-leaguer, privileged elitists, I’ll be the only one standing there with the qualifications and relevant life-experience to serve the needs and interests of the people Government most exists to serve.
So, I am the only one in 2020 even remotely qualified to be your President. I look forward to making you proud. This land belongs to the people. Let’s show the world what we the people are really made of. It is time for a working class revolution lead by an honest-to-goodness member of the working class. Yeah. That’s right. I’m a nobody from nowhere – “just a truck driver,” and I deliver!