And then there were two, well, just under two weeks left in California’s special gubernatorial recall election. There are good things happening and bad things, as well. As a recall candidate, I’m also starting to take stock and look ahead.
Let’s start on the bright side. “Erin,” a very young lady, wrote to say “Dear Mr. Hanink, I am doing a school project. How will you fix California?” This inquiry came with three smiley faces and lots of stickers. Here’s my response: “Dear Erin, I can’t fix California. That’s a job that will take many teams of people. The teams will have to work together. I hope that you will join one of them. Yours truly, etc.”
And one day last week I had a call from Julia Wick of the LA Times. She confessed that she was tired of writing the same old story, aka, the mainstream narrative, about the recall. What she was interested in was along the lines of a day in the life of a (minor) candidate. Since I’m a philosopher, I told her that this very day I had been thinking about the convergence of philosophies that gave rise to the American Solidarity Party. After twenty minutes or so, she said she wasn’t sure her editors were interested in that sort of thing. My message to her: “Buck up! The second oldest war in the world is the one between writers and editors.”
Now to the dark side. There’s a lively electronic venue called “My Neighborhood.” There has been a blizzard of posts about the special election. From time to time I chime in to (re)introduce myself and the American Solidarity Party. My last respondent said that our platform reminded him of the Taliban. For his part, he’d have no truck with “theocracy.” Ever the diplomat, I answered that if we are theocrats, then so was Martin Luther King, Jr. If I hear back from, I’ll raise the question of just what’s permissible in the Public Square. Maybe he’ll tell me to go tweet.
As far as taking stock and looking ahead, I am in debt to the Michigan ASP. These good folks invited me to a Zoom session to talk about the campaign and my thoughts about running for office. I shared with them that I am a neophyte in the world of electoral politics. But I said that my upstart campaign has enabled me to spread the message of our Party to Californians who had never heard it. Yes, that’s most Californians. And when my Michigan friends start their own campaigns, I wage that they will find that the same is true for most Michiganians. I also shared with them that my campaign has taught me that preparation counts, having some money is great, and stage fright can be managed…if one has the right campaign managers.
Note well: I didn’t tell them “if you start your own campaigns.” I said, “when you start your own campaigns” and added that local campaigns are actually more important than state-wide efforts. After all, we believe in subsidiarity! Grass roots first. All politics are local, right?
But begin we must. Our vision is of paramount importance. Our country is in a dark place, indeed. Personally I have no objection to cursing the darkness, so long as I’m helping to light a candle.
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Jim Hanink is an independent scholar, albeit more independent than scholarly.