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Friday, April 28, 2006

Blogger for Congress: What I Have Learned

For those late to the game, I have been trying to decide whether or not to run for Congress against Cynthia McKinney over the past few weeks. Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that I cannot run at this point. I've had some extremely interesting conversations over the past few weeks and would like to share with my readers what I have learned.

Ballot Access is undemocratic in Georgia
I am pretty well disgusted by both political parties. The Republican Party has abandoned any semblance of conservative thought and seems to only care about staying in power for power's sake. The Democratic Party seems to have been given over to the Bush-Chimp-Hitler people who have lost their minds with madness. And the only other sizable third party option, the Libertarian Party, kills their own at any hint of ideological impurity.

Like many of you, I am sure, I feel like I am a man without a party. I hear that said so often. And it isn't just from an ideological perspective. Even on the rare occasions that I happen to agree with one of the major parties, they turn me off with such extreme rhetoric and demogoguery.

All that being said, I had determined that should I decide to run for Congress that I would do so as an Independent. But little did I realize that the Georgia Legislature has essentially banned independents from running for office, especially for Congressional seats. In 1943, the state passed a law that made getting on the ballot as an independent almost impossible. Those filing as either a Republican or Democrat simply need to pay a filing fee to get on the primary ballot. And if they win the primary or are unopposed, then they are automatically placed on the general election ballot. However, Independents have an extra step. Besides the filing fee, (which is about $4,800 for a Congressional race), they have to get a petition signed by 5% of the registered voters in their district. In the 4th District of Georgia, this would mean getting over 15,000 signatures.

I've had some people say that while difficult this isn't impossible. I would agree. Yet it has never happened.

So one of the things that is going to come out of my recent foray into politics is to start advocating for equitable ballot access. If you are in the state legislature here in Georgia, you can expect to hear from me in the coming year. And my question will be, "What are you afraid of?"

The Power of the Blogosphere
I am not content to simply write my opinions here on this blog. I am all about putting my money where my mouth is. And I am not alone.

I am amazed at the amount of people who have visited this blog over the past few weeks and who were willing to donate large sums of money to me. I have had over 25,000 visitors here and had thousands of dollars offered should I run against Cynthia McKinney.

The day is going to come where a blogger actually files as a candidate and runs for public office. I am hoping that I will be that first one. Because the blogosphere has the ability to completely change politics, and I believe for the good.

The blogosphere can level the playing field for someone like myself without deep pockets. I was able to garner pretty decent media coverage and that was without even filing as a candidate. I told a number of people that if I had decided to run and was somehow able to get on the ballot as an Independent that it would make national news. I truly believe that and hope to prove it someday.

Politics as Usual
I have discovered that many people doubt that we can get beyond politics as usual. I was told the following truisms:

1. A white man can never win in the 4th District.
2. An Independent cannot get on the ballot for a Congressional race in Georgia.
3. You must be either wealthy or a career politician to get elected.

These were just a few truisms shared with me by many people. They have good reason for believing these things. But I reject them.

This belief that certain districts are set aside for someone black or someone white should be anathema after the Civil Rights movement. Do we really want to live in a country where a qualified black woman can't get elected in a majority white district? Do we want to live in a country where a qualified white man can't get elected in a majority black district?

McKinney Must Go
I am even more convinced that Cynthia McKinney is the most ineffective member of Congress. I have heard countless stories of her lack of concern for even her supporters. Hear me loud and clear: McKinney is bad not because of her political leanings. Cynthia McKinney is bad because she is one of the greatest hypocrites of all time. She claims to stand for the poor and oppressed yet does absolutely nothing for them in her own district.

In spite of the wonderful fact that a black woman can easily be elected to Congress from a Southern state, McKinney is a disgrace.

While I am not going to officially run against McKinney, she is going to have to deal with me one way or another. This blog is going to become the best source for truth about her ineffectiveness. And McKinney is going to see me on the campaign trail.

Friends
Finally, I have discovered that I have the greatest friends in the world. By that, I mean that my friends are better friends than yours are. :)

To a man, my closest friends have said all along that they would give money and tons of their time to help me in a campaign. This also includes quite a few guys that didn't think I had any chance at all. Nevertheless, they were willing to go to battle with me.

Ultimately, the biggest reason I have decided to not run this time around is because of my friends. I cannot in good conscience take their money and their time for an impossible task. The day will come when I will ask my friends to step up to the plate again for something like this. But next time I will be better prepared and put myself in a better position.

What Next?
This blog is going to continue to be a place for intelligent conversation. I encourage those of you who have found this blog over the past month to continue coming back to join our discussion. I want to prove that a blog that rejects outlandish rhetoric can be successful.

And I am going to continue seeking opportunities to act on my convictions. I am not content to sit back and opine on the day's events.

And I encourage you to engage me. Not just in the comments section. Please email me. Let me know that there are others out there not willing to live with the status quo.

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