Why is it so shocking that a man of 101 years of age believes now is the time to run for Congress? I know that many think I must be nuts to put myself out in the public for political purposes, but I believe I should become directly involved as a candidate for Congress.
I trust and hope that people will come to realize that liberty and democracy demand all of our attention, young and old. As Abigail Adams once wrote, "Wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues."
At 101, my "fruit of experience" far surpasses everyone else in this Congressional race. Great necessities indeed call out for solutions, and my involvement is not intended to be limited to just me personally, but instead is intended to inspire citizens of all ages and walks of life to get involved, get engaged, and to become active patriot leaders. American society and democracy demand it. So I ask myself, before I expect others to step up and run for office, perhaps I must instead lead the way.
Like most Americans, I am deeply saddened when I hear people claim that our government can no longer be trusted and that despite our best efforts, our voices no longer matter. I submit to you that the system of government created by the Framers of the Constitution is sound. Our uniquely American system of government is not the problem.
Instead, the problem is the people we elect to serve as our representatives in our government. Although politicians have historically looked out for their own self-interests and engage in efforts to benefit those that give them financial support, the current climate since the Supreme Court decision of Citizens United v. FEC has led to previously unimaginable levels of financial influence. Money now buys elections instead of recognizable patriotic service.
Unlike the past, Americans can no longer rely on an impartial media dedicated to serve the traditional role as watchdogs of the government. Instead, Media now consists of "talking heads" determined to burnish the ideological theories of the existing political parties and their supporting special interests. We must therefore, demand that all citizens be heard. It is my goal to represent my constituents, putting them first and foremost ahead of the interests of any political party or interest group. At my age, there is no need to be corrupted by potential riches and opportunities offered by interest groups or parties. At my age, representing the people now rather than years down the road is what guides and forms my views on leadership.
As a member of Congress, I believe leadership by example will prove Congress belongs to the people and not to the special interests. As a member of Congress, I will send a clear message to all citizens that hope in our government is not lost and on the contrary, we as Americans will rise up to meet all the challenges in order to ensure the success of this great land we all know and love.
By my standing up, it is my desire that others similarly vested in true patriotic spirit, embrace the need to secure our democracy for all people and they too will become citizen candidates for high office, instead of the "professional politician." As mentioned, at 101 years of age, a natural term limit exists and I have no designs on a lengthy political career that requires me to sell out my ideals, my values, or my constituents for a potential future payoff.
America is a great nation, not only because of its geographic majesty, but because of the ideals embodied in all citizens. Like Shay's Rebellion leading up to the formation of our great Constitution, I believe it is time for every American to take an active role in how we elect our representatives to Congress and how we hold them directly accountable for their actions in Washington, D.C.
Yes, I am 101 years old. I have seen and heard a great deal in my lifetime. And I am now more than ever hopeful and confident that America will remain strong and vital, as long as citizens think first about their country and those that live within it.
As President John F. Kennedy famously once proclaimed,"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." I am answering this call. I ask for your support. I ask for your input. I ask that you too engage in the political process so that we may all, as Americans, believe and act under the collective banner of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
- Joe Newman