Well, are not all political campaigns performances? That doesn’t mean they are not serious. My performances often start with something seemingly trivial then grow by themselves very quickly into forces unto themselves. The campaign started with a t-shirt of The Three Stooges. Michael [“Mikee”] LaBash, who is one of six people I live with in a tribal relationship and who is our graphic/web designer, had a CURLY FOR PRESIDENT t-shirt. For Christmas 2006 Mikee made me a FRANK MOORE FOR PRESIDENT shirt. When I wore it, people started asking me what my platform was. So I wrote a platform up. Everybody who read it got excited, overflowed with hope, saying it expressed what they felt and wanted. They didn’t see a performance artist in a wheelchair. They didn’t check the odds of my winning. Instead they saw someone who they could excitedly vote for… somebody who shared their dreams, who talked deeply about what really affects their lives. Their reactions placed on me a responsibility to mount a serious campaign, to commit and surrender to it…and to hang on no matter where this ride would go. I never know where a performance or a project will evolve.
In one of my speeches from the campaign I said that I started running basically because none of the prominent candidates were talking honestly and directly about the state of things, were committed to fundamental change, and had a clear plan to create a humane, sustainable, and just plain enjoyable society. So I took on that role. My running for President created an excitement for how possible it is to bring our dreams for our society into reality… to remove fear and isolation; to get the boot of big corporations off our neck; to provide everyone health care, life-long education, a minimum income, and a livable wage; to restore our rights and freedoms; and to bring our troops home! We everyday people know the real state of the union! But more importantly, we have the sense of what is possible! We need leaders who share our dreams and who do not sell us short. Or sell us out!
This excitement extended overseas, and we received much more coverage of the campaign in Europe than we did locally, although there were a handful of great interviews and articles about the campaign here in the U.S.. In Europe, there were great articles written about the campaign in France, Germany, Poland and the UK, and an appearance on Swedish TV!
We did many local events and attended many different local festivals during the over two years that I ran for President, and they were some of the most effective pieces I have ever done … Here is what I wrote about the campaign coming to the “How Berkeley Can You Be” Parade in September of 2007:
“The whole day blew me out. Linda and Mikee took turns pushing my chair close to the lines of people along the parade route so I could shake hands, look into people’s eyes, hear their responses, interact one on one…all of which would have been impossible if I sat on a truck. I was moved when people thanked me for running, when whole sections started clapping and chanting “GO, FRANK, GO!” Erika, Corey, Alexi, and sometimes Linda or Mikee gave out over 1,200 copies of the platform. And people didn’t throw it away as is common, but started reading it, shouting out planks they were moved by. I can see that “pressing the flesh” can be addicting! And a lot of people are devoted viewers of the public access shows of Suzy and mine. “I WATCH YOU EVERY NIGHT!” “WE TIVO YOU!” “I LEARN FROM WATCHING YOUR SHOWS!”
Camping out in our beautiful booth, which we put up for most of these events and festivals, was only slightly less intense. We were a visual magnet, decked out with banners, t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, peace flags and platforms. And people got the tribal body that the 6 of us are together!
Here is a selection of 10 of my “planks”:
-- We will have universal prenatal-to-the-grave health care and universal free education with equal access.
-- Every American will receive a minimum income of $1,000 a month. This amount will be tied to the cost of living and will not be taxable.
-- Public mass transit will be free, 24/7, and reliable.
-- I will encourage a society of small villages connected by mass transit. Within these small villages, people could walk or bike to work, to school, to shopping, to entertainment, etc. Mass transit will combine these small villages within 15 miles radius into dynamic communities. Living in these villages will end gridlock traffic, will cut greenhouse gasses, will cut stress and isolation. Housing for all incomes will be included equally in each village.
-- I’ll do away with all tax deductions for over $12,000 income. Instead, there will be a flat tax of 10% on annual income of less than one million dollars for an individual and less than five million dollars for a corporation. But the flat tax will jump to 75% on annual income exceeding these limits.
-- I’ll cut the military budget by at least half.
-- I will bring the troops home from Iraq immediately. Moreover, I will change this country’s self-image from that of THE SUPER POWER/ WORLD LEADER to that of a member of the global community.
-- The use of drugs should be legalized and taxed. Pot and spirits should be sold over the counter to adults only. Tobacco and other addictive drugs should be sold by prescription only. Free drug rehab programs should be readily available.
-- Prisons should be only for violent or otherwise dangerous criminals. Prisons should be a part of the health and educational system and should include drug rehab programs. This should also be true for the new creative in-community programs for non-violent criminals for paying-back, rehab, and education sentencing. These programs will be more effective and much less expensive and harmful to the community on every level than the current human warehouse system. Flexibility of sentencing should to be returned to judges. I will ban the death penalty.
-- Every corporation should come up for a renewal every 25 years, at which time it must prove that it has been operating in the public interest. If it fails to do this, it loses its right to exist. Corporations that have existed before this policy will have 10 years before they will have to prove they are worthy.
By the “official” count, I received a handful of votes, spread across a number of states, Maryland, Illinois, Kansas, Georgia, Utah, West Virginia, and of course California. But the “official” count for write-in candidates is always just a small part of the picture, because so many of the states that actually accept write-in candidates for President will never actually count or record the votes unless the number of votes becomes large enough to contend with the “major” candidates. For instance, we know directly that I received votes in New York, but there were 0 votes counted for me in NY.
The campaign also had a direct effect on the electoral process for write-in Presidential candidates in a number of states. We not only forced several states' elections divisions to learn their own system, we also challenged and/or changed procedures and requirements in other states both before and after the election. In states like Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Nebraska and others, the campaign had the effect of familiarizing elections officers with their own procedures, which they did not know before the campaign contacted them! We did all this with a lot of help from elections expert Richard Winger, who was an early fan of my campaign.
In Arkansas, the campaign challenged the Elections Department's stand that "Write-in candidates are not allowed in presidential, municipal, or primary elections."
In Pennsylvania, the campaign got an elections official to admit that Pennsylvania's system for write-in Presidential candidates is "archaic and not good".
In Wyoming, the Secretary of State's Elections office actually did not know what the procedure was for a write-in candidate for President in Wyoming. The representative there asked, "What does this say about our country, and this democracy" that she didn't know how this can work in Wyoming, and that they were not set up for a candidate outside of the political machines ... She said that she should be the person to know, if anyone knew. She said, "But I am going to find out! And I'm going to call you!" In the end, the elections office in Wyoming refined their system through this correspondence.
In Utah, we got the office of the Lieutenant Governor to correct their own Elections office, which was giving out false information about the process of becoming a write-in candidate for President. It turned out to be much cheaper and simpler than they were telling us!
In Minnesota, we challenged their rejection of my candidacy because my Vice-Presidential running mate, Dr. Susan Block, and I were both from California. This was wrong! And we won, I was accepted!
For much much more information about the campaign, with great photos and video from the various events, visit: http://www.frankmooreforpresident08.com/index.html
For more on his platform visit Candidate Frank Moore’s Blog