Gimme a Break – I’m not a Politician!
My passion and conviction sometimes combine to make me argumentative. To you sincere and thoughtful Donald Trump supporters, I apologize if I come across as too aggressive. On the other hand, I hope you don't take it too personally. Hell, I do the same thing with people who AGREE with me!
You know by now that I am not a politician and that I will never tell you what you want to hear just to impress you and maybe trick you into voting for me. And while I do not believe that 100% honesty is possible for a human, I will not back down in my belief that we can and must demand better than what we have come to expect from our political leaders,
One important way in which I am different is that I am willing to give credit to my opponent when it is due and to be outspokenly critical of my own side when it is conversely warranted. I believe this represents a crucial starting point for all of us who seek a real and meaningful change in the way our country works.
Yes, I have been a vocal critic of President Trump, especially with respect to his undignified behavior and his undeniable dishonesty. Character and trustworthiness matter - a lot. However, I have also let it be know when I agree with him. Although I may differ on details - some big, some small - I have publicly agreed with him on tax cuts, on securing our borders, and on the fight against ISIS. Hell, I even reacted positively to his Space Force idea (not Star Wars, but simply a means of protecting our vital assets in space).
Most of you have responded very positively to this unconventional approach to politics and my campaign for President. You may be surprised, however, at the resistance to this sort of common sense that exists among us. Just this morning I found myself engaged in a heated Twitter debate (I can't tell you how much I hate Twitter) with a Trump resister. Just think about that - I'm running against Trump and arguing with someone who doesn't like him!
The issue was this business of the Russians interfering in our elections, and I reiterated my view that they clearly did so but that I don't believe that Trump 'colluded' with them in a legal sense. In other words, he and his team didn't have some grand scheme to plot out a strategy for the Russians to hack the Democrats, make millions of fake social media accounts and try to swing the election in his favor by influencing the public with their fake news. The Russians certainly did that, but they didn't need Trump's involvement. Frankly, I don't believe Trump is smart enough to pull something like that off. Still, I explained, I believe Trump is complicit in the bigger mess in the way he denies it even happened and in his far-too-submissive approach to dealing with Putin.
The reaction? Well apparently, after all of that, I am an "apologist for Trump" because I don't believe strongly enough that he is a "Russian asset".
When I first decided to take on this crazy challenge of running for President as a regular American citizen candidate, I told my family and friends that proof of my sincerity would be my ability to piss off people on BOTH sides. Obviously, that is not what you would call a conventionally smart political strategy.
And that is precisely the point!
How long have most of us complained about politics and politicians in America? How long?! And for how much longer will we be willing to accept that "all politicians lie", telling us what we want to hear as they abuse us and take advantage of us? When exactly will we wake up and realize that we are our own worst enemies, having long bought in to the establishment myth that, as nice as it sounds, regular Americans can't win, that the best we can hope for is a benevolent billionaire who is really good at pretending he is one of us but who could never in a million years have the slightest clue about what life in America is really like for most of us?
Do me a favor - If you care as much as you say you do, think about what really matters and keep your mind open to the possibilities. When you hear someone say that a regular American citizen like me can never win or when you are inclined to think it yourself, remind them and yourself that our country was made for precisely this purpose. And if that's not enough and you prefer a more practical thought, just remember that all the experts said Donald Trump didn't have a snowball's chance either.
Here's my bottom line: If you want to believe that America is still a nation of the people, by the people and for the people, then join our cause and convince others to come along too. If you are simply unable to believe that anymore because the establishment has killed it in you, then I am sorry for your loss, but I promise, nonetheless, to do everything in my power to show you this part of America's true greatness so that one day soon you can believe in it again.
Without a doubt, most people would like to have a President who is a regular American citizen - the way it was supposed to be in the beginning - as opposed to a professional politician or wealthy celebrity. However, most people also do not believe it is possible. Why is that?
Simple. Elites in the establishment have conditioned us for generations to believe that only they can handle the most critical leadership positions in our society. They'll let us sit on school boards and small town city councils, sure, and every once in a while one of us will sneak past them and into the Congress. But President? Hell no!
The fancy explanation involves some sort of pseudo-psychology, but most of us just say we have become sheep. We want the one thing, but we deny it to ourselves and we don't even really know why. Yes, we rationalize that regular Americans with little financial resources just can't compete. We tell ourselves that a person without a famous name simply cannot be known to enough voters to win. We complain that the media will never take a 'nobody' seriously, so what's the point of even trying?
In short, we defeat ourselves.
I never thought I'd say this, but thank God for social media!
Thanks to social media those excuses no longer work. Thanks to social media, a regular American citizen can be elected President of the United States.
If we are truly sick of the mess created by establishment elites, then now is the time to stand up and do something about it. Even if you like Donald Trump, this is our opportunity to take that next step toward regular Americans reclaiming our country and our power.
We should never stop striving to improve our lives, always working to be better tomorrow than we are today. Continuing down this path of better citizen representation in government is a natural part of this approach.
So what's stopping us? Nothing but our own disbelief. We still just don't believe it. Sadly, we don't believe in ourselves.
My campaign for President is all about changing that. It is built on a firm belief and faith in the American people. A belief that we can do anything we set our collective minds to.
We can do this! We can win! We need only believe we can.
It's our turn. We can make the changes we want, and we don't need the elite establishment of professional politicians, corrupt media and wealthy celebrities to tell us what to do. All we need to do is believe in ourselves and then act accordingly.
We can and will win this election. Believe it!
One of Us for All of Us
Life is funny. Sometimes, it calls us into action in the most unexpected ways at the most inconvenient of times. We don’t always recognize these moments and, even when we do, we too often ignore that call.
I’ve made that mistake. I’ve ignored the persistent voice telling me I have something to give, important work to do, a difference to make. I’ve made every excuse that could be made - Others are better suited; I’m too busy with more pressing matters; I can’t afford it; I’ll come back to it later when I’m more prepared. Always later.
That ends today.
Today, I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.
America is a nation in desperate need of strong, bold, smart leadership, and I believe I have that sort of leadership to give. While some are excited at the upending of our traditional politics with the election of a very different kind of President, it is important that we make a clear distinction between “different” and “better”.
Donald Trump is not the better leader we need – in fact, he is an embarrassment and a national disgrace. Furthermore, he is utterly incapable of relating to the lives most of us lead. And while saying (or tweeting) whatever jumps to mind may be considered a form of refreshing political incorrectness, the fact that those utterances are so often ridiculous, wrong and fantastically stupid should constantly remind us that we can do so much better. Is it too much to expect that America should have a President who is politically incorrect AND intelligent when he speaks bluntly? Do we not deserve dignity from the Oval Office?
The Democrat and Republican Parties have let us down for far too long, and the election of 2016 reflected the end of our patience with their failure to provide genuine leaders worthy of our support. Let’s be honest, even for most of us who are generally pleased with the clear change brought about since then, our real victory was not the election of Donald Trump. Our real victory was the defeat of politics as usual and the message it sent to the establishment elites in politics, corporate America and Big Media that enough is enough. This is our country. Ours.
I am a regular guy from humble beginnings who can relate to regular Americans from all walks of life. I was blessed to grow up in a family that valued education, self-reliance and achievement while promoting the golden rule of treating others as we ourselves wish to be treated. My friends will tell you that I am considerate and respectful and that I am committed to doing what’s right as a simple matter of principle.
One thing I am not, however, is perfect, and you will never catch me pretending otherwise. I will not tell you what you want to hear but, rather, what I believe you need to hear, and I will not make grand promises that are impossible to keep.
Starting here and now and for the next three years, I will be engaging Americans all over our country with this simple question: Would you agree that we deserve better leadership?
To do that I will fully utilize social media, but I will also strive to meet in person as many of you as possible wherever you live, work and play. I hope you will accept my outreach and my mission in the spirit with which it is offered and that, together, we may move swiftly into our nation’s next chapter of self-government and citizen control of the public institutions upon which we rely to help make American life the best it can be.
Another important lesson of my upbringing was that each of us is called in life for a purpose unique to us and to our God-given talents. Sometimes that calling makes little sense to ourselves and even less to others and, as a result, we too often ignore it. At the same time, the path forward is nearly always filled with questions, doubt and uncertainty about where that calling will lead us should we choose to answer it.
Today I have chosen to answer my calling and offer my talents and leadership to the country I love. While my faith lends great confidence as to the successful outcome of this effort, today I promise you only that I will do my very best to listen to you, to understand your concerns, needs and desires, to fight for you with everything I have and to charge fearlessly ahead in pursuit of our shared, common sense vision for a better America.
I look forward to getting to know you, and I humbly ask for your support.
Is the Presidency Only for the Rich and Famous?
I am quickly coming to appreciate the conventional wisdom that regular Americans like me - with no money or famous name - can never rise to be President of the United States. The reason why is simple - regular Americans like me are too busy trying to earn an honest living.
Just try to imagine stepping away from your current job and throwing all your energy into a campaign for the Presidency. Trying to get people to know you and understand what you believe in is absolutely a full-time challenge. How long could you go without a regular income? How long before your household bills and other financial obligations caught up to you?
For most of us, the answer to these questions is, "not too long."
Since announcing my intent to seek the Presidency - believing idealistically as I do that America is ready for a regular American citizen to assume that position of leadership - I have committed all my savings and residual income from my small business into this mission, anticipating my ability to gradually grow an army of supporters who would eventually fund the campaign long-term with $20 donations. This is a core part of my genuine grassroots strategy to take back power from the rich and powerful establishment that has failed us.
As it turns out, however, this is not as easy as it sounds. As much as most of us will readily agree that we should not abandon our politics to the rich and famous, we undermine ourselves and those very beliefs by looking at idealistic candidates like me and immediately discounting our chances because we are "nobody" with no money. We withhold our full support - both financial and otherwise - because we fear wasting it on a hopeless cause, thereby creating a self-fulfilling-prophecy. And when people like me are given no chance by the very people who want people like me as our leaders, we doom ourselves to the very thing we spend so much time whining and complaining about - political leadership that neither understands nor truly cares about us.
So here's the question: Are we prepared to give up forever on an America where a regular American can be President?
We all complain and complain and complain about politics and politicians, but most of us never do anything about it, because we don't think we can. And so, the fault behind all our complaints ironically lies with us. We are our own worst enemies because we fail to act upon what it is that we say we want because we have convinced ourselves that we can't have it.
Well I call bullshit to that. Not only can we have the kind of President we really want and deserve, but we should have that, and the time is now. The only thing stopping us is us. All we need to do is believe in our own power and then take action. What sort of action, you ask? Simple - donate, promote, volunteer and vote. These are things all of us can easily do, and there can be no excuse when we don't and continue to get stuck with terrible leadership.
As I mentioned earlier, if everyone who supports the idea of a regular American as our next President gave us just $20, we would have way more than enough money to run our campaign and win. Think about it. For the mere cost of a few cups of coffee we can effectively reclaim power from the ultra-rich establishment.
Next, given the nature of social media in addition to old fashioned, in-person social networking, how hard is it really to share our posts and to tell everyone you know that they should check us out and get on board our effort to restore power to We the People? So promote our campaign every chance you get - I promise it will make a difference.
Third, volunteer. Believe it or not, we don't need a ton of volunteer help just yet, but I assure you we will soon. So let us know now that you stand ready to help in your community, state or wherever, and we'll be sure to put you to work when it's time. Include your family and friends, as it will be an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
And finally, vote. Throughout this campaign you can be assured that the establishment and mainstream media will denounce and ridicule our campaign and tell you that I can't win; that a vote for me is wasted; that voting for me may assure the election of someone else whom you really don't want. When you hear this, just remember this is what they always say as a way of manipulating us, and most of the time we fall for it. Don't fall for it this time, and when it is time to vote, run to the polls with as many other voters you can drag along and let everyone know that you're voting for Pep!
I'll ask it again - Are you ready to give up on an America led by regular Americans? Forever??? Are you willing to lay down and accept it as fact that only the rich and famous forevermore shall be qualified to lead us?
To paraphrase the immortal Winston Churchill, never, never, never, never give up. Join us today and let's truly take our country back. Go to www.peppe2020.com to Join our Revolution and don't forget to make your $20 contribution while you are there, or by clicking here: https://peppe2020.com/contribute/ Then take a few minutes now and then and aggressively share our posts with your friends and tell them how important it is that they jump on board too. Encourage them to sign up and, of course, to make their own $20 donation.
This is how real change is made. It's time for all of us to put up or shut up.
What is “Merit-Based” Immigration Anyway?
I've been enjoying a good discussion with some of you about the merits of merit-based immigration, but it occurs to me that I'm not sure we are talking about the same thing. More to the point, I think it is important that we know what President Trump means by it, since he seems to be the one pushing for it. Here's an email I just got from Team Trump that might help:
The liberal Washington swamp was hoping you wouldn’t notice, but more than 50,000 people are being funneled into the United States every year through the “diversity visa lottery” program.
A Washington attempt to ENGINEER the social fabric of our country, the “diversity visa” IGNORESwhether individuals are actually likely to contribute to American society and respect our country and customs. DEMAND THIS BIASED, DANGEROUS POLICY END NOW.
END DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY
OFFICIAL PETITION W.H. 4756
SIGNATURE: NONE ON FILE
SIGN YOUR NAME
The American People are SICK of the government forcing us to pay TAXPAYER DOLLARS to fund unqualified migrants. Merit-based immigration is the ONLY acceptable alternative for the United States.
SIGN THE PETITION NOW >>
Now, I'm not endorsing the "Diversity Visa Lottery", but I am struck by some of the language in this appeal. For instance, "likely to contribute to American society and respect our country and customs" and "unqualified migrants".
Language like this sends up red flags for me, because it seems so reasonable on the surface. Of course we want immigrants to contribute to our society and to respect our country and its customs. Of course we want migrants who come here to be qualified.
But stop and ask yourself, what do these things really mean, and who will decide on our behalf?
You know, normally I hate it when the liberal media and folks on the left paint Republicans as Nazis, but it's language like this that too often gives them the ammunition. It's the subtle change disguised as reasonableness carefully designed to fan our resentment towards foreigners and eventually others who may be considered "unqualified" to enjoy the benefits of America. It's insidious, and it's dangerous, but it is not accidental.
The Statue of Liberty says "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore" for a reason. Those are the kinds of people who most often want to come to the land of opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families. And it is this commitment to being that beacon of freedom and hope for so many that has made us great over the centuries. Do we no longer believe in these ideals?
I've invoked my immigrant grandparents to make the point that many of us would not be here today if a "merit-based" immigration policy had been in place earlier in our history. To that, some of you have responded, "times have changed".
You're right. Times have changed. They are constantly changing. They changed from 1776 to 1876 to 1976 to today. What did not change throughout all that time, however, has been our belief in and commitment to those words on Lady Liberty. I know we have real problems with our immigration system, and I know that any smart country must secure its borders. But I also know that, with strong leadership, we are absolutely capable of effectively addressing these issues without allowing misinformation and fear to fundamentally change who we are and who we have always been. Let's keep our doors open and our light shining brightly.
This is Our America. Never Settle for Less.
I am running for President because I believe we deserve a much better leader than Donald Trump, and I believe I am that kind of leader.
My central concerns about Trump relate to his character - or lack thereof - and his fundamental lack of fitness to serve as our President. To be clear, I actually agree with several of the President's policies and, in fact, am more than willing to give him credit for things such as his dramatic upset of the ruling political establishment and for the recent passage of overdue tax cuts.
In a country as great as ours, however, I firmly believe we should be able to find leaders of strong character AND common-sense vision, and that's what I am offering.
I will continue to aggressively highlight Trump's character flaws and leadership failings because, again, that is why I am running. However, I will also continually strive to positively contrast myself and my leadership vision such that you may see how we can do better. If the way I criticize him bothers you, then I may not be the candidate for you. And if you think that I haven't told you enough about the kind of leadership you can expect from me, just ask and I will be happy to oblige.
Over the next 33 months I will constantly repeat my reason for running for President, and it is this: We deserve better. We deserve better leadership than the establishment has provided (great credit to Trump for kicking in their front door!), but we also deserve better than Trump, who is a fundamentally flawed person who should not be entrusted with our future. This is America, and we should not be forced to settle for the lesser of two evils. We deserve better, and we can do better.
As President, it is my solemn intent to continue moving our country down a common-sense, anti-establishment road, whereby regular Americans can once again truly be in charge of our own destinies. It is not hard to see that we have lost our way over the years, and it is time we got back on track. We should never accept the notion that our leaders must either be career politicians or wealthy elites. This is our country. Ours. And it is time we had a leader who is truly one of us.
I understand the pessimism many of us feel, believing there is nothing we can do to change politics-as-usual in America. Ironically, however, it was actually Donald Trump who reminded us that that is not true. We can change things. We can take control. We can reclaim our country.
Still, many of us haven't yet fully embraced this reawakening and continue to place artificial limits on our power by justifying Trump as the best we can do right now. Even as we admit that he is not a leader who makes us proud by his personal character and conduct, we explain it away as refreshing political incorrectness and say "it's about time someone spoke their mind." When we acknowledge to ourselves the obvious truth that he is neither honest nor trustworthy, we counter ourselves with, "all politicians lie." And when we admit to one another our down deep belief that he would sell us out in a New York minute if a better deal for him came along, we tell ourselves that he is still better than the establishment alternative.
Call me idealistic or even naive, but I believe we shouldn't have to settle. I believe we deserve better, and I believe we can do better. I believe in that kind of America.
As Abraham Lincoln once said, ours is a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." Those were more than mere words written by a talented speech writer. They were the very definition of who and what we are, and they damn well better be true yet today.
I still believe in that America, and that is why I am running for President. The question is, in what kind of America do you believe?
Rest in Peace Carm Cozza
In 1983 I was a leader on a very proud but very bad high school football team with dreams of following in my older brother's footsteps as a walk-on player at the University of Minnesota. Mike was a far better athlete than I, but he had to prove himself before earning a full-ride scholarship and starting position for the Golden Gophers from 1977-1981. My dad was our biggest fan, and I wanted to give him the joy of continuing his active support of U of M football.
Abruptly and completely unexpectedly, everything changed. Out of nowhere Coach Cozza's Yale team began recruiting me to play at a school to which I wasn't even sure I could earn admission. Miraculously, however, I was accepted at Yale, where I enjoyed the rare privilege of playing for and getting to know the legendary coach for four years.
Although I spent my time on the Bulldog squad primarily as a backup player, to this day I consider it one of the most uniquely special experiences of my life. True to Ivy League form, Coach showed as much interest in and concern for his players' well being, academic pursuits and off-field conduct as he did for their performance in the Yale Bowl. He was an outstanding teacher and a man who made a profound difference in the lives of thousands of student athletes.
I often reflect back and wonder how my life would be different had Coach Cozza not found me worthy to be a part of the glorious traditions of Yale and Yale Football. As a kid without any Blue Blood ancestry from a regular American family in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Coach gave me access to a whole new world and a life of possibilities generally available to so few, and for that I will forever be in his debt.
Thank you Coach. May God bless your family with the peace and comfort of knowing what a difference you made in the lives of so many. Rest in Peace.
Merry Christmas to All!
To all of us who celebrate it, Christmas holds many different meanings. There is much, however, that we share in common today about the way we observe this festive and joyous occasion.
Like many of you, I am saddened by the over-commercialization of Christmas. Thanks in no small part to our mass-media induced frenzy to purchase happiness in the form of the latest technology and other material gifts, in many ways the holiday has become an exercise in exchanging money through our favorite retail middlemen.
On the other hand, if you look closely you will continue to see reminders everywhere of the goodwill that yet lives among us and of the true spirit of Christmas that holds meaning for all of us, regardless of our religious convictions. It may be as simple as a warm smile and thoughtful greeting or as profound as an unexpected and sincere act of kindness to a neighbor in need. These are the things that continue to make Christmas meaningful to me and, I know, to millions of other across America and throughout the world.
With that in mind, I want to wish you all a peaceful, joyful and very merry Christmas. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or anything else, let us remember the ties of humanity that bind us and keep us close - from our families to our neighbors and to the broader communities which we inhabit, may you and yours enjoy all the happiness that life has to offer.
The Man in the Arena
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
President Theodore Roosevelt
April 23, 1910