Why I had to declare myself an independent candidate for president
Why I had to declare myself an independent candidate for president
  • By Emanuel Pastreich
  • 승인 2020.04.30 23:15
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Candidacy for President of the United States “I will fear no evil”
Emanuel Pastreich, director of The Asia Institute
Emanuel Pastreich, director of The Asia Institute


A large number of people have expressed fascination, and mystification, over my decision to declare myself an independent candidate for President of the United States. 

I tell them that in light of the profound corruption in the United States political system, and the institutional paralysis revealed by the COVID-19 crisis, I felt that any American intellectual had an absolute obligation to take the real issues of our time head-on. Sadly, although there were various candidates who addressed parts of the current economic, ecological, and institutional crisis, not one of them made any effort to take on the totality of the current crisis. 

It was clear to me that the entire Democratic Party and Republican political system has collapsed into a “good cop, bad cop” show and that we must have an independent candidate. 

There are some who claim to be independent candidates, and there are some third-party candidates as well. But when I looked at their sites, it was clear that they all avoid critical topics and they avoid formulating significant solutions. This sad state of affairs left me with no choice but to declare my own candidacy. I include below my speech announcing my candidacy “I shall fear no evil” and the 17 planks of my platform for your reference. 

“I shall fear no evil”
Declaration of Candidacy for
President of the United States
Emanuel Pastreich
February 24, 2020

There are turns in the river of history so dramatic, even overwhelming, that we must demand more than progressive adaptation, we must demand a fundamental restructuring of every aspect of our society.

This moment is such a moment and I declare my candidacy for President of the United States not because I desire the perks that accompany that position, perks that have grown gaudy as that institution has decayed, but because there will be no hope of stanching the flow of our nation’s lifeblood unless those who have benefited the most from our finest traditions are willing to throw themselves into the battle.

The time has come for a politics founded in truth, and not an appeal to him or to fleeting emotions. We cannot look away from the profound moral decay that has laid waste to our beloved United States. We must combine a deep empathy for the sufferings of ordinary people with an inspiring vision for what this country could be.

This campaign does not offer you glittering false promises. Until we restore a discourse in politics that is honest and we reestablish a government that holds up an ideal, and implements that ideal, promises made by politicians, whether they call themselves “conservative” or “progressive,” will not mean much.

Today, our government, our journalism, our educational institutions, our communities, and our families all teeter on the brink of collapse. Lost in self-deception we cannot even bring ourselves to face the wasteland that lies before us.

All that I contend for is this: We must struggle together to build participatory institutions in every neighborhood that will permit our citizens to establish the ideals, to practice the habits, and to prepare the policies that will form the foundations on which we will rebuild this republic.

If we cannot form communities, if we cannot see each other as anything other than objects to be used, to be exploited for profit, no degree of policy reform at the highest levels can save us.

Citizens today are no longer citizens, but mere consumers who are force-fed pre-packaged fantasies cranked out by public relations firms, firms hired by the same corporations that shower money on every politician.

We are taught by the corrupt media that we have only a role as observers and that we have no choice but to send money to politicians who will never meet with us, or represent us, or even answer our phone calls. The media, controlled by a handful of powerful corporations, works hard to convince us that we must seek out magicians to solve our problems for us and that we must shun leaders who could inspire us to build a better society with our own hands. There is no road to the good government until we start to build it, with our own hands.

As Frederick Douglass wrote, “Who would be free themselves must strike the blow.”

This campaign for the presidency is not about exposure. It would be better to create our own citizens’ journalism than to grovel before the fetid media swamp that demands of us that we be its slaves. That media is unanimous in their contempt for me — and I welcome their contempt.

I do not ask you merely to vote in November. I ask you to join us a struggle to transform the United States, and to work with us, every day. Your efforts will create the sinews that bind citizens to a government that is accountable. If our neighborhood organizations are not democratic and participatory, they cannot support a national democracy.

Whether it is the sprawling prisons filled with the innocent, the decaying infrastructure that condemns our children to misery, or the promulgation of a culture of consumption and indulgence that has destroyed the virtues of frugality, modesty, and humility, truly, the hour is late.

This republic should function as a delicate clock, responding predictably to the needs of citizens. But what do we do if the clock’s fan fly is gummed up with muck, if its escape wheel is fractured, or its hammer rod is warped?

Do we leave the clock alone, knowing that it will slow down, eventually coming to an irreparable stop? Or do we pause the clock for a moment, and clean the entirety from head to toe, repairing, and improving? The later approach runs the risk of tempting tyranny. But the former virtually guarantees it. Better to prepare for a dangerous, but critical, surgery than to watch in idle indulgence the collapse of the republic.

When it becomes painfully self-evident that a long train of abuses and usurpations are born of the pursuit of absolute despotism, it then becomes our right, and our duty, to provide new guards for the people’s future security.

Let me suggest two fundamental principles that will undergird all future action:

The scientific search for truth

Democracy is the process by which the needs and the wisdom of the people are converted into policy. But if the people are misled, sated with distorted and embellished journalism, if they are taught to be self-indulgent and thus lose interest in governance, then we a democracy without people. If the debate on policy is not grounded in truth, then we have a fantasy democracy. However, and this is the hard part, truth is never democratic. If we are voting to determine what is true, then we have already slipped into an orderly, and all too reasonable, psychosis.

We will seek out the truth about the poverty in our country and its causes, about the motivations behind the foreign wars that we fight, about the decline of education and of communities, and we will encourage you, support you, as you go forward to investigate your neighborhood, and we will help you raise up in yourself the moral courage to formulate, and then to implement, solutions.

The establishment of a government that is, to quote President Abraham Lincoln, “of the people, by the people and for the people” is our purpose. This goal cannot be achieved through the election of a single person, or by the passage of a single bill. It will only come about as a result of a profound shift in our culture and in our habits.

We offer not fool’s gold to distract you from the massive transfer of wealth from the commons to the hands of the super-rich, bloody and deceitful men. We will speak the truth and fear no evil. Only then can we end those endless wars, only then will the ruthless exploitation of ordinary people in the United States be stopped.

A government for the people

The United States Constitution lays out a blueprint for a government that represents the people, and not the powerful. The process of building this republic has been imperfect, tainted by the crimes of slavery and marred by the slaughter of the natives. Nevertheless, we can still glimpse the flame of the Constitution shining from behind the shattered edifice that remains.

Now is the moment to reinvent government, not as a PR gimmick funded by corporations, or as a gateway for contractors in search of profits, but as something that protects the welfare of the people and defends those who oppose the powerful.

The radical concentration of wealth, the catastrophic collapse of our environment, and the foolish drive for militarism as a road to riches, these crimes are not even considered as topics for discussion in polite company today. Those who are supposed to lead us, prefer rather wrap themselves in a blanket woven of cowardice and hypocrisy, and to ape the honored practice of the four monkeys.

But there is a terrible hidden cost for that choice of silence. Nightmares wrap around our youth, in the stark mountain passes of Afghanistan or in the dank hallways of Walter Reed Medical Center, where they lie in their own urine trying to piece together a fragmented mind, or in the cells of private prisons where they stare all day at blank walls.

Let us bring a ray of hope to those who must work constantly at miserable jobs, day and night, to feed their children. Let them know that a government will be created that places their interests at the center of the national agenda. Let them know that we are not afraid to call slavery, slavery, and that we are not afraid to call war, war!

The truth goes marching on

With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering and forbearing, let us go forward together. Our campaign must be confrontational at times, but it will always be rooted and grounded in love. We will demand that the wealthy who gather by vanity shall be diminished and that those who gathers by labor shall increase. We will make it clear to all that the most valuable things are precisely those that are invisible: the core values that guide us, as individuals, as groups, and as a nation, to sacrifice ourselves readily, not only for the benefit of the whole but also for the pursuit of truth.

The damage is done to our environment by petroleum and plastic, the trillions of dollars squirreled away off-shore by the rich, the manner in which the internet is used to reduce us to base animals with no self-control, these facts, and more, will be made manifest for all to see as part of this great transformation. Verily, fellow citizens, the truth shall set you free.

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