Notes from the Campaign Trail.
The swine in power have gotten the word out more than I could hope to, but this does not discourage me. As much as seeing a solid 200 yard swath of yard signs fills me with envy and contempt, I must hope that the underground still has the teeth. I’ve been campaigning as best I can with what I have. I was a fool to think I could do it while injecting myself back into the educational system, but that too may yet prove a boon and not folly. But this is not what you want to hear. Let’s take it back to Paul and Babe as I do not believe many have heard the story. I need a publicist that will work for free. Which is impossible. The Pioneer isn’t going to cut any breaks to the political. I understand there are rules and regulations about these things. I was hoping that if a newsworthy story hit their office that they may just send a reporter to cover the thing. Such is not the case.
Information mercenaries. Price gouging the little guy out of the game. But enough of that. A few weeks back I decided to hang out with Paul and Babe for 24 hours collecting donations to the food shelf for questions. One food item gets you one question. It was a long 24 hours. I’m no stranger to extended periods of consciousness. Without the assistance of drugs stronger than Folgers I have run my ass into the ground for hours and hours. Days of trying to battle the fatigue and sorrow of the waking. The pain and weakness comes in waves. Once you hit 18 hours the battle begins. Your body is convinced you should be retiring. Taking a nap. Food helps. The act of digestion gets the blood pumping. With Paul and Babe it was a different animal if only because I had no resource.
Coffee was brought to me by dear friends, and I will forever be in their debt. There was not a mass of people there to support me. Mostly it was tourists. I did get a kick out of calling my allies on the east and west coast and getting them to view the live webcam feed of myself staking out our fair cities pioneering idols. I had hoped that eventually the word would get out though. That 24 hours was enough time for people to agree that it is a good idea. I tried my best to call everyone I know, which is quite a few. Beyond that I had hoped that the spectacle of a man in a three piece suit stalking around Paul and Babe at 4 AM might stir enough curiosity to provoke a reaction. Such was not the case.
Friends and family came and gave me canned goods, but they had no need. Their questions have always been answered free of charge. In the end I had $15 cash and two bags of non-perishables. That evening I collapsed. Mom was kind enough to drop off the food and money. I have a receipt I can hang onto for the tax season. I guess it’s better than nothing. There is a theory that everyone is connected one way or another. Sort of a Kevin Bacon meets string theory. The idea that if you take anyone throughout the world it’s not too difficult to find some sort of connection. I believe it.
When I was in Thailand I ran into a man who was best friends with a man from Bemidji. As it turns out I was the best man in his son’s wedding. This sort of shit happens every day. It convinces me that if there isn’t someone at the helm of the cosmos, before they jumped ship, they at least set a course that makes sense. That being said I wish the hell I knew the rules. This is all metaphysical mumbo jumbo though. Nothing relating to the campaign in as much as everything is related to the campaign. My point is that if I told two people to tell two people and this continued for a time we’d have the word out. As a producer my dream was always to sell out. As a politico my desire is to go viral. To divide and conquer on a cellular level. I have faith in the underground. The subversive net-commandos are waiting for the signal. There is indeed something in the air. Electric and sexy. The Jeremiah Liend Invitational was an experiment in the ability of getting fall down drunk to sway voters. Time will tell if this scheme worked.
What I will tell you is that at least one hundred fine people showed up and only a couple of asshats who only came to eat the muffins. To those asshats I say; muffins may be free, but freedom comes at a terrible cost. I shouldn’t let the urchins get me down though. Not when there were so many fine people in attendance. Dancing. Singing. Drinking American beer. Canoodling. I welcomed. I gave away things that people don’t need. I auctioned my talents. I spoke of revolution and my plans. Touched on my dreams briefly. Stayed stone cold sober for the evening. Kept my wits about me as there were two swords in the ballroom and you never know who’s going to decide to go after my aunt with a katana for no good reason. I have many friends, but some are lunatics. Birds of a feather. Overheard were the words; “It’s only a SUGGESTED donation, right?” Well yes. I would offer you that with the very real opportunity to win a pfaltzgraff cat dish or a set of matching stainless steel planters that $7.50 is a meager amount to ask for. Particularly when you weigh it against the ability to witness fabulous music for hours and hours.
Not to mention that you will be helping place in power a person who actually gives a damn about your ideas. Wants you to succeed and is willing to fight the establishment to place the tools you require in your hands. I guess when you look at other politicians charging $1,000 a plate that $7.50 is not a ridiculous amount to ask. Beyond that I was willing to negotiate. If you only had $8 I would take only enough that you were still able to purchase a beer. Christ, I’m not a monster. I paid the performers. Some people have called me a moron for such a move. For my part I know how difficult it is to be an artist in Bemidji. I know how much is asked of you for free. I know that $100 can sometimes mean the difference between eviction or conviction. I don’t think I can run a campaign based on the idea of investing in Bemidji if I can’t put my money where my mouth is. That’s the trouble with this campaign anyhow; too much fucking money.
I don’t know what to do with it all. It’s stuffed in sweaty piles in my closets and trunks. My mattress has been raised a full five feet, bolstered to bursting with campaign contributions from complete strangers. Where ever I walk there is another mob of citizens throwing checks and cash like leaves before a great wind. I tell them to stop. I beg them to keep their hard earned dollars. Love for money is the root of all evil, and I’ll have none of that evil on me. If absolute power corrupts absolutely then it follows that municipal power will be my undoing. My first act as mayor is to instate martial law. My second? Seize that man! In all seriousness, the primary is closing in. I believe that I’m going to go for radio ads. Yard signs can be constructed out of reusable materials.
Who doesn’t want a set of “Jeremiah for Mayor” bed sheets? Walking down the street to class last week I saw the wind-blown litter of Nancy Erickson’s propaganda on the streets. Everywhere I look there is more plastic and metal wasted on lawns. I am a man of the digital realm. Most of what I have to say is a waste of paper. At some point I have to trust in the citizens to type in a web address. Voter inform thyself. There is none of the renegade tactics I had hoped to be the hallmark of my campaign. No Paul Bunyan sized campaign buttons. No banners flown over vacant retail space. No marches in the street. Such things must be organized by someone with far more ability. I’ve got passion and vision to spare. What I need is a publicist. Maybe an army. Buttons? Buttons.
Who knows. I suppose I could just start a tab at a bar and offer to buy potential voters a drink. Is that what it takes to get the undecided vote? And if so, what does that say about the state of the world? Doomed I tell you. In a week and two days my questions will be answered. Maybe I’ll take it in a landslide. It will be me versus Dick once again. Lehmann VS. Liend. Two men enter, one man leaves. More than likely it will be a primary decided by yard signs and not issues. Buttons and not the truth. Everyone I talk to tells me I should be playing the game by their rules. That without bowing to the conventions of traditional campaigning my ideas are doomed to exist in the dark corners of local politics. It is not in my grain to cave to such pressures. My pride will be my undoing, but if I lose I will lose as myself. I will not put on a mask to get the vote. I wonder about you, the reader of this diatribe. I wonder if you’re a registered voter. I wonder if you are sympathetic to the ideas or merely drawn to the sounds of the train wreck. If you’ve made it this far then I thank you. You have heard my words and if you agree I would ask you to take them to the streets.