Joe Newman, age 101 who has declared to run for Congress against incumbent, Vern Buchanan (R) of Sarasota, Florida. Now really, what are the odds of a 101 year old man defeating an incumbent rated as a "lock" to be re-elected from a mostly conservative congressional district (Florida Congressional District 16)? Well, let me tell you.
Over the past 101 years, Joe Newman has not only been a part of American History, he has helped shape it. Active in the efforts to establish societal norms for children with special needs, Joe helped create a national model for the education and long-term care of those children. In fact, if you look up the Logan Center, they highlight "their Joe" is running for Congress! (See http://www.logancenter.org/index.cfm). You see, Logan considers Joe Newman as one of their own.
Over those 101 years, Joe Newman spent time, like many of today's college students working in college to off-set tuition, shoveling snow at Notre Dame in an early form of work-study. Joe went on to graduate Notre Dame with a degree in Accounting and then was hired to be one of the early day "Navigators" selected to help inform the public about a new Federal program called Social Security. From that point on, Joe became not only a successful accountant, but also a successful advocate for those that had no one else to speak for them. The people Joe has always spoken out for, still today consider him one of their own.
And today, Joe Newman, a self-labeled "Anthropological Progressive" is so concerned about the grid-lock in Washington and the corrosive nature of our current political parties and their supporting media, he has decided that he must stand up to declare in a sense, "I am an American and I am mad as hell!" So what's up with this old man anyway? Why is he making this stand at his age and why should we all be paying attention to his efforts?
I'll tell you why. Joe Newman has always been an advocate for the less fortunate in our society, and now he sees that category growing to include a shrinking middle class, which includes not only the working poor but also the future leaders of our nation strapped with overwhelming student loan debt that limits their abilities to shine and prosper. Joe understands that the future of America relies upon the American PEOPLE and not the corporations many have been hoodwinked into supporting, all at the risk of destroying the fabric which built this great nation. When Joe went to school, diversity of cultures was everywhere. Russians, Poles, Slavs, Italians, Germans, you name it, we were the epitome of the proverbial "melting pot" and we took great pride in what Hitler dubbed as the "Mongrel Nation." It was what made us strong. It was what made us great. So why the current Anti-Immigrant rhetoric? Why the Anti-Melting Pot ideology? Why the Anti-Equality for ALL Americans, no matter their ethnicity, culture, race, religion, gender, sexual identification, education or societal class? Shouldn't we all want to consider him one of our own?
The real reason we should all be listening and supporting Joe Newman in his quest for Congress is because Joe understands that bringing attention to the need of others to join in and not settle for the status quo is best for America. You see, Joe Newman may be considered in modern terms as a "throw back", a blast from the past of where concerned Americans didn't accept political gamesmanship, but instead stood up to defeat it and ensure that politicians served the people. Joe knows America's capital was built on the backs of working Americans and not by pretenders hiding behind special interests (which have fully hijacked today's modern Democratic and Republican Parties). Joe Newman sees himself as a spark plug, a conduit to generate power back to the people and away from special interests and entrenched political parties. Joe Newman believes that if he can step into the political arena at the age of 101, why can't younger Americans do the same? We should all join Joe in demanding to be included in the political process, demanding to be heard instead of being drowned out by political voices designed to limit and divide by political ideologies currently represented in Congress. Instead of Washington being the clearing house for special interest through their use of lobbying, Super-PACs and electioneering, Joe believes the powers of Congress should and must be returned to the people. After all, if Americans join Joe Newman in his efforts to change the politics in Washington while running for Congress at 101, isn't that a grass-roots movement we can all, call as are own?
Although not quite as old as the Framers of the United States Constitution, Joe has always been a fan of that great document, including the Constitution's preamble and Articles. Joe understands quite well that the Framers created a system with the important role in maintaining and shaping our society based upon the People, not the ruling class or big money corporations. If Joe Newman can light a fire under Americans to step off the curb of indifference and instead get actively involved in the politics of the day, then and only then may We the People, regain the power meant to be with us as intended by the Framers. When determining the branches of government, the Framers purposely identified the Legislative Branch as the institution "closest to the People" - hence it is found under Article I of the Constitution. Joe Newman believes it time to go back to that position and ensure that People are closest to Congress.
When asked about term limits, Joe is clear to state that at his age there should be no such concern. For the rest of us, what is our excuse? If a 101 year old man feels it is his patriotic duty to stand and run for Congress, shouldn't we at least stand and run with him. As President George Washington once wrote, "We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience." The American experience Joe Newman brings to the political arena is vast, and perhaps we should all seriously consider profiting from it. As I finish, I must in full disclosure let you know that Joe Newman is my grandfather. You see, he is one of my own. Perhaps it is time for you all to make him one of your very own too
(and I am willing to share him with America). In the 2014 race for the 16th Congressional District of Florida, a write-in "Vote for the Old Man is a vote for the New Man - Joe Newman for Congress" and may many more fellow Americans follow his learned footsteps!
You can follow Joe's campaign on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JoeNewman101 on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/joenewman101 and at his website, http://www.joenewman101.com/. Have a great week!