WHY I AM A CANDIDATE FOR U.S. PRESIDENT
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Student Activities Committee Third Party Series
World Citizen Party Candidate
May 10, 1988
I want you to know from the outset that I am a Leo with Gemini rising and the moon in Aries.
I don't want to begin this address on a negative note nor do I intend to shock you at the outset, but I must say that due to circumstances beyond my control, I may not win this election.
In the frenzy of the major political party race, we independent candidates hardly ever get a chance to explain why we are crazy enough to run for this lofty if unreachable office. So you are to be congratulated - or maybe condemned - for giving us this important platform. Speaking for my fellow gadfly candidates, I wholeheartedly thank the sponsors of this series and you, the audience.
Independent candidates have a unique advantage over the major party honchos. With nothing much to lose, we can speak the truth without fear of the consequences. We can address the real issues and not care about offending anyone. We do not have to cater to special interest groups in order to gain votes. The system is rigged against us anyway. We are not in a popularity contest or a picture parade. Also having little or no funds, we can speak for the dispossessed, the downtrodden, the persecuted, the forgotten, and the silent without embarrassment or apology. Because that's where we are also. We don't have to convince voters they ar somebody. The citizens we address are already the sovereigns. And praise God, we don't have to please the right or the left or even the middle. Having nowhere to go but up, we can start right at the top, above the divisions.
In short, we can emulate the words of that master revolutionary, Tom Paine, who wrote:
"Independence is my happiness and I view things as they are without regard to place or person. The world is my country and all men are my brothers."
I intend to blast away "without regard to place or person." Our daily and global crises demand not only national but world leadership. That is the only politics which makes sense. As a human being, a world citizen and a father of four, that is the only politics I am interested in.
I am here to tell you that you as voters and I as a candidate in our American electoral system today have an all-important date with destiny...world destiny.
The person you choose to lead this great country in the next four or eight years will have more responsibility - not only for ourselves but for the whole human community - than anyone who has ever held power in all the sweep of past history. He may well be responsible for guiding mankind through the narrow pass between extinction and survival.
This is of course the imperative quest for peace. As Emery Reves wrote years ago, in his Anatomy of Peace,
"We should elect no one to public office who has not pledged himself in advance to work wholeheartedly to prevent the next war by the establishment of peace through law and government."
In judging me as a candidate you may first fairly ask where I am coming from, as compared to the background and motives of my esteemed opponents.
To begin with, we know that candidates Dukakis and Bush are both job-holders in the existing nation-state establishment. Or, in terms of the world community, their jobs and their commitments are local.
I have a job too, but mine is outside the national framework. It is global. Four decades ago I discovered a unique American way to stand for peace by transcending the nation-state war system. I renounced my U.S. citizenship to choose membership in the world community - world citizenship - as my highest political allegiance. (And incidentally, that was the law-given right of U.S. citizens at that time. The language of our nineteenth century nationality laws, since greatly changed, was practically poetic in affirming the inalienable right of every human being to expatriate himself from one sovereign and transfer his allegiance to another.)
I was seconded in this choice by over 750,000 fellow citizens between the years 1949 to 1951 who registered as world citizens in the first global electoral machinery I founded on January 1, 1949, called the International Registry of World Citizens.
The one allegiance no one can renounce or transfer out of is his or her membership in the world community, and that is what I have been trying to express and honor ever since.
But there was no structure for this - individual world citizenship - so with support and inspiration from many sources over the years I created one and gave myself a job: today I am a volunteer World Coordinator of the World Government of World Citizens.
This sovereign government, declared over 35 years ago, actually operates today out of our global city hall in Washington, D.C., based on the inalienable human right to choose one's personal political allegiance.
This is government of, by and for the people of the world, what Alvin Toffler has called "third wave politics." Thus it represents humanity. Its sovereignty has been recognized innumerable times, by the acceptance of the documentation we issue, our World Passport, for instance, by national authorities at international frontiers.
So you see I am far from unemployed. And I am not at odds with my native land either. (I couldn't be in this race if I hadn't been born a good Maine Down-Easterner.) Our great Declaration of Independence is itself an affirmation of every man's right to make personal political choices.
One could say that Governor Dukakis and Vice President Bush have made their careers from "inside" the national cocoon looking out at the rest of the world. Their universe revolves around Washington, D.C. just as the universe of General Secretary Gorbachev centers in Moscow. and that is the case with all national leaders.
But today this limited national perspective is not only a distortion of the real world, but an exceedingly dangerous distortion.
The reason is obvious: first, it perverts and denies the reality of our one world and one humanity,and second, it condones a condition of anarchy between nations.
And don't be misled by the so-called nuclear threat. I helped wipe out Dusseldorf, Brandenberg and Hannover with mere fire incendiary bombs.
And my brother was killed at Salerno by a plain old conventional bomb just as 21-year-olds are being killed today by conventional weaponry.
Emery Reves, in Anatomy of Peace, minces no words about the anachronism of nation-state. He writes:
"The first step toward ending the present chaos is to overcome the tremendous emotional obstacle with prevents us from realizing and admitting that the ideal of sovereign nation-states, with all its great record of success during the nineteenth century, is today the cause of all the immeasurable suffering and misery of this world. We are living in complete anarchy, because in a small world, interrelated in every other aspect, there are seventy or eighty separate sources of law - seventy or eighty sovereignties...Our present system of national sovereignty is in absolute contradiction to the original conception of sovereignty, which meant - and still means - sovereignty of the community."
My perspective is from the sovereignty of the world community, the external, global and incidentally, real-time viewpoint, outside looking in at the United States as part of the entire nation-state system (and make no mistake, I am appreciative of all our past virtues and accomplishments, and our very freedom to be meeting here together, as anyone could be). But this holistic perception naturally and spontaneously accepts the planet as one whole, and humanity as a coherent and systemic species - a human family...and dependent on Mother Earth herself for survival. Therefore, it is not blind to duties, responsibilities, and obligations extending throughout the entire family.
Contrarily, the political horizons of my opponents are exclusive, terminating at the national frontier. Beyond, they view only anarchy and chaos. Their policies, therefore, are reactive, acting on short views, immediate and external events and promising knee-jerk leadership. If you doubt this myopic perspective, look at the most important and terrible decision of our times, the commitment of the United States to World War II - and remember that it was not made in Washington at all, but by leaders in Tokyo and Berlin, leaders who owed us absolutely nothing.
According to Ilya Prigogine, the Nobel Prize winner in chemistry in 1977, any organized system exists in dynamic tension between entropy and negentropy, that is, between chaos and coherence. But our human world is so information-rich or coherent, he claims, that it is almost certain to collapse into even higher coherence, not into chaos and self-destruction. In other words, he supports McLuhan's intuition that many seeming symptoms of breakdown are actually harbingers of breakthrough.
The legal breakthrough leading to higher political coherence is world citizenship.
As a World Citizen candidate, I already accept the world as given, an organic community of 5 billion human beings, all under nuclear threat and all awaiting leadership with at least some global vision, leadership questing for a rational way to get through the perilous years ahead together.
Do you see or hear that in Michael Dukakis or George Bush? Do they promise to represent you in a determined effort to preserve peace and order in the world community - in a word, to survive?
It would be immodest, which I am not, to stand here and claim that I am the only, or necessarily anywhere near the best qualified and available spokesperson for the message I am trying to bring to this campaign. But it is not arrogant to point out that I am standing alone in the field. Without me, voters and concerned citizens would have no focal point, not even a symbolic one, for views and feelings I think are nearly universal among us today.
My principal opponents have been an effective state governor, and a phenomenally loyal vice president (if blind loyalty to an aimiable buffoon can be reckoned a virtue). But that does not mean they would make worthy presidents. Rather the opposite. Mere managerial skills and tunnel vision loyalty are not what is needed. The next incumbent must be possessed of world-sized determination and virtues, and must view America in her role as a global partner with unprecedented global responsiblities.
A president is one who inspires with wise counsel, one who envisions a positive future, not only for his people but for all people. Moreover, it requires an inner, disciplined self-confidence, a comprehensive view of the world, and a sure knowledge of American's place in the interdependent scheme of the world community.
As we approach the 21st century, the U.S. president must represent, not only America itself, but American's global mission. And in that vision, he speaks for the world public as well. Fortunately, that global vision is implicit in the Constitution itself. And although the world community is totally interdependent in actual terms, it is still without a constitution.
Now does the U.S. president have a role to play in providing one? I say not only may he play that role, but he is mandated by his oath of office to do so. Because without a world constitution, he cannot define the inalienable human rights of his own constituents.
As the swearing in is the first duty of the U.S. president, the call for a constitutional convention will be my second duty as your president.
Because to my way of thinking, it has become increasingly apparent since 1914 that not only can exclusive national citizenship not protect absolute, natural or inalienable rights, but contrarily is their greatest enemy.
Hear these appalling facts. Since 1900, nations have fought 207 wars. Over 70 million humans have been killed - a 500% increase over the 19th century - and many more wounded and made homeless. Today's refugee population is 15 million. Forty-four wars, big and small, are raging as I talk involving some 50 nations. Some 10 million humans are in national armies.
Almost a trillion dollars will be spent next year on weapons of destruction . Since 1981 preparations for nuclear war have cost $427 billion.
Yet today, tens of thousands of humans, mostly children, will starve to death, and millions will go to bed hungry.
Nations freely trade armaments with each other. Wars in the Third World are fought with weapons overtly and covertly supplied by the industrialized nations.
Over 50,000 nuclear weapons now exist with a megatonnage of over 16,000, enough to eliminate every vestige of life on earth for thousands of years. The total megatonnage dropped in World War II was 3.
Spy systems play their infantile games in every nation draining vast resources from social purposes.
Armies of men stand on national frontiers controlling entry and exit from these political fictions while other armies issue passports, visas and other so-called official documents designed to control the world citizenry.
The poorest 30% of humanity receive only 3% of the world's total income while the top 20% owns 66%.
Ecological disasters threaten our very life-support system. Radioactive pollution, spearheaded by deadly plutonium, a man-made substance with a half life of 250,000 years, is the 20th century Sword of Damocles. National armies are the biggest polluters of the environment.
I could go on ad nauseum.
The nation-state system breakdown is obviously far beyond the point of no return.
Since 1914, we have already had a full stomach of system dysfunction. Recently, it burst out during the Vietnam war administration. Then during Nixon's Watergate scandal. It exposed itself in the Iran/contra debacle during this administration with North, Poindexter, McFarlane and company playing the heavies. Currently it is revealed in the absurd SDI or "Star Wars" program where the Reagan administration, its paranoia in full display, presumes to own the space above all our heads and wants to fill it with destruction. And it is happening on the streets of America and throughout the world where the homeless wander in desperation, drug addicts proliferate, small children haven nightmares of nuclear holocaust and the general public becomes numbed over impending nuclear winner.
In Toffler's The Third Wave, he blows the whistle on the entire system:
"All the political parties of the industrial world, all our congresses, parliaments, and supreme soviets, our presidencies and prime ministerships, our courts, and our regulatory agencies, and our layer upon geographical layer of governmental bureaucracy - in short, all the tools we use to make and enforce collective decisions - are obsolete and about to be transformed. A third wave civilization cannot operate with a second wave political structure."
Historically, we have come full cycle...or full spiral. Just as the Virginia House of Burgess was rendered subservient to the federal code in 1789, so the national decision-making apparatus must be rendered subservient to a global legal code.
That is the vital message I am bringing to this campaign.
Both Michael Dukakis and George Bush still accept war as an option for resolving conflicts. It is built-in to their national framework. Both would maintain the military budget at its present level or higher. In one of his speeches, the governor pointed out that the USA and the Soviet Union have 50,000 nuclear weapons between them. the he added, "More than a dozen nations have joined - or soon may join the nuclear club, increasing the balance of terror. Ever since Hiroshima, nations have been trying to win the arms race. But the truth is that an arms race cannot be won; it can only be lost."
You might conclude from this statement that Governor Dukakis would have realized what was missing in this anarchic nationalistic war game was global government to outlaw war. But no, it's as if the Governor doesn't even realize the problem. He insisted that "What we need are defenses that really defend us - instead of weapons systems that bankrupt and destroy us all."
Is that the kind of deadly thinking you want in your next president?
Bush follows Reagan's paranoic lead in military thinking. He cast the deciding vote when the appropriation for "Star Wars" came up in the Senate.
Have you ever heard Dukakis or Bush mention the need for a world public order or government to outlaw war? Have you heard them refer to themselves as world citizens?
It is ironic that Roosevelt, Kennedy, Carter and Reagan all called themselves world citizens once they were elected.
So, my candidacy as a world citizen changes the dimension of the national political climate. I believe that a large portion of the American public has no illusions about the impotence of the present political system itself to solve their problems. After all, almost a majority in the last election rejected the voting process itself. Already many Americans are turned off to the politics-as-usual game. As one political pundit put it, "The skim milk is rising to the top."
The Founding Fathers rejected political exclusivity in 1787. They eliminated the anarchy between the exclusive states by creating a higher government with its own set of laws above the warring states. They placed themselves outside the state system mentally and politically first before they could define the new social code called the Constitution of the United States.
They made peace among the thirteen sovereign states.
And we Americans have inherited and now profit from the process.
Now international war is the major problem. The same process must be repeated, this time on the global level.
Another major issue in this campaign is that of experience in so-called foreign policy. Bush claims he has more experience in foreign policy than Dukakis, therefore, is more qualified to be president. Dukakis replies that Bush's foreign policy experience was at the funerals of deceased heads of state and as head of the CIA. That he can deal more effectively with Gorbachev as a trained lawyer than Bush.
The entire argument is misleading, even false. A smokescreen hiding the real issue of anarchy vs law. The very phrase "foreign policy" identifies a past era, an era contradicted by the telephone, the television, instant transmission of information, the space age, and the totality of war. "foreign policy" is an 18th century politics artificially superimposed on the 20th century.
If visitors from outer space ever visited our planet, then perhaps a "foreign policy" would be valid but it would have to emanate from a world government, not from a particular nation.
But if experience in worldly events is a criteria for presidential calibre, then I am obviously the only valid choice. I am the only candidate who has claimed to be world citizen at age 26, who has opened the door for millions of your fellow humans also to claim that citizenship and who has declared a government for that citizenship which operates here and now from the center of Washington, D.C. identifying that global constituency.
My experience as a world citizen, founder and administrator of actual global institutions relevant to immediate public needs, which are operating now, is unique among the candidates.
But there are other major global problems as well to be tackled. Pollution of the atmosphere, the oceans, the soil; deforestation and desertification expanding exponentially in once-fertile lands; endemic poverty and starvation and illness throughout the human community. And deadly nuclear proliferation throughout the national world and a fragile international house-of-cards economy with debt proliferating everywhere.
I have read Dukakis' and Bush's so-called stump speeches. There is nothing in them about these problems, nor about the environment, toxic waste, water, soil and air pollution, acid rain, radioactivity, especially plutonium, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere threatening the "greenhouse effect," the disappearing ozone layer. There is nothing about the destruction of the primeval rain forests to graze cattle for McDonald's hamburgers or the elimination of innocent species which co-inhabit the planet.
Maybe the Democratic and Republican candidates already know the U.S. president is virtually powerless to cope with these problems. Moreover, maybe they realize that even his political clout is close to zero. Can he stop the Iran-Iraq war or indeed any of the 44 wars going on today? Can he save the millions in Africa from starving? Can he release the refugees from despicable camps? Does he control Botha in South Africa? Or Qadhafi in Libya or Khomeini in Iran? Can he prevent Japan's or South Korea's or Taiwan's or Singapore's growing economic power? Can he obtain the release of the over 5,000 Americans in foreign jails for drug abuse crimes? Or even the nine American hostages still being held in Lebanon?
America is not the world, after all. And we Americans are only six percent of the world's population.
What I am really saying is that in the real world, the president of the United States is actually powerless to truly represent the U.S. public. The same is true of course for the Soviet General Secretary. Or for any nation state leader.
The bottom line is that this presidential election is in reality a giant charade, a sort of Alice-in-Wonderland politics in an archaic system in historic disarray and breakdown.
So why am I running for president, you ask? Because unfortunately the U.S. President can still make war. That's why the next president must slow down that giant momentum toward global holocaust and immediately begin the process for building world peace.
My program alone is designed for that very purpose.
Both Dukakis and Bush will be focusing on issues like employment, trade, drugs, crime and other important subjects. But they will cop out totally on THE important subject: world peace. Yet if we don't solve that problem, there will obviously be no others.
And it goes without saying that cutting out the national arms budget would instantly free measureless talent and resources to tackle all these real problems facing us all.
My candidacy then is really a desperate effort to case one vote, my own, a vote for one world and one humanity. A vote for sanity.
Please join me and add your vote and your voice to mine.
This is the purest form of democracy in action.