Charles Rehn - Democrat for President 2004

A Conversation With America
Questions That Must Be Answered
Web Edition (c) 2002, 2003 Charles Rehn All Rights Reserved




An Open Letter To Political Leaders


Two of my favorite movies about Federal Government are "The Contender" with Jeff Bridges (a favorite actor as well as admired for his efforts leading to the End Hunger Network) and the movie "Dave", with Kevin Klein and Sigourney Weaver.

My favorite scene (other than when the vice-presidential nominee speaks about Democracy as her religion in The Contender") is in Dave where he asks the vice-president John Nance (Ben Kingsley) about how he got into politics.

I don't wish to belabor this - my roots are by no means of true historic value - but they were a landmark for me, the basis of a promise I made to myself to learn what I needed to learn so that one day, when my traveling and adventurous days were through, that I would settle down somewhere, build myself a little farm, and then become active in local and state-level politics, where it's possible to be directly involved in causing tangible results on the ground (an important thing to remember when considering my policies and ideas).

Nonetheless, in 1972, while a student at Arcata High School in Arcata, California, (see also -Town criminalizes compliance with Patriot Act) at the age of 17, I ran for the school board.  According to the Associated Press, that made me the youngest person in the history of the United States to run for an elected office. Of course, I had no awareness of that at the time, and it was not a motivation in any way.

My motivation was simple: I believed there were issues that needed to be raised, and I saw an opportunity to exercise my rights and privileges in order to make a contribution to the public discourse, and the shaping of long-term policy that would make positive difference in the lives of young people for generations. I believed I had something of value to offer to my community.

I'll bet that kind of thinking sounds familiar to you as well. :}

The truth is, I didn't want to win that election. I believed there were people more qualified than I to manage a school district. I believed that I was going to be in a career that would have me moving regularly for a number of years. But I went to a few town hall meeting events and spoke my mind without reservation, and the next thing ya know, people and organizations began going around town, changing the signs declaring their candidate endorsements in order to include me in their recommendations.  It was quite an unexpected honor, that had an impact on me. But, then I slowly withdrew from the public debate.

When all was said and done, though, my message had been heard, action was taken, the mission was accomplished. With one catch: the disappointment of those who placed their faith in me to represent them. And, so I took very seriously the importance of never generating a public consensus unless I was was willing and committed to see it through to its success.

So, if you believe that my efforts toward running for the presidency is symbolic or even irrational, you need to understand that I am absolutely serious. Even more, I do it to express my support and faith in Democracy.

Most will say that I can not win because I am not a party man, because I don't possess the money or political ties, all the typical arguments that force us all to think in terms of the myopic paradigms that so limit the scope and potential of our thinking and ability to accomplish.

I believe I can win because I am an absolute believer in Democracy, because I believe it is an expression of God's will to grant people free-will. I believe I can win because the American people are willing to hear straight talk from someone who wants nothing more in return for his service than to serve his country and benefit his fellow citizens. People who believe, as I was taught, that there is no one above or below me. That is the essence of Democracy.

And I believe I can do the job, and I expect, as time goes on and the public grows tired of the typical political and media assassinations of character, people will understand that I am who I say I am, and that I am committed only to their well being as their representative in every facet of global and national concern.

I believe that the purpose and responsibility of the government is to serve the people first, and above all else. I dare anyone to fault me for that, and challenge their commitment to Democracy if they do.

In my mind, the real issue of the next Presidential election in this country is Democracy.

My commitment to Democracy and that nation goes even deeper than that. This is another one of those things that isn't really earth shattering or proof of anything. Frankly, I wouldn't know how to prove or disprove it. But it's something that's always stuck with me since the time I was a child, when I first took on the query of my responsibilities toward preserving and empowering Democracy. And I began that inquiry at a very young age.

My mother told me that Ulysses S. Grant was a great uncle of mine. I always thought that was a neat thing, to have a President in the family line. Considering that my grandfather was in the Spanish American War, and that my father was born in 1908, it seems a possibility to me. But whether it's true or not, as a child, it gave me a heritage to examine, acknowledge, and, being the namesake of my family and my father's eldest son, I felt the duty, weight, privilege and honor of carrying on the heritage of my family.

Like I've joked about many times, uncle Ulysses may have gotten drunk and fallen off his horse a few times, but he never betrayed Democracy. And, my favorite description of him regarding his presidency was that he was an incredibly honest man surrounded by incredibly dishonest people. That kind of integrity inspires me on a personal level. That, and his second inaugural address where he declared "Let us have peace". I believe his remark is relevant to this very day, for the very same reasons.

That has everything to do with my undertakings.

Interestingly enough, I find myself, at 48 at an interesting age, looking at the potential of retirement, weighing the options of what I'll loosely call the direction of my work until my retirement, the lessons and trappings of the "rat race", and witnessing the frustration and disillusionment of a new generation of people, young people, who are much like those in the 60's who protested the Military Industrial Complex described by President Eisenhower.

Back then, the mantra was "What kind of world will we leave our children?"

These days, the mood of the nation is more like "What must I do to survive?"

I blame our political leaders for that.

It is the responsibility of the president and other political leaders to set the tone for the values and conduct of a nation.

The example set is evident in our society, rampant with economic corruption, an increasing rate of violent crime, further provocation and aggravation of our national enemies and historical allies, and the perverse claim to representation of Christian values all the while turning their backs on those most in need, children who are most innocent and vulnerable, cold to the responsibility of government to provide a foundation upon which individual citizens can flourish, and the framework of a nation that clearly espouses as vital, with extensive historical evidence and precedent of the tyranny and oppression that occurs with the infusion of fundamentalist religion into any form of government, the separation of church and state.

The extremism that perversely and purposefully divides our people and erodes our nation's ability to administer justice is not the protestations and desperate pleas of the citizens, but is that of leaders who abuse the power and privilege of office and wealth to covertly, incrementally forward an agenda that Americans have not agreed to, and would not if the truth be known. 

But those few who believe that they have uniquely acquired all of the knowledge and wisdom to be found onthis planet, and thus, the answers to the problems of the nation and the world will be proven fools and a danger, as history would also support. The story of the Skull and Bones can easily explain the policies of the current administration.

The beauty and magic of Democracy is the diversity and expression of ideas: there is no single mold, and there is no single path to satisfaction and fulfillment, and no government or person has dominion over my spirit or beliefs or opinions.

Leaders who do not respect my inalienable, God-given rights deserve no respect from me.  They deserve my suspicion. They should know that they have caused it. They play on the fear of those who trust them, and mislead and flatter those who do not in order to deceive, or suppress and destroy the expression of those who refuse to acquiesce.

Those who most criticize what I have said will simply identify themselves as those who feel the need to defend the tactics I have described.

Because, once the platitudes and the political correctness and the polite way of handling things is stripped away, denying the existence of the practices I condemn would be the most brazen lie of all.

As critical as I am, I do not criticize in order to demean or demoralize or even to affix blame. With little exception, I will leave those duties up to others, and I am certain there will be no shortage in the supply of those who will fulfill them once a real leader has enough courage to tell the truth about the real dangers in America today.

The truth is, I have an incredible respect and reverence for anyone who seeks to put their ideas up for examination and use toward the betterment of society and for people. I simply ask that you consider the passion that compelled you to step forward, and reclaim the values you stood for when you did.

I am dismayed at the progress of campaign finance reform.  I believe, as Granny D has said over and over again... if you're interested in accomplishing anything, you've got to have campaign finance reform first. And she's right. And the finagling over the most sacred expression of Democracy is shameful.

The damage it has caused, and is causing, is alarming, and threatens the security of this nation more than any terrorist or foreign power or natural disaster could, because it threatens the fundamental unity of the American people, and that is traitorous.

I refuse, and you may consider this a challenge and a warning - I refuse to allow this country's resources and the efforts of its citizens to be sold at auction from beneath them. I refuse to allow a supposed leader to be the executor of our divestiture and distortion of our heritage. And I refuse to be deceived any longer.

Strong words I know. Not much "skinny room" on this subject;  that is as it should be, and I will never waiver in speaking my beliefs on this topic. I will not promise to contain my anger.

But I do promise to continually acknowledge that there are many fine people involved in the administration of our nation. And I acknowledge the difficulties of working inside a system that is compromised, and that it is a constant struggle to fight a battle against something you are forced to rely on. I am not naive.

But I know it must come to an end if we are to remain a nation of states united by choice and fundamental political ideologies.

Finally, I have purposely distanced my self from political parties, including the Democratic Party - so that they do not have to identify with or feign support for the issues and opinions I present. I do that because I know that what I am speaking of is a challenge to the status quo - a method of operating and rules which have been so mastered that they, too, have become a tool for subversion by loophole and semantical lie.

Alteration of those tools which are so relied on could equate to loss of political and economic advantage. It may well be controversial. And it will most certainly be opposed.

But, be advised, my opinions are not just those of my own. The American people are exhausted by the tricks of the trade, the media distortions, the hypocritical pandering and purposeful political division of our neighbors.

In historical terms, this can only lead to one of two things: the changing of the guard to a new generation and era of leadership that reclaims and reinstates the values of America that we were raised to believe were in place, and have come to view as a facade.

Or, Civil War. If you believe history repeats itself, and it does, all the indications are there. That is not my opinionof desire. It is a natural fact of humanity. It is a mandate of our constitution. And I believe there are those in our government who would welcome it.

We require leadership that is not entrenched in a political system that relies on quid pro quo and a conspiracy of silence regarding practices they would prefer not to employ. We need transparency that validates the honor and trust bestowed upon those elected.

And, a revealing of the past that frees us from the secrecy and dishonor of past excesses of power, and empowers us to move forward for humanity without fear of coercion or concentration of power that wrongly grants itself the right to act above law and ethics.

The revealing is not about smoothing things over or criminalization: it is about reminding the American people that power corrupts, and that we simply can not turn our backs on those to whom we place such great temptations and responsiblilty. That is a responsibility of citizenship, not an indictment or condemnation.

When you discover, regardless of my level of personal success in this endeavor, that this is the kind of leadership that Americans truly respect and honor, I hope you will join us. We'd actually prefer it if you do. We actually think you are all nice people deep down inside. Otherwise we wouldn't have voted for you.  But it's time to do the whole job, not just the parts that are easy and lead to glory and photo-ops.

You're either with us or against us. And you'll be against us until you're with us, and it appears that you are.

But we're a patient, persistent lot. And we didn't set the tone.

And, I - I am one stubborn individual, one of millions of majorities of one. I do not seek your support, I request that we find agreement, and the wisdom to recognize that one is not independent of the other.

The only thing left to do is to freely express what we believe in so that we understand that which we must, somehow, find a way to freely agree on.

There is always a way when people are willing. The only limits to possibility in the universe are self-imposed.

We have the power of our military, the strength of our economy, and the compassion and grace of a proud and capable people.  This is our time in history to make choices that turn the tide of history insofar as resisting the temptation to choose force over reason, a choice that has always led to ruin.

To embrace the the questions of justice in global integration, one must truly be willing to commit to mutually beneficial outcomes and opportunities. That is at the crux of the decisions that will determine a future of adversarial confrontation or a global community with a common egalitarian and humanitarian vision, of abundance for all or of privilege for few.

Expectations are high. It's time to choose. I pray we have the courage to show grace and humility in leading the world, and the wisdom to allow those virtues to set the example for ourselves and the rest of the world... that world we always say we want it to be.


FBI data shows crime 'holding steady' According to the preliminary data, violent crime declined 1.4 percent in 2002, while rape and murder increased 4 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.


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(C) 2002,2003-2009 Charles Rehn Jr IV  All rights reserved