I want my first selfie to be with Gary Johnson

Gosh darn it! For the first time in months I had something political to be excited about —hearing that Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are coming to Lewiston on Friday! Unfortunately that excitement crashed with the excitement of finally finding an apartment, involving time consuming arrangements.

By the time I investigating attending (Monday), the event was booked. That led me to reach out to Joe Steinberger of Rockland. I remember reading that he was involved in the Johnson/Weld campaign in Maine.

Steinberger was kind enough to take the time to talk to me, which was a pleasure. He also connected me with the regional director for the campaign who graciously promised to let me know if a slot opened up. I emailed back a thank you and pleaded that I’d even settle for five minutes with either candidate before or after the event, maybe grab a selfie.

I’ve never taken one before and that would be a really cool way to start. Keep your fingers crossed!

Anyway, begging aside, Steinberger and I talked about our mutual relief to have found an alternative in this travesty of a presidential election cycle. As Steinberger said, the Johnson/Weld ticket “is a real alternative, with real governing experience.” Johnson is a two term governor of New Mexico, and Bill Weld is an extremely popular two term governor from Massachusetts.

Both are moderate Republicans. Their spiel is that they are fiscally conservative and socially progressive, sensibilities Steinberger and I share. He and I talked about this team’s potential to craft the path to a common ground for the left and the right, something that I don’t believe could possibly happen with either Trump or Clinton.

Steinberger believes in “the enormous potential for people on the right and the left to find common ground,” but that will not happen if the two parties maintain their status quo of corruption and “serving big money interests.” Steinberger also believes that reaching our potential will start “by talking to each other.”

We agreed that, while the digital world and social media have so much to offer society, shifting our focus almost completely to these mediums has been to the detriment of our interpersonal communications — even our very thinking. Steinberger says he plans to spread the message about the Johnson/Weld ticket the old-fashioned way, and has done a dry run already.

Steinberger donned campaign garb, and armed with flyers, he “talked to people on the streets” in Rockland. He loved it.

During our conversation, the word reasonable kept coming up in reference to the nature of the Johnson/Weld team and their policies. Steinberger seemed pretty reasonable, too, and I think that’s what most Americans are looking for in our highest elected office. Reasonable people with governing experience who express themselves in ways that reflect they are and will continue to be effective leaders.

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t actually agree with every single position of their platform. Love the idea of getting rid of the Department of Education in its current form, but I need to think more about their defense of trade agreements. I’ve watched a bunch of Youtube videos and heard the candidates reference that trade itself isn’t the problem — they say the crony, corporate capitalism driving markets currently is the problem.

I agree with their position that we should be more selective about the when’s, where’s, why’s and how’s of military intervention and that Congress should be more involved in these decisions. It’s hard to disagree with their assertion that some of our foreign policy decisions have had the unintentional results of making the world less safe.

I personally tend to agree with their viewpoints more than disagree, and I would encourage readers to give them a listen and gauge yourselves on that continuum.

I don’t expect to agree with any single person on every single thing every single time, anyway, whether it’s someone close to me or an elected official. One of the things I find most compelling about these gentlemen is they don’t expect to be agreeing with everyone all the time either.

More than once in the interviews I’ve watched, I’ve heard Johnson assert an opinion, then quip about “not running to be dictator,” though. He usually continues by saying obviously they’ll be working with Congress to try to reach consensus about the best ways to move our country forward. I’ve heard both Johnson and Weld speak about wanting to work hire in their cabinet/work with members of both parties, which would enable the discovery of that common ground Steinberger and I talked about.

Imagine a Washington D.C. where politicians talk to each other to make decisions that move our country forward. It’s hard to imagine such a sane outcome after the insanity of this presidential election mess, but count me among those who are hoping it can happen.

(Part two of the town hall above.)

Click here for a link to part three.

Click here for a link to part four.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.