Meeting Governor Weld reaffirmed my support for the Johnson/Weld ticket

Charming. Informed. Highly, highly intelligent. Down to earth. Easy to talk to. I was thinking of words to use to describe Governor Bill Weld as I drove back from Lewiston today, and that’s the list I came up with in the first minute or so.

Governor Bill Weld and I at the Lewiston Johnson/Weld campaign office.  It's a picture taken with my phone -- was supposed to be my first selfie, but a kind soul saved me from my incompetence!

Governor Bill Weld and I at the Lewiston Johnson/Weld campaign office. It’s a picture taken with my phone — was supposed to be my first selfie, but a kind, young soul saved me from my incompetence!

Yes, I am still supporting the Johnson/Weld ticket. No, the idea that I, Trish Callahan, could start an apocalypse by not casting a vote for Clinton holds no sway with me. It’s a conscience thing.

There have been presidential elections in which I’ve felt like I was voting for the lesser of two evils or perhaps, the stronger of two weak leaders. This election, though, when I try to imagine standing in a poll booth and marking a vote for either of the two major party candidates, I just can’t complete the thought.

Like, if there weren’t third party candidates, I don’t think I could vote to fill that office at all. I imagine my right hand fighting with my left, trying to force the left hand to vote, to no avail. Thank goodness for the Johnson/Weld ticket, or I might have found myself stuck indefinitely in a booth on Nov. 8 working through a major existential struggle.

And thank goodness I got a chance to meet Weld in person. I’ve watched quite a few clips of their interviews and forums on Youtube, and I was curious to see if Weld presented the same in person as he does speaking to major media outlets.

Weld had scheduled time at the Lewiston Johnson/Weld campaign office this morning, and I had a chance to chat with him, one on one.

Weld was dressed as casually as he spoke right down to the well-worn brown work boots. He wasn’t surprised by the recently released lewd comments of Republican candidate Donald Trump, and said Trump had “repeatedly disqualified himself from the office,” not the least of which being his stance on nuclear proliferation.

Weld explained that he participated with a council of former world leaders that meets around the world, and because of these experiences and conversations, he firmly believes “nuclear proliferation is number one” when it comes to international issues. Weld condemned Trump’s rhetoric regarding our treaties and alliances, especially NATO, quipping that Trump didn’t seem to understand “that some thought went into that stuff!”

Regarding recent awkward media moments for Governor Johnson, like the “What’s Aleppo” moment, Weld said “snap quizzes are less important than getting policy right,” and he and Johnson have been advocating that it’s been “wrong-headed” to get involved in “regime change.”

I admired that Weld was willing to include moral consequences to the list of unintended consequences of recent U.S. foreign policy — unintended consequences like the arms our country supplied to rebels in Syria landing in ISIS hands. Weld said “we paid a moral price as well as a military price” after the Iraq invasion, fallout from which eventually “led to the situation in Syria.”

Weld described Johnson as a “deep thinker, a deep person,” and spoke with pleasure about their time together on the campaign trail. His charm and sense of humor bubbled up as he smiled and affirmed “we can take the heat; we don’t mind, and we know every day isn’t Christmas.” Then he went on to describe this contest as a javelin throw, and said he and Johnson were well aware that their team had “elected to receive.”

We chatted about education being a key part of solving any number of social and economic challenges facing our country. The subject of the polarized dysfunction in Washington came up as well. I said my primary interest in their ticket was because I keep wondering if our elected officials could just agree to a problem, sit down and have a conversation to find areas of agreement that would lead to working toward a solution.

Weld said that as things stand, the “answer to your question would be, no,” and he went on, reaffirming my sense that the Johnson/Weld ticket could create a different political climate.

Besides the two parties hating and not listening to each other, Weld spoke to the disconnect in Washington, where leaders are so far removed from the people they represent. As two term Republican governors in traditionally Democratic states, Weld said he and Johnson served “right in front of the people” where “you can’t fake it.” Not only were they governors who valued their direct connection with and obligation to their constituents, they also valued working with both sides of the aisle in their legislatures.

Weld said he and Johnson have actually accomplished the kind of things Washington needs; and they are ready to apply their experience in Massachusetts and New Mexico on the national and international level. He hopes “voters will think for themselves” because if they do, “a good case can be made for the balanced policies and experience” the Johnson/Weld ticket has to offer.

Weld said they offered more than just hope and promises adding, “hope and promises are not a plan.”

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

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