Presidential Announcement Speech
by Jeffrey B. Peters
at the Washington D.C. National Press Club,
November 19, 1999
[remarks as prepared]
Good morning America. This is your friendly "wake-up" call. While you were "sleeping," big money from big corporations and big unions stole your democracy and your government. Now, it's time to "wake-up" and take back your country. We The People are the majority, and on election day 2000, we can take back our country by voting for a President who will achieve genuine campaign finance reform, which will return this government to you, the people. Abraham Lincoln once said: " this government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth." Now, you the people can prove him right!
Therefore, in this city where Founding Father George Washington placed the cornerstone for a new capitol as a symbol of national unity, I formally announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.
"No man is an island," and I could not be here today without the support of family and friends.
With all of the talk of big money corrupting our political system, the American people are looking for something that money can't buy. They are looking for integrity. They are looking for a leader they can trust and believe in. They are looking for someone who will stand up to big money and the special interests - someone who will do what's right for America. I am that person. I intend to earn your trust. Follow me, and together we can take back our country, and return this government to its rightful owners - you, the people. We The People, respecting our Constitution, can once again form a "more perfect union." So, I intend to be a candidate for national unity. And in that spirit, I will seek the Presidential nomination of We The People, The American People's Party - the new party appealing to the vast majority, those who have previously chosen not to vote, and those currently registered as independents. Together, they represent well over 2/3rds of the American people.
For those of you who are non-voters, I ask: "what would it take for you to vote again?" For those of you who are voters, I ask "are you tired of having to choose from the lesser of two evils? When was the last time you voted for someone for positive reasons because you believed in them and their ideas; and when was the last time you voted from your heart for someone who cared about what's important to you?" We The People intends to win your heart and your mind, and give you a positive reason to vote!
As we approach the New Millennium, let us remember the prophetic words of Abraham Lincoln, when he said "As our circumstances are new, let us think anew and act anew." In that spirit, and because my heroes include Democrat Jefferson as well as Republican Lincoln, and because I believe in the politics of reform and a clean green environment, I will "think anew and, act anew" by seeking the votes of disillusioned Democrats and repulsed Republicans, as well as Green and Reform Party members.
Some people will say: "How can you run a candidacy of national unity?"
My answer is simple, and goes straight to the Preamble of the Constitution:
- "We The People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Other people will say: "In this era of partisan politics, how can you seek the votes of so many different parties?"
- National unity will never be achieved until the country acts as one - that means Democrats, Republicans, and others, working together for the best interests of the country, not just for themselves.
Again, my answer is simple: by being a national unity candidate, and by waging the first nationwide "write-in" campaign for President! As I speak to you today, "write-in" pens are being produced for We The People. What better way to tell the political insiders that you don't want your Presidential candidate pre-selected by big-money and the special interests? Send a message to Washington by "writing-in" Peters for President, every chance you get, both in the primaries and the general election!
Since August of 1998, my wife Cici and I have traveled through nearly 30 states in our RV Camper with the words "We The People - Listening to Americans and Taking Action." Wherever we go we ask people, "What is the most important problem facing our country today?" and some people respond: health, education, or crime. But one of the most frequent replies has been: the corruption of our political system by big money from corporations, labor unions, and the wealthy. People say over and over again that "all politics are corrupt" and "most politicians are crooked." Citizens have told us that "big money has become the crack-cocaine of politics," and that "politicians, like dirty diapers, need changing." This disillusionment with our political system has led to some of the lowest voter turnout in history: for example, in 1998, nearly 2/3rds of the American people did not vote in the US House and Senate elections.
So, as a solution to the problem of political corruption, We The People are committed to taking big money out of politics and putting you, the people, back in charge, because it's our country, yours and mine, and we want it back! Comprehensive campaign finance reform and direct democracy will be the cornerstone of this campaign for our country, because We the People are dedicated to a rebirth of democracy all across America.
In addition to campaign finance reform and direct democracy, the platform of We The People is percolating from the bottom up, not dictated from the top-down. To percolate means to be active, to be changing, to be fresh, to be alive. Dictate is staid, arbitrary, and confining. Which would you rather have?
Percolating is a new approach with new ideas. Dictate is an old approach with old ideas. A new approach for a new millennium - that's what We The People is all about! So please visit our web site at: www.WeThePeople-WTP.org and vote in our national referendum. Tell us what you believe is the number one problem facing our country today and share any suggested solution you might have. In this way, you can directly participate in creating the platform of We The People.
We The People's mission is to revive the Spirit of America:
We The People propose a new Code of Honor for all Americans, including our political leaders:
- the great spirit of love that Thomas Jefferson wrote, and I quote: "Love your neighbor as yourself, and love your country more than yourself!"
- the great spirit of honesty that causes Abraham Lincoln to stand tall among the heroes of America;
- the great spirit of exemplary action, symbolized by Martin Luther King's leadership of the civil rights movement; and by Granny D's inspirational walk across America on behalf of meaningful campaign finance reform. I walked with Granny D for a week in Texas, and We The People will walk with Granny D when she arrives in Washington, DC on January 24th, 2000 to celebrate her 90th birthday, with a massive demonstration in favor of clean money campaign finance reform, on the steps of the US Capitol.
Consistent with this new Code of Honor, I am the first Presidential candidate to endorse the Campaign Code of Conduct developed by "Healthy Campaigns for Healthy Communities." Its imperatives are: "Be Respectful, Be Honest, and Be Constructive." I challenge and encourage my fellow Presidential candidates to endorse this Campaign Code of Conduct, and to follow it in their campaigns.
- First, "Tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may. Your word is your bond."
- Second, "Do the right thing, always." Be willing to explain the difference between right and wrong, as you see it.
- Third, as Thomas Jefferson advised, "Love your country more than yourself." Never put your personal interests above the best interests of your country. Always ask the question: What's best for America, and for all Americans? Let the answer to that question guide your behavior, without exception.
So, this campaign of We The People is going to be a different kind of campaign. This will be a campaign for our country. If it doesn't serve the best interests of America, and if it isn't fun, we won't do it. Did he say fun? Yes, politics used to be fun, and we're going to make it fun again. And fun means music. That's why We The People already has its first cassette of patriotic music from John Philip Souza's "Stars and Stripes" to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." The title song of the tape is, "Nosotros Si, We Can Change the World," recorded by former Sony recording artist Yamira Santielli. Her latest CD is entitled "Live Your Dreams," and that's what we encourage you to do by joining We The People - live your dreams by fulfilling the promise of America, which is the American Dream for each and every American!
Ours will be an alternative, common sense campaign - campaigns are too long and cost too much, so understandably, the people get bored and "tune out." Today, November 19th is the last day to file for the New Hampshire Primary, so that's why I'm formally announcing my candidacy today. I have already filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State and I will be on the February 1st primary ballot of the Democratic Party. However, in my opinion, primaries should not begin before April first and should last for only two months. Then, the candidates should take summer vacation with their family, just like the rest of the American people, and the conventions would begin during the week after Labor Day. The General Election campaign would be conducted during the two month period leading up to the November election day. All credible candidates, as evidenced by a reasonable number of voter signatures on a petition, would receive free access to TV and radio during both the two month primary and the two month general election periods. Let's bring back real choices to our elections, and then, "Let the people decide!"
An innovative, common sense campaign - that's why we're going to run a lower cost campaign based on our Internet site www.WeThePeople-WTP.org and our person-to-person visits in the We The People Campaign Bus. We intend to earn massive free media attention with this approach, but we need your help. Talk to your family, friends, and neighbors and call us with your media contacts toll free at 1-877-WeThePeople. We are limiting campaign contributions to the amount an average American citizen can afford - $100 per person. By the way, do you remember whose picture is on the $100 bill? It's Benjamin Franklin who symbolizes innovation and frugality. What a perfect symbol for We The People's frugal and innovative campaign for our country!
How can We The People win this upcoming Presidential election? What is the historical basis for a third party candidate winning the Presidency? Most importantly, who was the last third party candidate to win the Presidency?
The answer is Abraham Lincoln in 1860 with 39% of the vote. The two party system of the time included the Democrats and the Whigs, both of whom favored slavery. The new third party was the Republican Party, whose Presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln, opposed slavery. It only took 39% of the vote to win in that multi-candidate race. But you say, 1860 was 140 years ago, and politics have changed since then.
That's true, but 1998 is recent history, and in the Minnesota governor's race, a third party candidate beat two household names. Hubert Humphrey and the mayor of St. Paul were defeated by Jesse Ventura, again with approximately 39% of the vote.
In 1998, nationwide, almost 2/3 of the American people didn't vote - that's 66%. Win just over ½ of the non-voters, and you get 39% of the vote - the same 39% that propelled Abraham Lincoln to victory in 1860. So this is the strategy for We The People's victory in 2000 - like Abraham Lincoln, take an issue that the two party system won't deal with - slavery in his time and campaign finance bribery in our time. And then ride that issue to victory with 39% of the vote.
I know that to some of you, this strategy may sound "far fetched." But remember, miracles can and do happen - witness the end of US slavery, the election of the first Catholic President, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the end of apartheid in South Africa. As Abraham Lincoln said, "Let us have faith, that right makes might, and in that faith, let us dare to do our duty as we understand it."
You the people, need to find your voice again - the voice of dreams and ideals and cooperation - and together, we need to rebuild this great country. Dreams are interesting things, they can be small, intimate, no larger than one's wallet, or they can be large, involving one's country and trying with all one's heart and soul to make a positive difference, to work for change, to help other people find their voice.
Instead of fighting each other, we must work together - the process is never complete and it takes hard work and commitment. I am committed to that process - but, I cannot do it alone - you, the people must have the strength and interest to be leaders. I can and I will be your voice, if you allow me. But, you must be bold and brave, and realize that your vote does count! We all need to be leaders in our own lives and in our own communities - and, each in our own way!
This campaign for our country is not about one man, it is about the soul of our country and giving it back to its true owners - the People, We the People, You the People, all of us!
So let's start small, and think big; let's think future, and act now. Let's start in harmony and stay in harmony, and together we can and we will take charge of America's future. And remember, the future you save may well be your own, so let's go for it!