THE MIRACLE TRAIL ----------- Feedback Box:
God's Fellowship on the Campaign Trail
March 2, 2000 AD
Now I have about $100 in contributed cash, and $300 in pledges.
This is in response to a mailing which cost me $100, to friends, family, and P&A friends. The mailing included my Campaign Plan, about 4 pages.
Notice that $400 didn't come in yet. Only $100, the amount I had spent. It came in when I needed it, not before. This pattern has continued from this point on: just as I saw a need, and thought I would have to go deeply in debt for it, more money came in, without further solicitation on my part!
(For non-Christian readers: supplies which arrive just as they are needed is a typical way God provides for His Children whose faith is in the Luke 12 promise that if we "seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.")
With this assurance of a good start, I called Republican Headquarters (Iowa office) to let them know I'm running. Two months earlier I had called them to see who was running, and they had answered, "no one". It had then been my hope that I might be involved in someone else's campaign, doing what I could to really organize my own precinct. I had envisioned holiday-related events which I could imbue with spiritual values. I was able to think of several events involving colorful symbols which would draw people, such as Easter egg hunts, maypoles, May baskets, etc, but the only ones I could think of were anti-Christian. Meanwhile as Washington's Birthday approached, it struck me that here was a wonderful story possibility: the story of God's miraculous deliverance of George Washington from the bullets of indian warriors. So I began calling caucus goers (In Iowa, the "First in the Nation" caucus is held about the first of February) for support of a "lit drop" (literature placed in every door in the area. When my goal was a precinct, that meant about 500 doors. Now that my goal is a state representative district, that means about 10,000).
about the same time I began planning the "Bulletproof Washington" article, the Southside Shopper, after 40 years of just ads, turned back into a newspaper! Mostly "soft", school and neighborhood news. Dave Ortega, the last election's candidate for State Representative, reminded me about it and suggested I approach them. I did. After a few tense days as the deadline approached and their response dragged, as I continued my own distribution plans as a backup, it was finally done: they reprinted it.
Dorothy says a "miracle" is something which absolutely could not have happened in the natural. But when Jesus told the sea to be calm, and it did, it wasn't such an unnatural thing for a sea to become calm. The miracle was the timing. Such it was when God opened up a brand new newspaper which was not yet hardened to an article which glorified God.
Back to March 2. When I called the Republican Headquarters (state) to let them know I was running, the district having no other candidates as of the last time I checked, I was told there were two others! They were Ken Richards, and Ryan McCarty. Had I known their intentions two weeks earlier, it would not have occurred to me to run, myself, but rather I would have supported them and just concentrated on my own precinct. But now that I already had money coming in, I considered again. The Republican contact suggested that a candidate has a better chance in November if he has had a victory in a Primary election. If there is no primary contest, the candidate goes into the November election with no "track record", no "wins" under his belt. So even if I lose in the primary, I will help the winner more than if I just drop out now. But by this point a vision had been growing of how it might even be "realistic" to hope for, and work for, winning. But even without that hope, I saw much stronger opportunities for evangelization through running, than through not running.
Meanwhile, I wanted to continue writing for the South Des Moines Press Citizen, both because I had much I wanted people to know, and now for the additional reason of building name recognition before the election.
I called Kim Gordon, director of Iowa Right to Life Committee, for an interview about her "Women's Right to Know Act", her bill in the legislature which requires abortion customers to wait 24 hours before an abortion, from the time they are told where they can get information about abortion alternatives. I called Gordon for the purpose of publishing an analysis in the South Des Moines Press Citizen.
She gave me information, and then reviewed my article, sending back corrections. Since then we've gone over about four drafts that way.
The significance of all this is that a door seemed to be creaking open which had felt closed by the previous media mess when Planned Barrenhood's Jill June told everybody how I wasn't fit to associate with, and everybody chose her over me. It felt good to work together with a "mainstreamer" again. I started feeling a little more normal again.
My son contributed another $100 to my campaign! Now it's official! I have now received the most coveted endorsement any father could imagine!
I had left a message for Scott Coltrain, Chair of the Polk County Republicans, that I was running. I wanted him to know because I knew that at the County Convention, which was tomorrow, each candidate traditionally gets a 2 minute speech. (I didn't remind him of that.) Tonight he called me and told me he would give me that. I thanked him, but also told him about the other two candidates, which he didn't know about. I gave him the phone numbers which the state HQ had given me. Had I not told him, I don't think he would have been able to introduce them tomorrow, except to say "Is there anyone I missed?"
I gave my speech at the Polk County Convention: I appealed to Christians, whose real reason for their positions is the Bible, to let the public know that.
A "streaming" video of that speech is posted on my website, panews.org. Here is its text:
"For specifics about me, refer to our Uncle Ed. Show on channel 15, our print magazine, Prayer & Action News, our website, panews.org, my weekly column in South Des Moines Press Citizen, Who's Who in Media & Communications, or call me.
"Our Founding Fathers didn't want laws forcing church attendance or tithing. But they took Freedom of Religious Expression seriously. They quoted the Bible in public more than any other person or book. When Congressmen were deciding how to vote, they whipped out their Bibles and searched out God's Will together, right out there in the middle of politics!
"Politics is where we decide which sins to prohibit, and which sins to protect. Abortion, sodomy, pornography, gambling, drugs: shall we prohibit them, or protect them? I cannot imagine what can be left of any Gospel which has nothing to say about these sins!
"Many of us are here today to stand passionately for positions, our loyalty to which was not inspired by our logic, but by God's Word. But what reason do we give the public for our positions? Every reason but the One that inspired us! I think it's time to get ready to "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15
"You say 'We can't all of a sudden start giving glory to God. That will just destroy our credibility, and then we won't be able to do any good for Jesus.'
"If you try to save the glory for your own logic, removed from the very foundation of your logic, you will not persuade. You will look odd.
"Psalm 91:8 promises that we who trust the Lord will see victory over evil with our own eyes. Claim that promise with me! Hallelujah!"
Besides the media mess, there is another "albatross" I carry around my neck all the time. When I give speeches, I talk like I just described. I mention God. I mention the Bible. Sometimes I even say "Jesus". Unthinkable! Scandalous!
I ran 10 years ago for the same office in another district. I talked that way then. Friends approached me afterwards, "Now Dave", they would say sympathetically, "If you can just shut up about Jesus, then you can get elected, and they you can do some good." I expected that again.
But something was different. Before I gave my speech, I struck up a conversation with another delegate, who didn't even seem all that religious, and finally got up the nerve to show him my speech. He liked it! Wow! I had found surely the only man in the city who would praise such a statement! Another delegate behind me pried, so I showed him. He liked it two! What was wrong?
Now who is the very LAST person you would expect would endorse my speech? Planned Slaughterhood's Jill June, you say? Nice try, but think of who would be even less likely. Fidel Castro? Close. But I really think the closer you are to somebody ideologically, the more likely they are to trash you, in their own defense. Bitter enemies like Castro, June, Clinton, and Tito don't take you seriously and are only amused by you. But those closest to you are the most concerned that you might actually hurt them, by being associated with you by the Commie Club.
In other words, the commie borts might say how flaky you are, and associate you with others like you, calling them just as flaky as you, all of you being a bunch of Bible people. Pretty awful thing to happen.
So try a little harder to figure out who endorsed me that day. Look for the least likely person to endorse you, and your only clue so far is that it had to be a Republican. "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own town and country."
Ken Richards was introduced after I was. Scott had reached him by phone the night before and given him warning so he could think of what to say. In the middle of his speech, he stopped and said he agreed with my statements!
Talk about breaking the spell spun by the media mess! I think a lot of my enemies must have felt very disoriented. I certainly was!
I made a videotape of my speech. Later I prepared a web version of it. You can watch and listen to me giving that speech at panews.org. Click on my nose, and select the Speech from my Literature Table.
March 5 Sunday I visited the Nazarene church on the corner. I asked Pastor Tinker if I might address his church board again, which he had graciously permitted me to do a few years ago about a similar vision, to which they were sympathetic, but there was no campaign then. I want to tell the pastor I am running on the theme that politics doesn't work without Christianity, and that's not how our founding fathers meant it to work.
He said the board meeting next Sunday would be too short, but we can start thinking about the meeting April 1.
At the board meeting, I want to present my vision, and tell them I love nothing more than searching the Scriptures with others, and that as part of my campaign I would love to have Bible studies about political issues. Either in individual homes with a few neighbors, or during a Sunday School class, or any other time in the church. I will be doing literature drops, so if any church event is scheduled a month ahead, I could promote it in my literature and hopefully draw more neighbors into your church. I would be happy to invite the other two candidates to participate.
I met two Family Music Center customers there, and met a couple more.
Thursday March 16
I turned in my petitions with 60 names on them. (In order to get on the ballot, you have to turn in a petition signed by residents of the area where you are running. A State Representative candidate only needs 50 signatures.)
I got an accompanying affidavit notarized according to the requirements, and took them to the Secretary of State's office at the State Capitol. That was just after 10 a.m. The deadline is the following day at 5 p.m. As of the previous day, the other two Republican candidates hadn't filed! The Democratic incumbent had filed 3 days earlier. Then I went to the Secretary of State's other office, another building away (about 3 blocks) to order lists of registered voters. Cost: $56, plus $20 to receive updates every 2 weeks. (I have to pick them up in person, or pay $9 for delivery each time, and pay $5 for each update.) The diskette will be ready in about 4 days.
Friday March 17
Deadline for turning in petitions. Only Ken Richards had turned his in with mine; the third candidate had dropped out.
Thursday March 23
I picked up the voter registration lists, which cost $77. The disk didn't work, so I had to drive back again the next day to get another copy. Actually that didn't work either, so a copy was emailed me. It is designed to be opened by Excel, a computer program packaged with every new PC. But I had erased mine, in my effort to remove programs I wasn't using. In the process of opening it up with another program, I made a mistake which caused only the last three digits of addresses to come up! This caused us several hours of extra work, to correct as much as we could, and a several returns for incorrect addresses. Dorothy handled the corrections, and did such an outstanding job that out of some 3,000 postcards mailed later, only about 100 cards were returned by the post office, and I think less than a dozen were returned because of a missing digit in the address!
I ordered 1,000 red, white, and blue balloons with my photograph surrounded by "Vote Dave Leach for State Representative", for about $185. (Later they came in with other colors than I had ordered, in consideration of which the dealer, without my asking, gave me a partial refund check.)
Part 1 of "Women's Right to Know Act" was printed. To date, editoress Theresa Stahl graciously reprinted my first article "Bulletproof George Washington", and my two-part analysis of the Marriage Covenant Bill, and now this.
It turned out this was to be the last she would use of my articles. It was disorienting, because at first I marvelled that she was so willing to use everything I submitted, and later I had to marvel that she used nothing. The challenge was to get into her mind to see what she wanted. I often offered to abide by any writers' guidelines she cared to articulate, but she gave none.
I think I figured out the problem, though, and after the election, especially if I win, I will try again. I think she wants light, breezy articles which don't offend anybody; I can take a stand against some economic problem, which might offend a couple of bankers but otherwise doesn't generate much passion. I can even take a stand analyzing a current abortion bill. But parts 2 and 3 of the abortion article, which she didn't reprint, presented a Biblical approach to politics which she perhaps thought wouldn't go down that easily with the morning coffee. Later I sent her some political humor which she rejected, but maybe she isn't a connoisseur of political humor and misread it for insults.
Maybe next I'll send an article on the Magna Carta and 1 Samuel 10:25, whose anniversary is June 15, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, whose anniversary is July 17.
Saturday April 8
"Let's Meet Over Pizza" was how I advertised this event. I mailed nearly 3,000 postcards to Republicans with a copy of the same ad I published in the newspaper, except that what I mailed was in color.
Regina Dinwiddie and "Sammy" drove up from Kansas City. Regina MC'd. Our band, "The Uncle Ed. Show Millennium Band", played. Steve and Kay Stroh came (Rescue friends), the Kurtinitus and Davis families came (from our home Bible studies), Val Carroll, a retired musician friend living way out of our district but sympathetic with the cause, came. Only two people came who weren't part of the show, and who lived in the district. Vern & Jean Brown. In other words, all the advertising we did turned out two people.
And yet the room was fairly full, and we made a video of it which we broadcast on my show, in which the camera played over the crowd making it look like there were almost no empty seats.
From the beginning, my dual purpose for the event was not only the event itself, but an interesting reason to send postcards to Republicans. I was disappointed at the non-turnout, but the other purpose, I believe, had been well served; plus the impression that went out on TV was of a successful event. Actually the money that came in that night wasn't that bad. I am grateful to all who came!
There were speeches from Regina Dinwiddie, Steve Stroh, John Harvey, and my opponent, Ken Richardson. Oh yeah, and me. But mine didn't amount to much. Sammy spoke some. The speeches were so good they were embarrassing. They were full of praise about me. While all of it was entirely true, still it was uncomfortable hearing it. If nothing else, I think the people giving the speeches encouraged each other, as well as everyone present, to get a little more behind my campaign.
MIRACLE #4 Saturday, April 15
Noah Hutchings hosts the Southwest Radio Church, a ministry about as old as I am, which has had its program at 12:30 PM on KDMI radio since I was a boy. Prophecy is compared with current events. Often current political issues are studied in the light of Scripture; for example, gun control. Sometimes hoaxes are exposed; for example, the Hole to Hell drilled by a Soviet oil team near the border with Finland. (They lowered a microphone into the 4,000 degree heat and heard such terrible screams that many of the workers fled, or details to that effect.)
Anyway, Noah Hutchings came to Des Moines today. He had a hotel meeting room rented. The first preparatory miracle was that it was a lousy turnout! Less than 200 people! Maybe only 100; I counted at the time, but don't remember. The benefit for my purpose was that I had opportunity to talk to him, and he had leisure to listen, during one of the breaks!
I showed him a letter I JUST HAPPENED TO HAVE completed just about the day before, to be addressed to pastors of Des Moines churches (about 300), asking them some rhetorical questions about whether the Gospel had anything to say about political issues, and telling them I wanted to share their answers with Des Moines: through my TV show, and/or website, and/or a "Washington was Right" rally.
My purpose in showing it to him was the hope of advice about how it might more effectively slice through what I have called the Pastor Barrier, the inertia that censors the Gospel in public discussion of what principles society chooses to govern itself.
He read it, and said "It looks good."
At that moment a bolder purpose occurred to me, and I asked him, "would you consider a letter of concurrence [endorsement] which could be sent to churches on your list?"
He said yes! He said I should call him about it next week!
Many pastors have been very supportive of me off the record. But only rarely has any pastor supported me publicly. Words of support are cheap, so long as they remain anonymous. But here is Noah Hutchings, a national figure with a show on hundreds of radio stations around the world, telling a perfect stranger he will write an endorsement of his letter! Unheard of courage! Miraculous! This is the kind of decisiveness one expects in the highest circles of business or politics, but not church leadership!
(The difference is that someone in business or politics would consider the question of endorsing a letter as an endorsement of just that letter. Thus one need read only that letter, and know nothing more, before making the decision whether it ought to be endorsed. American church pastors, by contrast, by some thinking process whose origins I have yet to determine, think they are being asked to endorse the entire person, with special emphasis on whatever denominational leanings he holds, and whether he has a good reputation among leaders of their denomination. The content of the actual letter to be endorsed has only secondary importance.)
As I waited for the week to pass, it occurred to me that my original thought had been for a letter of support which I could mail to churches on his own mailing list. But no, that would mean him giving me his mailing list. Rather unlikely! Certainly too much to expect or suggest! The only other way copies could go to churches on his list would be for him to mail them himself, which would be too much labor and expense on his part for me to suggest or expect.
That left a simple open ended letter which I might send to all churches. Which is what I finally focused on, as I prepared to call him again.
Wednesday, April 19
The rest of the miracle! I called twice, the second time leaving a message on his voicemail. I reminded him of his offer, and of his invitation to call him again at this time.
He called an hour later. Somehow I don't take it for granted that it is very easy to get through to that man! But he really called me! He called to assure me that he had already dictated the letter, and it would be in the mail the next day!
Of all the endorsements I have ever received, this one encouraged me more profoundly than any other. This one went to the heart of the very issue at the heart of all I have worked for during the past two decades!
I tried to pinpoint what was unique about what he did. After all, others have stood with me, without waiting to double check every detail about me that might embarrass them should others associate us together. Was it because he is the most famous of all who have expressed such confidence in me?
The essence of the miracle, as I perceive it, is not about me.
For 22 years, I have struggled against the barriers to Christian involvement in solutions to the evils identified in pastor's sermons.
Most of the barriers are put up by pastors, mostly because of theologies of "association" and "separation". If you have a message you need a pastor to announce or support, the second thing pastors, in general, consider is the message. The first is the messenger. You need to be blue ribbon, choice grade A, in favor with God and men, or at least with men. If the pastor doesn't "agree with" any detail of your credentials, your message had better be awfully insignificant if you want to get it through.
Contrast this mentality with that of a petition. Before people sign petitions, they read the message. They don't check the credentials of the person giving them the petition!
But Dr. Noah Hutchings did something I have never seen a pastor do. After he looked over the letter, and saw its questions were good, he didn't ask a single question about me! Not even when I asked for a letter of endorsement to which he agreed! He had the mentality of signing a petition: he endorsed the message, not the messenger!
How grateful every Christian should be that God judges this way too! God wants us to preach Him, which of course means that those who hear our preaching will associate us with God! God isn't embarrassed! God doesn't say "look, you sinful preacher, if people see us together how are they going to respect Me? How are they going to believe I am Holy, if I am associating with the likes of you? So why don't you just keep quiet about our friendship, and when I want people to know something about Me I'll tell them myself."
God publicly associates with you and I, even at our worst; but most preachers won't publicly associate with us until a thorough investigation has verified our credentials are top notch.
In Dr. Noah Hutchings' response to me, I saw the Image of God. Genesis 1:27. If there was any hesitation at all in his response, it was so brief, so subtle, that I would have to imagine that I sensed it.
I can imagine I saw in his eyes just the glimmer of hesitation, knowing indeed he did not know me; and knowing others might associate him with things I have said outside the letter, which he opposes, but about which he is ignorant. But if that was his thought, it must have been instantly suppressed by the determination that this is not the Biblical way to judge associations. His letter endorsed the questions in my letter, and nothing else; no one has any right to presume any more.
The other question which might have occurred to him, in that moment of hesitation which I cannot verify but which I can imagine, is a check of the Spirit.
What Dr. Noah Hutchings gave me was not mere personal validation! He gave me a powerful tool for overcoming the "association barrier" keeping Christians inspired by sermons from stopping the evils identified in sermons.
When his letter arrived, I finally reached a point in my life.
There comes a point where you just have to give up and acknowledge "Jesus is Lord! Jesus is answering prayers! Even if nothing else happened good, what has already happened is enough to fill eternity with my gratitude! But if Jesus can do and was willing to do this, why am I still worrying what Jesus might not do next? There is no longer any justification for even the slightest doubt!"
At an April 1 workshop for candidates, I had talked to David Yepson, Des Moines Register Political Writer, about whether the cooperation between Ken and I would be a story angle. He had been intrigued, and had suggested I call reporter John Zelnik. He had said to wait until the session of the legislature is over, which was just winding down about now.
Today, I just left a message for Zelnik, that an example of our working together would be our Uncle Ed. Show, in which Ken appears, speaking at my rally. The show airs tomorrow, April 22nd.
April 22 Sodomy Issue Enters the Stage
This is a miracle of timing! Des Moines Register Staff Opinionist, Borsellino, wrote that the City Council now has the vote it needs to impose Sodomite Civil Rights on Des Moines! He explained that two years ago, it failed by one vote; but one year ago, Archie Brooks returned to the Council, and now he is "leaning" towards voting for it. Councilwoman Chris Hensley, the article said, planned to bring the measure to a vote within a month!
Bad news, right? Wrong! God could not have put me in a much better position to stop it! Ken and I were both, just at that very time, making our final decisions what to say in our 10,000 piece literature drop, and our area was about one half of Archie Brooks' area! In other words, half Brooks' constituents, the folks whose votes Brooks needs, were our constituents!
Ken and I had been discussing a joint piece of literature. Because of the information I believed needed to be distributed to address this new issue, including a lengthy Bible study, Ken and his advisers decided that was too much for a single piece, so we printed separately. Actually we ended up distributing together; each of us passed out the other's literature with our own.
This announcement also came in time for me to incorporate it into my letter to Des Moines pastors! In addition to the literature drop on the South Side, urging people to ask Archie Brooks not to vote for that abomination, now I could challenge pastors across Des Moines to take a stand.
I talked to ArchieBrooks, Des Moines City Councilman who is "considering" supplying the vote needed to give us sodomite civil rights. I was nearly finished with my articles urging people to call Brooks and urge him not to vote for it, and now I needed to double check whether he had indeed been reported correctly in the newspaper. I also needed, if possible, to run by him my strongest objections, to see if he had an answer I hadn't thought of.
I gave him 3 specific concerns:
<> it would be a crime to "incite" disobedience to the law. I thought that might apply to any pastor who preaches against Sodomy from the Bible. I should have added "and who concludes that knowingly hiring a sodomite is sin." He thought that might be an unlikely thing to prosecute for, "but go on".
<> the exemption for churches only applies when they can show a bonafide religious purpose. I surmised that would exempt a church when hiring an assistant pastor, but not when hiring for maintenance. He said he didn't know; he hadn't seen the law. I said I was going by the one that was considered 2 years ago.
<> the concern that applies to everybody: of course a gay who doesn't act like a gay can rent or work anywhere he likes. It is only those with recognizably gay behavior who are helped by this law, and such behavior I would characterize as openly and continually advertising his sexual appetites. Employers who need help dealing with customers would have to hire people who continually advertise their sexual appetites, which not only is crummy business, but for Christians who believe it is sin, would be suppression of their religious expression.
Although this third point is the one anyone with the least inkling of civil rights law understands without needing to see the wording of the proposal, Archie replied that he hadn't seen the law, so he wouldn't try to debate me on its details. When he has a proposal in front of him, then he can talk about it.
I said the Register article said Chris Hensley had indicated she would put it on the agenda within a month. Archie said, not before they pass around a copy of it.
Actually there is no reason to imagine the copy would be any different than the one developed 2 years ago, which was prepared with much discussion and bravado by the Des Moines Human Rights Commission. But Brooks knows once they "pass that around" again, and vote on it, the council only needs to vote for it at three consecutive meetings before it becomes law.
I emailed to Chuck Hurley, Iowa Family Policy Council, who opposes sodomite civil rights. I told him about my immanent mailing to Des Moines pastors, and the joint literature drop addressing it, distributed jointly by Ken and I. I asked him for a simple statement which we could add to our literature drop.
I finally reached Chuck Hurley. He said it takes him hours to write the simplest statement, so he could not afford to give our lit drop a statement. He said other things to explain precisely where he stood. So I offered to write a statement for him, based on the concerns he had just expressed. He wasn't enthusiastic, but didn't say no. I emailed him the following statement for his approval:
"By Chuck Hurley
"The Iowa Family Policy Council has been very concerned about Governor Vilsak's executive order prohibiting discrimination, in state government hiring, because of "gender identity" (which includes cross dressers). We are praying about the best response to that problem, and we are sorry to see Des Moines so close to enacting Civil Rights protection for all homosexuals.
"We are not organized sufficiently to become involved in local battles. We are always looking for more help so we can be, but meanwhile we pray God will send workers to the local fields, and that God will give them discernment to be able to approach this difficult battle in love."
I didn't reach him again, but someone on his staff gave me his message, a couple of days later, that he was not going to approve a statement.
I also left messages for Maxinne Sieleman, Christian radio host, and Jan Mickelson, WHO talk show host, asking to be guests. I never heard from them.
I called Bill Horn, renowned sodomite fighter who moved to Des Moines a few years ago after a successful ouster of a sodomite school board member. He was pretty cynical! He was moving out of town because hearts in Des Moines are hopelessly hard. When he had first come, as the guy who had put together the nationally circulated video showing gay parades in all their depravity, 4,000 had turned out for a meeting led by Horn, announced only a few days earlier on Mickelson's show, to protest the Des Moines School Board's plan to add sodomite education and welcome sodomite teachers, etc.
4,000 showed up for a school board meeting in a room that held perhaps 100. The rest were shoved in an auditorium elsewhere in the complex, and closed circuit TV was hastily set up so they could participate!
During that stormy school board meeting, School Board President Jonathan Wilson admitted he was a sodomite.
Horn moved to Des Moines, and led a successful drive to replace Wilson with Harold Sandahl, a genuine conservative who had never run for office before.
But now, Horn told me, he had invited Des Moines pastors to a meeting where he even had Gary Bauer for a speaker, and only two came! [Or was it less? Now I can't remember for sure.]
Thus Horn is pulling out of Des Moines, fully aware that this vote is coming up, but cynically stating it will be approved and there is nothing we can do to stop it.
I told him what God had done, to prepare Ken and I with the time and resources to put out a massive literature drop at this very time, and I asked just for a statement we could include in it.
He said No! He said he was going to "sit this one out"! He said he is busy moving!
I few days later, I heard him on Mickelson's show again! He was at his passionate best. He and Mickelson make a pretty strong team.
Hmmm. Why did he refuse me, and by the way, also Ken, and Craig Bergman, Ken's adviser? Craig said it was only because Horn didn't want to be associated with me. Had someone "respectable" (that is, a "winner") asked Horn, he would have said "sure".
Although our literature might have been stronger with endorsements from Hurley and Horn, at least Horn was shamed, or whatever, into going out with one more splash. Philippians 1:15-18.
Ken Richards was a continual agent of God's miraculous blessing. The evidence is that he almost single handedly disarmed most of those in Des Moines who were inclined to attack me or dismiss me for radical positions (who tend, I believe, to be those most active in Republican politics). The evidence indicates he was being honest when he told me, several times, that his answer to those who criticized me to his face was "if there were more people like Dave Leach in the world, this world would be a better place." The evidence indicates his campaign manager and roommate, Ron Diederding, actually was torn whether to vote for me or Ken!
Ken said Republican activists have advised him that he could easily shove my credibility down the toilet by reminding the public of my most politically incorrect positions. But he refused. This permitted me to affirm my positions with my own words, (which I did in campaign literature and on my TV show), avoiding the distortions resulting from second hand accounts by those who don't like, or who fear them.
In the final TV show before the election, I had him for my guest. Somehow I brought up my positions about how serious abortion is: so serious, that saving hundreds of lives is even worth the loss of a building. So serious, that saving even one life is worth the loss of several buildings.
Ken did not bait me, or bring up the subject, or object, even then! Even though I continued talking about it, clarifying points which reporters ordinarily misunderstand. He distanced himself from my conclusion, but as respectfully as humanly possible! Not only with respect for me, but with respect for the seriousness of abortion. I should go back and transcribe how he did that. It is a study in itself, and, I think, a model for any moderate who doesn't really want to publicly attack a conservative, but just doesn't want to be associated too closely with unpopular conclusions.
Among God's miracles regarding Ken were the obstacles God laid in Ken's way to conducting a serious campaign. He is in the National Guard, and he was called up for his two weeks during the final 3 weeks before the election! He was promoted to Captain during the 2 weeks.
Besides that, he has a DJ business, and one of his employees chose those crucial last weeks to call up at the last minute to tell him she couldn't make it that night -- several times. The initial believability of her excuses, plus the difficulty of finding a replacement, kept him from firing her until she had done it several times. Each time she did it, however, he had to drop everything, fly out of town, and spend some 12 hours hauling equipment and doing the job.
These obstacles helped give my bid the most favorable possible chance.
You might ask, "do you claim God's miracle for you, when God takes it from a friend to give it to you? Does God then betray your friend for his fairness to you?"
Had I won, he could have won, too. Had voters favored a Bible quoter over an ordinary conservative, we saw that as an indication that voters were ready to swing to the right, in which case it would have seemed more possible for him to jump into the presently unopposed Senate race in the same district, and have a hope of succeeding.
May 1 Negotiating with my Opponent
Wednesday evening I met with Ken Richards, and his advisors: Craig Bergman and Tom Hoefling, who are also the national directors for the Keyes campaign; and Charlie.
Prior to this meeting, and prior to the new sodomite issue, Ken and I had tentatively agreed on a simple 11x17 (actually slightly larger) sheet, folded into 4 pages, with the front page shared between us: I would take one side, and he would take the other side, with a center box saying something like:
"[Small print: capsule description of the issue. Large print:] We are opponents in the June 6 primary, but we are united in asking you to ask Archie Brooks not to vote for that abomination."
Because of the sodomite issue, I saw the need for more than 4 pages. I felt a thorough Bible study was necessary, and also an analysis of the measure. But I still hoped for a single piece, with the front page shared by Ken and I.
But Bergman had other plans. He didn't like that headline; he didn't want to see the word "sodomite" in print; instead, he proposed, for his ideal headline, something which put me straight to sleep. Most discouraging of all, he didn't want either one of us on the front page! He wanted his banner, "The Conservative Coalition", an educational nonprofit corporation, on the front page, and we would buy ads inside! He actually thought our message would be seen by more people that way!
Still, I wanted somehow to work together. But then he said my Bible study was too long, which would make the piece too fat. People wouldn't read it if it was too long, he said. My position was that the average piece gets a 10 second scan. If it survives the 10 seconds, it isn't the number of pages that will keep the second page from being scanned. It's what's on the first page. Some people actually do read more, and for those few, I want information available.
But Bergman insisted the only way he could permit that would be if I had a second "section", as in a section of a newspaper. But as I began to consider that possibility, he further insisted that my section couldn't even be the same size! It had to be a smaller piece so people would not mistake it for his piece, it being nonprofit and mine being political! Merely saying "advertisement" on it, or "Paid for by Neighbors for Dave Leach", wasn't enough separation.
I'm not saying this to be critical of his judgment. Maybe it was sound. I expect some readers will agree with him more than me.
Actually the layout of campaign literature is far more important, to political advisors I have listened to, than the content. I have seen political wags far more consumed with the details of colors, or photos, or how often to mail and to whom, than with the details of political positions. In fact, one of the basics of politics is that you never give the details of political positions, if you want to win.
It may be a slight exaggeration to say this is where all candidates place their emphasis. But it is no exaggeration to say that the layout of my piece was as politically incorrect as its content.
Just as I believe politicians throw away victory by avoiding Scripture, even so I believe politicians miss victory by designing their literature to be full of gloss and void of information. They reason "since we know it is only going to be read 10 seconds, let's put a message simple enough to be absorbed in 10 seconds. And then let's send simple glossy message after simple glossy message, a couple of weeks apart in the last couple of months, so that we can build up to perhaps 40 seconds of information."
I believe the strategy of putting only 10 seconds of information makes their surveys, showing an average 10 second audience, self fulfilling. Of course people will throw it away after they have read it all, or after they have determined there is nothing worth reading. I say, some want information. For those who do, give it to them. Let them then lead their ignorant neighbors.
Jesus gave the parable of The Sower, where only some of the ground nurtures seed, but that which does bears much fruit. Politicians would advise Jesus, "Don't use such quality seed. Don't bother with all that information that actually has the ability to educate voters. Instead, just spread nettles. Nettles will grow anywhere, and your field will look nice and green all over. That's better than wasting quality seed on ground whose quality you don't know until you have already spent your budget."
The other point of this disagreement over layout is to explain that our attempt at cooperation was not hindered by unwillingness to cooperate, but by differences of layout philosophy. Bergman didn't just impose those restrictions in order to get me to give up and go on my own. He imposed them on Ken, too. In the final piece, one side of the piece was blank, with boxes to put mailing labels, and the other side said only "Conservative Coalition" in color. You had to open it up to see anything more! Then it got more interesting: a color photo of a sodomite parade. A couple of articles against sodomy, which were very mild compared with what I gave my neighbors. Ken wasn't even mentioned on the front page, which was actually the back page; the front page being essentially blank.
As for me, I was priced out of a joint piece. The cost of inserting a separate section was $170, and if I had to use smaller pages which cost the same per page, I would need more pages, shooting up my total costs.
I ended up spending $400 for 10,000 copies of the 8 page tabloid, the pages being 17" high. I decided not to spend another $200 for full color. To print jointly would have been twice that.
Although it is a matter of judgment, my feeling is that this all added up to one more miracle by which God favored me over Ken in the sight of our neighbors. My piece was covered with powerful but reasonable headlines, and my picture. The political wisdom is that a campaign piece gets only 10 seconds, average, before it hits the wastebasket. But several times as I was doorknocking, and distributing, I would hand both pieces (Ken's and mine) to someone who was just standing or sitting in front of their house, and they would start to read my piece, and as I continued down the street I would glance back to see them still reading, until I had walked out of their sight.
By having my strongest statements on the cover, I was also able to get instant feedback on them. Out of the 9,000 pieces distributed, I got 5 calls saying don't ever leave literature here again. There were also a few who identified themselves as sodomites or related to sodomites who handed me back the literature. But more often than that, people would smile with approval. Yes, this is what they believed, too.
(Most of the time, however, there was little reaction of any kind. Just polite acceptance of the material, then a retreat back inside.)
May 2 Pastors' Mailing
I finally finished, and put in the mail, a letter to all Des Moines area pastors: about 270. Among other things it asked everybody to call Archie Brooks, the City Councilman who said he was "considering" supplying the vote needed to impose Sodomite Civil Rights on Des Moines, and ask him not to vote for that abomination.
May 5 Followup calls to pastors
A few days later I called all the pastors in or near our district. I called, or left messages for, 34.
Archie Brooks' Pastor's View
One of them, at Jordan United Methodist Church, 1950 SE 14th St, identified himself as Brooks' pastor! He told me Brooks had been swamped with calls, and that he didn't understand Brooks to favor sodomite civil rights at all!
Here is Brooks' pastor's version of Brooks' position: a couple of months earlier, the Arlington Heights Apartments, a shambles but of historical interest, were considered by the City Council. A group of people wanted to save and renovate them. The newspaper didn't say so, but the pastor said they were gays and lesbians.
Brooks voted against the plan, but was outvoted. A very large group of gays had come to the council meeting, and Archie felt it was their pressure, rather than the rightness of the issue, that swayed the other council members.
Archie didn't like that. So he said "I would consider opening this up for discussion." In context, the pastor said, he was referring to discussion of the gay community's power to push things through by intimidation. But somehow the press thought he meant he wanted to discuss civil rights for sodomites.
Earlier in this report I relate what Brooks himself told me about his position. When I line that up with his pastor told me about Brooks' position, they are irreconcilable. Much as I would like to, I cannot believe them both.
That leaves me with a short list of theories:
<> Maybe Brooks is already backpedaling, preparing the way for his retreat by telling people he never meant to support sodomite civil rights in the first place; it was all just a big misunderstanding. If this was really happening, I had to marvel that he was already reeling under pressure from just my mailing to churches, even before the 9,000 piece literature drop!
<> Maybe Brooks' pastor wants so hard to believe Brooks wouldn't support anything immoral, that he "gave Brooks the benefit of the doubt" to a truth-shattering extent. Maybe he is "in denial".
<> Maybe the pastor is a sodomite himself, and just wanted to say anything that might make me unsure of myself. Maybe he was just playing with me to see what it took to move me.
<> Maybe the pastor was accurate, and it was Brooks' own statements to me which indicate more support for sodomy than he really had. Maybe Brooks figured it was no use explaining to me all this Arlington Heights misunderstanding; because I wouldn't believe him anyway.
This last possibility, though certainly going out of the way to give Brooks the benefit of the doubt, seemed plausible enough to trouble me for quite awhile. The last thing I wanted to do was falsely accuse a conservative of being a liberal!
But I finally ruled it out. His answers to me, and his tone of voice as he listened to my points, weren't consistent with being against the measure. Ken and his advisors agreed that simply couldn't be the case.
In any case, I was greatly encouraged at the statement that Brooks was already getting a lot of calls! And even more by the implication that he was already backpedaling.
May 9 Printing
Tuesday, I drove to Madrid to deliver the masters to the printer. The next day I picked it up.
May 11 Yard Signs
With the help of Doug Bown, I got my old wood campaign yard signs out from 10 years ago, modernized them by drilling 1/4" holes and gluing in iron rods to go into the ground rather than driving in wood stakes, cleaned them off, and put them up at 13 locations. Eventually we had about 50 wood signs up, which were 16" high by 24" wide. Ken had had no prior plans to invest in signs, but after mine started going up, he invested in some paper signs which were 5-1/2" wide by 17" high, and stapled to a lath. (A rough-sawn board about the dimensions of a fat yardstick.) He got very few signs up.
As I put up each yard sign, I left this note at each door:
"Thank you for letting us put our campaign "yard sign" in your yard!
"The primary election is June 6. We will try to pick them all up the next day.
"The wood from the signs does not actually go into the ground, as it appears. From the bottom of the wood, two 1/4" diameter iron rods go into the ground. This makes it easy to remove long enough to mow, and it does not leave a visible hole in your yard when removed.
"If for any reason you want the sign removed before the election, please call us so we can pick it up! (Or bring it to the Family Music Center, 4110 SW 9th.) Obviously a lot of hand labor went into making it. We won't want to discard them, even if I lose.
"Thanks again for your help! Call if you have any questions about our campaign, or our issues. Or check my website, panews.org.
"In Jesus' Name (Col 3:17) <> Dave & Dorothy Leach, 244-3711w, 11-6 Tuesday-Friday, 11-4 Saturday, 256-0637h
May 13, Saturday: Door to Door Distribution
The big day finally arrived! Many details of our joint distribution had been worked out. Ken's literature was stored at our music store on SW 9th. Ken had a return envelope and letter which needed to be hand-inserted in his piece; Dorothy did thousands of those insertions after Ken's hoped-for volunteers didn't materialize. I made boxes with simple shoulder straps so people could carry his and my literature. I attached a roll of scotch tape to each box for doors where literature could not be attached in any other way.
Ken had initially anticipated some 40 volunteers. But then he was called to National Guard duty, and was unable to call them. That first Saturday, he had only two helpers. I had about half a dozen.
Dorothy had been less trusting of all this cooperation business than I was. But on this day distrust was finally laid to rest. Not only had all the hurdles been jumped to get our literature together for distribution, but at the end of the day I took a short drive through part of the area he had done. When I saw literature still in a door, I got out and walked close enough to see if mine was there too. I only saw 3 doors with literature still in them. I got out twice to confirm mine was there, and it was.
Cooperation was working.
Ten years ago, a dozen dedicated volunteers covered the entire area in two full days. But this year, only two or three volunteers had the tenacity to stick it out more than a couple of hours. I ended up doing at least 3,000 doors myself, taking up much of the time between this day and the election.
I could have gone faster, had I just stuck the literature in the door and moved on, but I decided that since I was out anyway, and since doorknocking was really the key to winning elections, I would do a compromise between doorknocking and lit dropping. I didn't knock on every door, but only where I saw some sign of life; a door ajar, voices, etc. The rest of the time I just sped on.
Even the little I stopped to talk slowed me way down. About 100 an hour was my limit, while I could do up to 250 by just walking and not talking.
I took notes on 40 conversations I had with people I met. I talked briefly with many more which didn't produce enough information to warrant a note.
In the past I surveyed neighbors for their concerns, but this time I was in a hurry, so I usually limited myself to something like: "Hi. I'm Dave Leach, running for office, and giving away free newspapers." If I saw evidence of children, I added "And balloons! How many do you need?" I had balloons imprinted my picture, saying "Vote Dave Leach / for State Representative." Frowns were often the first thing I saw on people's faces; a couple of people explained they were afraid I was from the Census Bureau again. Most of the frowns changed to amused smiles by the time my short speech was done.
Here are the directions I had for volunteers:
General Directions for lit drop
1. Do NOT put in mailboxes
2. Do NOT lay on the ground or step. Attach to door in any secure manner. Examples:
* Open screen door and shut it on tabloids;
* Roll up tabloids and put under screen door handle;
* Between knob and door frame;
* In metal scroll work on front of screen door; or
* Scotch tape to metal of handle -- one piece of tape for each flier
3. "Hit" every house and duplex -- BOTH doors of duplexes
4. Leave it in the side door if the front door appears to be unused.
5. Apartments: If they have a locked security door, move on and forget it. If door is unlocked, go in and drop in front of each apartment door.
6. No businesses.
7. Leave the Conservative Coalition flier at each door, along with the Leach flier.
Press Conference no-show
With Ken's and Craig's approval, I emailed out Press Conference invitations. No media showed, but for your information, here is what I emailed:
"Press Conference Saturday, 10am, vacant lot at intersection of Park and Union.
"Photo opportunity: volunteers and candidates distributing literature door to door, gathering armloads of literature, and walking North, South, East, and West from the intersection. RSVP to 480-3773 as you arrive, especially if you are a little late, so that we do not begin the photo opportunity before you arrive.
"An issue expected to come before the City Council (Borsellino, Des Moines Register, April 22, confirmed by City Council members) has generated united opposition from two Republican State Representative opponents.
"The Council's issue is Civil Rights protection for homosexuals. Legislative candidates do not ordinarily make campaign issues of city decisions, but issues before city councils are not ordinarily the same issues that come before the legislature.
"One of the candidates, Ken Richards (for State Representative), is distributing literature in which he has taken out a large ad. The literature was produced by the educational nonprofit group 'Conservative Coalition', which includes articles opposing expansion of homosexual rights. The other candidate, Dave Leach (for State Representative), has produced a separate publication which also opposes the issue. Both publications will be distributed together, cooperatively, Saturday by the candidates and their volunteers.
"The candidates will be present to answer questions."
I invited TV-8, TV-5, David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register, and Theresa Stahl of the South Des Moines Press Citizen. I passed on TV-13.
May 16 Bill Horn on Jan Mickelson Show
Bill Horn, nationally known sodomite fighter, had told me he was disgusted with Des Moines' Christian apathy and was "going to sit this one out". He would not even let me have a statement to add to my literature. He had declined Craig Bergman's request to write an article for his. But on this day, two weeks after my mailing to Des Moines pastors, over a week since Archie Brooks' pastor indicated Archie was already backpedaling, I heard Horn on WHO radio, the signal which reaches Iowa's borders with a strong signal, and can actually be heard coast to coast, with local exceptions. Horn was lashing out at sodomites like a horsetail after flies. He was hitting them like a camp preacher. He was good old vintage Horn. Not a Scripture in sight, dare not say "sodomite", but he still managed to knock out a few teeth.
Well, for whatever reasons he finally came forward, I am glad he did. There are many who will listen to him who won't listen to me.
May 22, Monday, still no sodomite rights on Council agenda!
April 22 was the day Des Moines Register columnist Borsellino had said Councilwoman Chris Hensley had said the sodomite rights measure would be on the Council agenda "within a month". Well, the council meets on Mondays, and this is just one month later. It's not on the agenda. Will it be later?
Fellow sodomite opponent Lani Brand came up with a credible theory: that it might be more logical for them to wait until June 25, when a Gay Rights Parade is scheduled. She also noted community calendars saying an opera would be performing that weekend, and operas seem to attract sodomites; and a baseball team from New Orleans would be playing in Des Moines; and of course New Orleans is known for its "Mardi Gras" which is a year of Hollywood crammed into a single parade.
We will just have to wait to see; but meanwhile, our hopes are lifting. Lani vows that she will never trust the council; that she will continue calling the council every Monday at 3 PM, the absolute deadline for adding agenda items, for the rest of the year!
May 24 Wednesday, Blair Claflin interview (Des Moines Register)
When the Des Moines Register interviewed Ken and I, separately, for a profile of our race against each other, Ken related to me how his interviewer was hammering him for points of difference but Ken kept emphasizing our cooperation.
Ken pointed out my statement in my literature drop tabloid, where I spoke of the "clear choice" which voters have between him and me, that I publicly affirm and quote the Bible in support of my positions while he, like every other politician, does not, but "In no way should this discussion be taken as criticism of Ken, just because he has not yet jumped into the same waters I have....On important matters, he will vote pretty much as I would vote, which places him, as a candidate, very high in my esteem. Should you, by God's miraculous Grace, elect me, I hope he will run against Matt McCoy, who has defied God by voting civil rights for cross dressers, and I hope you will elect Ken."
As Ken pointed out my printed statement, he said "neither do I criticize Dave."
The reporter asked Ken why he thought he could win, or why he thought he could defeat me. Ken answered by listing some positive assets he has necessary to defeat the Democratic incumbent in November. The reporter asked, still searching for a point of difference in the primary election which was what he was supposed to be covering now, asked "you mean you have these qualities and Leach doesn't?" Ken related to me how he had jumped on that question: "NO! Don't misquote me! I didn't say anything about or against Dave Leach! I said" and he repeated his statement.
I had been interviewed previously by another reporter; the two reporters then collaborated on the article. Actually the Register tradition is that there be two separate articles, one for each candidate. But I, too, in my interview, had not criticized Ken. As in my "Clear Choice June 6" article, I explained public Bible affirmation was what distinguished me, which was not a criticism of Ken as an traditional candidate.
I explained the strategic reasons why we found cooperation beneficial: it was more important to both of us that one of us won in November, than that either of us be the one to win in June; and cooperation gave us the best shot at November.
<> Cooperation in literature distribution, where each of us carried the other's literature with our own, gave us the best chance of reaching all 10,000 homes with our own literature.
<> By exchanging information, we improved our strategies for getting a higher Republican vote turnout, which is necessary to impress upon donors that a Republican might actually have a chance in this district.
<> By helping each other before the primary, and then by the loser helping the winner after the primary, each of us takes out an insurance policy that if the other wins, the loser will have access to the winner after the lawmaking begins.
<> By having issue discussions now, we have maximum opportunity to influence each other's thinking, during those few months when a lawmaker is most open to fresh thinking: the months before the election!
The reporter didn't list any of these points, but it was still valuable for me to take the time to explain them. Had I not, the reporter might have wondered aloud whether cooperation was very smart. Because I did, the wisdom of cooperation was never questioned. Instead, it was given the most positive spin I have ever seen any two candidates receive in print!
Not only was our cooperation given a positive spin, but after asking me questions about my abortion positions which he was duty bound to ask, since others expect them to be asked, I felt he was going out of his way to give even my positions as positive a spin as he could! He gave it such a "positive" spin, that I felt the need later to clarify that I had not backed away from earlier positions but in the brief space allotted, I didn't think the reporter could have been any more accurate.
What a symbol, that the two articles about two candidates who cooperate should be combined into a single article, cooperatively written by the two reporters!
Of our cooperation, the Friday, May 26 article said:
(Lead sentence:) "Two south-side Des Moines Republican candidates, vying for the chance to challenge state Rep. Frank Chiodo, have no quarrel with each other.
"Dave Leach, a music shop owner, and Key Richards, the operator of a business that provides disk jockeys for weddings and other events, don't even behave like primary opponents.
"Voters in House District 67 are getting bundled campaign literature from both conservative candidates at their doorsteps. Leach, 54, also has invited Richards, 31, to appear on his cable access television show.
"The pair of fundamentalist Christians are united in their opposition to abortion and gay rights.
"They support the use of vouchers so parents have a choice of private, public or home schools.
"They agree that people should take their marriage vows more seriously."
Of my controversial positions, the article said:
"Leach is the editor of 'Prayer & Action,' a conservative religious newsletter. He became embroiled in a community controversy in 1996 when he published excerpts of a book that included recipes for bombs and discussed the use of violence to close abortion clinics.
"Leach also discussed the book on his cable access show, the 'Uncle Ed Show.' While he says he was a victim of 'gross distortions' of his positions then, he says he believes the Bible makes a persuasive argument for the use of violence to close abortion clinics, although he doesn't personally endorse it."
May 26, Article Published
Ken and I were worried how the article would turn out. We were prepared, should it come out badly, to hurry and tape a TV show to be aired the following Tuesday to refute the article. But when it came out we were both pleased. When we finally did tape a show, we both complimented the two reporters for as accurate, fair, and positive article as was possible in the space available.
June 1, Thursday Basu's Slam Job
Rekha Basu, proud atheist, was more careful not to allow me time to respond on my TV show before the election. She called me the Thursday before the election, and didn't print her article until the Sunday (June 4) before the Tuesday election (June 6). My next show aired at 9:30 PM Tuesday, half an hour after the polls closed.
My response to her story requires an entirely separate article, which is posted under "Responses to Media Attacks". I did have time to post my response on my website, but even that consumed an entire day, which is time I could have been out doorknocking. I worked on it Sunday and half of Monday, and finally got out Monday at mid-afternoon. Far more people see my TV show than visit my website, though.
June 5 Doubt!
One day to go! Miracles as much as anyone could ask! God had arranged so many things to favor my campaign as much as might be humanly expected! God had given me an opponent who publicly endorsed me, God had provided friends whose contributions covered $1400 in expenses leaving less than $100 for me to make up by myself, God had given me name recognition far greater than my opponent, a supply of good wood yard signs, writing and layout skills enabling me to quickly produce appealing literature, and even a positive Des Moines Register article! The darkest spot on the horizon was the Basu article; but even that damage was uncertain, she being so strident a wacko liberal. The following day, Tuesday, the day of the election, when Dorothy and I came to work, a man was waiting for us to tell us he was going to for certain going to vote for me, because of liberal wacko Basu's "endorsement".
But my faith, on this day, the day before the election, slipped for the first time.
When I got the Southwest Radio Church letter, my attitude was "God has done so many miracles, that even if He gives me no more my plate will remain full the rest of my life; however, the pattern of miracles indicates God will continue doing this next one, for which I am praying, too."
Then when I talked to the media, I wanted to presume a little less on the record, remembering what God said about stoning people who foretell falsely. So I said "God has done so many small miracles for me already, to enable me to get this far, that I am so grateful; all I know about the future is that whatever God does, it's going to be good!"
But today it slipped a notch further down. I had been too busy working, not busy enough remembering. On this day, I remembered other times I had been on the verge of a great decision: such as when I had briefs before the Supreme Court. I prayed then, mustering much faith. But the Court did not hear my case.
As these memories came before me, instead of feeling the confidence that "whatever God does, it's going to be good!", there was a twinge of sadness in the thought that I could not be certain God would answer my prayer! To be sure, I also reflected that most of the good things that have happened came quite unexpectedly.
It occurs to me, now, that the reason God has to give us good things unexpectedly, is that if we know about the possibility of them ahead of time, we would put ourselves in Hell with worry that they might not come!!!
After delivering literature until almost sundown Monday evening, I could think of nothing more to do on Tuesday. My campaign didn't have poll watchers organized, and no last minute phone calls scheduled, or people to go pick up. Most of our literature was out, and I had phone volunteers trying to reach all Republicans in the week prior to the election. On this day, I knew nothing more to do. So I just went to work.
Ken, by contrast, hustled all day. He started out thinking he would surely lose; he couldn't identify a single voter whom he was certain would vote for him, he later told me! He had a list which I didn't have: the 2-300 who had attended the February caucuses. He had tried to share it with me, but I had given up too easily trying to import it into my program. I had also previously tried to give him my list of the 1800 Republicans households, but he had given up trying to import them into his computer.
I have a theory about faith. My theory is that Jesus meant precisely what he said about the relationship of faith to results. Had my faith not slipped, I would have won. But now that it is back, my goal of peopling the Partnership Machine, Inc., will finally become reality!
Fear is Hell! Doubt is fear. When we pray for things we want so badly that the possibility of not getting them fills us with fear, we are better off praying for much smaller things, so that we may be at peace!
If my faith was not strong enough to fill me with perfect peace for one more day with all God's miracles shielding me from a weak opponent, how much more fear would I feel facing an entrenched Democrat in a heavily Democratic district?! God spared me from that Hell! But had I held up my staff one more day, God would have judged me ready to hold it up against worse odds.
My theory is that it is faith in God which God demands, more than faith that the thing prayed for will come to pass. It was not as necessary for me to "know" I would win, as it was, to know that whatever God did would be great! Obviously before you can be like Elijah and march up to the king with the news of drought, you can't be merely confident that God will do something good. You have to know God will do what you specifically ask. But I do believe the twinge of sadness, of despair, of helplessness, clinched my defeat.
But was my defeat so great? What did I lose? What did I win?
God gave me victory over the Des Moines City Council's expectation of creating civil rights for sodomites! (More details ahead.) Had this been this year's only victory, it would have been well worth every dime, every minute I gave to it! But there have been more victories!
God gave me 45% of the vote, not at all an embarrassing showing, enough to vindicate my declaration that Bible quoting in public does not guarantee defeat! Many of those who voted for me were solidly behind me! Ken told me afterwards that on that last day, as he called caucus goers in his last push, many heatedly told him they were voting for me, not him!
God gave me access to a candidate who, with my help and more of God's help, may win in November, and in which case there will be a lawmaker with whom I can work closely!
God gave me 40 names of people I met out campaigning, and hundreds more music store customers whose political sympathies I learned more about through asking permission to plant yard signs! With this start, I have the material to begin peopling The Partnership Machine, Inc., to turn it into a genuine, political "Partnership Machine" capable of changing laws of concern to its members!
God moved Ken to agree to give me the names of people he identifies as being concerned about particular issues (he will meet hundreds!) so that I can introduce them to each other and show them how to influence laws, and inspire them to work together; the result: a Partnership Machine capable of influencing laws no matter who is elected, and also of electing whomever it likes!
I won a great victory, and a great opportunity!
Peter's faith faltered. Does history call him a loser because he only walked a few feet on water? Had he walked all the way to shore, God might have had a different future for him. But a better future? Peter recovered. He never again walked on water, but he did things far more valuable!
Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
A way occurs to me how anyone can build his faith. We could pray "without ceasing", 1 Thessalonians 5:17. I think I understand, now, a little more how to do this. It doesn't mean to take a few big things which are too big for us to believe without worrying, and fill our days with worry by praying for them with doubt!
But how about taking each little thing which we expect to go routinely. Let us pray that it really will go without a hitch. Without prayer, our experience is that actually few "routine" things go without any hitch at all; and when "things go wrong", we are frustrated, we struggle not to be angry, and we feel betrayed.
Instead, let us pray for each event. It is much easier to feel absolute peace that a prayer will be answered, when the "chance" of it not being answered anyway is relatively small. And yet it is a genuine test because without prayer it might actually go quite wrong. Thus let us learn to walk side by side with God, in joy and peace and faith, in small steps, that when a big step comes, we will not be without experience!
June 14 The Third Candidate
Remember how there was a third candidate who had announced at the Polk County Convention, but by the deadline for turning in signatures, he had not filed?
I had tried once or twice earlier to call him, but had not gotten through, and he had not returned messages. But tonight I reached him. He was in Minnesota at a political meeting. It turns out he is only 25, but has already had much political experience, and now works as a lobbyist for lumber yards! His experience began with organizing Johnson County for moderate Republican candidate Lamar Alexander. Alexander did well with McCarty's help. McCarty was a college student at the time. Johnson County is Iowa's most liberal, as measured by the fact that Iowa City, in it, is the only Iowa city with sodomite civil rights!
McCarty told me that before he dropped out he had already gathered all the signatures necessary, and had doorknocked about 200 doors. But he dropped out when his employers finally decided that he would of course not be able to continue working as a lobbyist if he were elected in November, being a conflict of interest, but besides that, they would probably have to let him go before November, because he would become so busy campaigning in the final months. (He lobbies in 5 states.)
Had McCarty chosen to campaign, he would have been a serious opponent! The story I have just told you would have been quite different! I praise God for making McCarty content with his lobbying job, although he expressed mixed feelings about his decision!
June 16 Still no sodomites on Council agenda!
Yesterday, Thursday, at 6 PM was the deadline for putting items on the Council agenda, though theoretically items can be added as late as Monday at 3 PM. Today I called Mike McPherson, a council member who votes against sodomites. I asked whether he had heard any indication of bringing it up. I mentioned Lani's speculation that the coming Monday meeting would be a logical time to bring it up, right after Sunday's Gay Pride Parade, but it wasn't on the agenda. He said the sodomites don't consult with him in such matters! But he recalled that Hensley had promised to bring it for a vote by May 22. As for it being added still, to the Monday agenda, he said items of that nature are ordinarily not added after the Thursday deadline. He said that though we can't be certain, it appears they don't have the votes!
I thanked Lani for her concern and her pledge to call the City Council agenda secretary every Monday at 3 for the rest of the year, to ask if the sodomite measure is on the agenda! I said that secretary is going to get so disgusted, that she is going to complain to the council members, letting them know our antenna are still up, and we are ready to move as soon as they are. That alone will likely take away their spirit to bring up the measure again.
And if they do bring it up, the people I hope to add to The Partnership Machine, Inc. will be able to pour on even more pressure than we did the last time!
Praise God! Can I ever doubt Him again?
Not with any credibility! How about you? Let's believe together! Let's work together! Let's be victorious together!
Big Plans & Prayers
Here is my prayer and plan for my next step, to fill up The Partnership Machine with people. It really seems foolproof enough that it is not hard for me to have absolute faith God will honor it, and of course I gratefully acknowledge all the little and large miracles that brought me to this point, and this vision God has given me for the future.
I need to go over each concern raised while I was doorknocking, and call the people who raised them and confirm whether they want to meet with others who share it. Then I need to write a phrase summary of each, write them as "bullet" points on a survey card, which Ken can carry with him to identify who shares which concern, and what additional concerns our neighbors have.
Ken is already open to a survey approach as he goes doorknocking; he says it is better than just saying "I'm Ken Richards, running for office", which leads many to ask "what party?" which is not the first thing you want people to think about in a district registered 2-1 for the other party.
With this approach he can say "Hello! I'm Ken Richards, running for State Representative. Your neighbors have already shared these concerns with me. I wonder which of them you also share, or what other concerns you have." After getting a response, depending on the enthusiasm of it, he can ask if they would like to meet neighbors who share it and who want to do something about it. That done, he can go right to a short list of ways people can help with the campaign: Phoning, yard sign, $, prayer, organizing, and ask "Would you consider helping my campaign in any of these ways?"
Through this approach he can be done in a minute or two, except for the occasional passionate citizen who wants to explain issues; he can actually raise local money while out doorknocking; and he can forward names for concerns and for volunteering, for me to organize for him and for the Partnership Machine.
Here is my first draft of a letter he can pass out to those interested:
"Your Neighbors' Concerns" (headline, followed by "bullet" style list of concerns)
"When a Des Moines Register article April 22 announced the Des Moines City Council would vote on adding "sexual orientation" to its civil rights code, and would probably pass it, two men and their friends delayed, if not stopped it.
"These two men, Ken Richards and Dave Leach, want to help you stop the injustices that concern you. They want to show you how few people it takes to make a huge difference.
"Through The Partnership Machine, Inc., (PM) they want to introduce you to neighbors they have met who share your concerns, and who want to meet with you to solve the problems that trouble you.
"In some cases your concerns are not being addressed by any existing organization. We want to introduce you to experienced advisors who can show you how to be effective.
"In other cases there may already be organizations addressing your concerns, of which you may already be a member. We urge you to join the PM in addition, to help form a group in your neighborhood functioning as a "local chapter". Local chapters are the workhorses of statewide or national organizations. They are where people discuss and initiate local action such as lawmaker contacts or public education.
"But the PM offers, in addition, general meetings with people working on different concerns, some of whom are sympathetic to your concern and who will help occasionally.
"Finding neighbors who want to work with you is made possible through Ken Richards, who will try to identify the concerns of your neighbors as he campaigns for office.
"But the PM is nonpartisan. You do not need to be a Republican, or share his top concerns, in order to join the PM and find people of like mind. Ken Richards and Dave Leach want to earn your fellowship by trying to persuade you, not by denying you an opportunity to pursue your dream. We realize our neighbors are ideologically diverse, but we also believe the best solutions are those supported by the most neighbors, which we cannot work towards if we begin by excluding those who don't already agree with us!"
(An answer, not to be written, to answer those who might ask something like: "You mean even gays? You brag how you stopped gay rights, and yet now you say you don't want to exclude them from PM meetings?
("That's right. Especially sodomites. [Translate to "gays" if your stomach is too weak for God's term.] It wasn't us who refused to give our literature to sodomites we met doorknocking. It was sodomites who angrily gave it back to us, or called us to demand we never give them anything more. We would LOVE to have dialogue with sodomites. We don't hate them just because we disagree with them.
("The same is true for abortionists. It is not prolifers who want to avoid fellowship with them! It is the abortionists who call the police and hire expensive lawyers to restrict prolife speech in creative new ways, when prolifers are trying to communicate with abortionists!
("The PM is not a place for people to endorse each other. The general meetings are a place for people to learn from each other, and to help each other only to whatever extent they discover common goals. If you do not want to be in the same room with a cross section of your neighbors, some of whom will inspire you but others of whom may scare you, don't come to the general meetings. Just come to the smaller meetings of just those who share your concern.
("Actually, as a practical matter, the general meetings will only rarely include anyone you strongly disagree with. Because it is a fact that it isn't just sodomites and abortionists who avoid communication on a level playing field. Most people avoid fair confrontation. On the other hand, you should realize that even when you limit yourself to fellowship just with those who share your priority concern, some of those who share it with you, will also have sympathies for positions which scare you. Why, even some in your own family scare you!
("So don't be so afraid. The best friends are those you win. Don't assume you will never be able to persuade anybody. Give yourself more credit. You yourself have changed; so can your neighbors!")
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