Where to Start?..

Picking a starting point is an important part of any adventure. You can never reach a destination without a starting point. Then you choose your route and follow it with hopes that it will take you to where you want to go. It’s hard to remember how Key West to San Diego became the campaign road of Forest for President. The decision to go south for the winter had something to do with it. But Forest for President started long before choosing a starting point or route.

In 2020 when Trump was up for reelection there was a terribly handled national health emergency happening. The failure of our two warring party system turned a health issue into a political tragedy, using each new direction as a turn to throw the other side under the bus. And the people suffered. Part of me thought it was the fault of a fractured country stirred by a contentious leader in Donald Trump. The other part of me thought the Big Media outlets used his words to create contention. Each thought had to do with outside influences on the everyday common person. But the Forest or President idea didn’t even start there.

It was April 3rd, 2020 when the idea of running across the country flashed into my mind. Virginia had a moderate response to Covid-19 in comparison to other States and DC. Surely they weren’t going to lock down like DC or California. While planning a 3-4 mile run, I got the news of a statewide stay at home order for the next day. My 3-4 mile run quickly turned into a 10+ mile one. Not knowing exactly what the rules of a stay at home order were, with the fear of not being able to go to the grocery store or work out, I started to feel very uneasy. The thoughts during my run went from pacing to fleeing. If I just keep running how will they stop me? I’ll go across the whole country. Maybe I’ll find somewhere that they’re not so worried about the pandemic. As I calmed down, like a long exhausting run can cause you to do, my thoughts about becoming a fugitive from “the law” (or better put, the emergency powers at be) subsided. But my realization of the power we give to those we elect to govern us only grew stronger.

Hiking on the Appalachian Trail in the summer and fall of 2016 spared me the painful experience of a Trump vs. Hilary election year showdown. Standing in my brother’s shop in Boyertown, PA, fresh off the trail, on the night of the election, I couldn’t believe that Trump was winning our home state. The thing that struck me most about that election was the People’s sentiment. They had to vote for the “lesser of two evils”. Now in what world should the leader of the free world be a decision between the “lesser of two evils”? They say Hillary Clinton was the only opponent that was more dislikable then Donald Trump.

Hiking Southbound All The Way To Georgia Now on the AT looking as patriotic as ever! During the 2016 election

Even before the 2016 election, for practically all of the 21st century, Presidents from one party have been demonized by the other party. All the while decent candidates have battled in these two Big Party systems trying to rise from mire and make it out on top. And consistently their good ideas have fallen on the deft ears of parties that may also be missing the ability to see or feel.

So equipped with the understanding of the power we give to undesirable politicians that rule over us, the desire to run across the country, and the news that Donald Trump intended on running for President again in 2024, Forest for President was born. I was hiking and I stared asking myself the question, “who would be a good candidate?” Now if you’re reading this, be careful going forward, because when you start asking yourself reasonable questions like this, you may eventually be compelled to run across the country. Somehow the thought of Forrest Gump popped into my head. Simple Honest Kind Direct. Wow! What Politician can you think of that would be described with these adjectives? So it was settled in my mind. If Forrest Gump is the candidate then I’m going to help campaign for him. And what better way to get people’s attention is there then imitating his run across the country.

As I prepared for the journey and even started to exclaim a false start date I realized that this would not be an easy task. Wanting to run with only my thoughts of past losses may work in the movies but make it hard to, for instance, find places to “go”. I knew my motives were right and my direction was true but claiming to run about 40 miles a day across the country was easier said than done. Yet the most important things you do can also be the hardest so I looked forward to the challenge. Much of my thru hiking and bikepacking experience came into focus when planning on how to get from here to there.

So we made it back to where to started. Sometimes you think it’s just about reaching a goal. And if you motivate yourself to get to the next step you may even pick a place to start. But if you fail to understand why, before you start, you may succumb to failure. So the excitement of planning had me telling everyone who would listen what I was trying to do. I want to topple the two party system in our country. I want a candidate that possesses positive characteristics. A candidate that your kids can look up to. A third party candidate that won’t give into to the current political pressures. People responded with a resounding yes. They explained how they felt neither party had their best interests in mind or were capable of making any meaningful change. That politics in our country were heading in the wrong direction. So I kept talking, and planning, and preparing.

But as I kept up and kept hearing the same sentiments from every side I kept questioning why. How could it be that all politicians are corrupt? How can money influence the decisions of every politician? Are they that heartless? Will the person that possesses positive characteristics eventually become heartless too? I kept asking questions and I started to realize what the problem was. Where does the desire for more exist? Greed lies in the heart of every person. Are politics the cause of the problem in our country or are they just another glaring effect. The idea I was beginning to formulate came to complete clarity with the coming across of a stoic quotation. So if you want to know something about the future, just look back to the past.

The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.


Back to our original question, perhaps a rhetorical one… Where to Start?..

We have to start with ourselves!

That’s the Forest for President campaign. Let’s change things, by changing ourselves. Let’s start to ask questions. Let’s get moving. Let’s start heading in the right direction. The rest will be answered for us along the way. Join in on our run for President!

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