FROM THE HEARTLAND OF THE U.S. — Friends and accidental by-standers, welcome and thank you for coming. I will keep my remarks brief today.

After much deliberation and discussion among family, friends and the occasional detractor, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring as a candidate for President of the United States. Rather than enter a quixotic and ultimately fruitless slog through the primaries for the nomination of either the Democratic or the Republican Party, however, I have decided to initiate a quixotic and probably rather fruitless slog through the general campaign, beginning today, as the candidate and nominee of my own self-formed political party, the Ward Republic Party.

We have no funds for this campaign – nor do we intend to seek any. We have no access to the ballot, and frankly, we have no real base of support. And by “we,” I really mean me. I do have plenty ideas, though, and time.

Of course, whatever the merits and advantages of the so-called top tier candidates we all read so much about, all of them have more currency, in every sense of the word, than I do. Nevertheless, over the next several months, I will be traveling around the country and unveiling and hopefully leading a discussion of my ideas and views on everything from the Iraq War to Energy, from Fiscal Policy to the Role of Government itself.

The central themes of each of these discussions, I think, will be most unique among candidates for President. We will be focusing on the values of proximity and community.

Our national politicians have, for too long, thrived on their self-created illusion that this nation is actually governable from their monolithic marble village inside the DC Beltway. It is not. Both the solutions for most of what ails us, and the best habits of living that can be created from such solutions, are local; and the role of national government, should be to stand ready to aid in local solutions – it should exist to encourage empowerment, rather than merely to consolidate power. So we will be talking about restructuring our government, and ultimately our lives, our culture and our perceptions of self in ways that will help this nation meet the challenge of maximizing our limited resources, and that will reinforce our ability and our desire to care for one another.

Those of you who have read my blog on a regular basis, back when I was posting more regularly, know that I like to poke a little harmless fun at the rampant fascination of certain segments of our culture with gloom, doom and the end of the world, with antichrists, members of the so-called illuminati, and other sinister boogey-men … our fetish with hopelessness. Well, I do think there’s much around us to inspire our fear. But I also think there’s a lot to be hopeful about, especially if we focus first on what’s in our own backyard. If I can help a few more people to see that, then this quixotic slog of mine will be anything but fruitless.

I thank you for listening, and I’ll be seeing you along the trail.