Franklin For President – Introduction and FAQs Pt. 1

Ben's Journal, Life and Times of the Philly O.G.

Introduction and F.A.Q.s

Hello!

This might feel like a very odd and abstract concept for you to understand… but you are currently having a VERY one-sided conversation with Ben Franklin…

Congratulations!

I understand that you have questions. I’ll answer them shortly. But first let me say:

HEY! I’m back! Not newly back, though. I’ve actually been back for about 5 years now… soooo surprise!

I’m not old. I am 29 years old with a full head of reddish brown hair and a RAGING deficit of attention… wait that was disordered. BUT, I’m feeling crazy healthy and energetic. I got plans. I got goals. And I’m feeling ready to conquer the 21st century the way I dismantled the 18th century… like a total and complete BO$$.

But let’s start with some FAQs:

Where have you been for the past five years???

It was 2012 when I was brought back, thanks to “science”. Science was not being adequately supported and funded so the scientists couldn’t afford to contain me. I had no time to acclimate to my new world. I was responsible for going out to make a living to support myself. They figured that, since every other 24 year old in the country was poor and in debt, I was on relatively equal footing. Their only condition was that, if I became successful and wealthy, I would turn around and use my wealth to fund and support Philadelphia education. I nodded and said, “Deal.” And then I left…

After leaving the science laboratory, I wandered into my old stomping grounds, Olde City, or, as I called it, “Philadelphia”. With no job, no identity, no passport, I needed money fast. Fortunately, I was able to quickly find a job, playing myself.

I stood at my grave, contemplating my future life. The printing trade was out of the question thanks to “computers”. I had no applicable skills or experience to any business in this age. At that somber moment, a big rotund man in a brown colonial suit walk up with bifocals and a mullet… he was portraying Ben Franklin… me. He spoke with a muddled accent which was a pretty shitty impression, honestly… but as I listened to him regurgitate every aphorism and Poor Richards quote, it occurred to me: I could do the same thing he was doing, and make instant cash.

So I began giving tours. I did all types of tours in the city. Bus tours, walking costumed tours, neighborhood walking tours. Ghost tours. Beer tours. I played both “Ben Franklin” and an alias, mild-mannered “Anthony Nonymous” (NAWN-uh-MUSS). I was young, energetic, and… well I loved to learn. I remembered every question that I was unable to answer and would find the answer in my library. I was able to catch up on a lot of history and politics and culture this way… and my notebooks are extensive… like I could make money from my Franklin Notebooks. But I was excellent at tours. Every tour review for me was basically the same: “A. Nonymous is the best tour guide I’ve ever had. Seriously, the best tours come from A. Nonymous!

After a couple years of giving tours, I had made connections with several schools whom I enjoyed working with. One school offered me a position as a substitute teacher. I said, “Of course!” Having mastered the tour industry, I was ready for a new challenge. Teaching students in Philadelphia seemed like a noble cause…

It wasn’t. At least, not substitute teaching. Substitute teaching is not noble. Substitute teaching is battle. It’s no-holds-barred. You walk in and show an ounce of fear, they know it… and they attack. I was NOT ready. I was a building substitute for a whole high school… this meant I didn’t see students enough for them to respect me. Buttttt I still saw them enough for them to remember me and every mistake I made. And I made A LOT of mistakes. To be fair, if I were their age, I would’ve messed with me, too.

I felt like I finally had a noble challenge! I would educate these monsters until they respected and learned from me. It would be foolish to stay in the role of substitute; I needed my own classroom. I applied to schools around the city and was offered a position of senior English teacher at Franklin University Charter High School in Old City Philadelphia. It was FATE. I gladly took the position and spent the last 3 years learning how to teach. Nothing has been better for me to understand the current culture of my city than teaching.

(FAQ Continued Thursday…)

My Promise as a Teacher: I Will Never Forget

Politics

The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind of emotions for many people in the country. Shock. Horror. Anger. Depression. Shame. You know, just your standard stages of mourning…

(It’s a terrible sign when a bunch of teachers are crying after an election, by the way…)

Now, Trump supporters will roll their eyes and say, “Oh you’re just being dramatic. It won’t be that bad. Now is the time to come together as a country and put this vicious campaign behind us,” Don’t get me wrong, I understand that sentiment. I really do. The American political tradition is built on this sense of reconciliation. After a long hard fought political battle, this gesture is what makes us unique and strong. You can see this feeling manifest in the statements made today by President-Elect Donald Trump. He went to the White House and described how “honored” he was to be meeting President Obama. His victory speech, the previous day, was humble and soft-spoken as he stated his intentions to help ALL Americans. His two minions, Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, even stated that they would graciously reconsider bringing criminal charges to Hillary Clinton! So once again, I understand the need and desire to put all of this bad blood behind us in order to mend our wounds and “Make America Great Again”.

Here’s the problem. All of these “genuine” gestures of reconciliation are BULLSHIT. To “let bygones be bygones” is to try to throw back into the closet all of the 2-week old, festering, dirty laundry that came out in this election. This is something I will not do. I have too much integrity to reconcile.

Here is what I WILL do:

As a teacher to a population of African-American and Muslim students, I will explain to my students how Trump won. I will explain to them that most people who voted for him were concerned about losing their jobs and that he was the only one promising to make it better. I will explain to them that only a fraction of the electorate voted for him solely out of a racist agenda. I will talk them down from the cliff as they contemplate all of the ways in which Trump is going to take away their rights. I will urge them to educate themselves and others; to organize their communities and friends; to take political action and peacefully protest for their rights; and to vote. I will do everything in my power to keep them hopeful in the future of our country.

But I will NOT forget everything you said and did, Donald Trump.

I will not forget how you championed a political agenda based on racist, xenophobic rhetoric. I will not forget how you called Mexicans “rapists”. I will not forget how you called on the country to ban Muslims. I will not forget how you spent five years accusing our President of being born in Kenya in order to discredit him. I will not forget how you used these horrible, hate-filled, divisive statements to help get you elected. I do believe that you are not racist, but your white privilege makes you ignorant, nonetheless. The fact that you would knowingly use this type of rhetoric to push your cause forward makes you worse than a racist. At least someone who is racist has principles, as fucked up as they are. I will never forget that you are less principled than a bigot.

I will not forget how you banned several media outlets from covering you because they critiqued and criticized the divisive comments you make. I will never forget how you claimed you would challenge the First Amendment in order to punish our free press if you were elected. I will not forget how you loved to deliver insults but couldn’t handle any in return. I will not forget how you ranted and railed against comedians, politicians, and pundits who made fun of your or challenged you. I will not forget how you often did this on Twitter…. at 3 AM.

I will never forget the misogyny. I will never forget “grab her by the pussy” or the appalling first 30 minutes of the second debate where you shamelessly threw the different accusers of Bill Clinton into Hillary’s face just so you could deflect from your transgressions.

There are too many other things you did to list here, but here’s just a few more things I will not forget:

I will not forget how everyone – media, analysts, and people from your own party/campaign – predicted you would lose because your campaign simply could not, would not, and should not be taken seriously.

I will not forget that my wife, my mother, my sisters, my nieces, and my other female friends and family did not get to see the first woman president become elected because they lost to you.

I will not forget how angry and scared my students have been due to the constant tensions with police. I remember telling them that they needed to vote because they didn’t have a right to complain if they chose not to use their right. On Monday, I reminded them, able to vote for the first time in their lives, to vote on Tuesday.

I will never forget the looks on their faces on Wednesday. The shock. The horror. The dejectedness. This was their first time voting, and the outcome made them question every positive value they had heard about it. 

I WILL NEVER FORGET HOW YOU SCARED MY KIDS. I will never forgive you for this.

So as we move into the next four years, I will be a good citizen. I have spent my adult years worshipping Ben Franklin and trying to create a fresh look at America’s founding through a “Progressively Patriotic” lens. I will respect that you are President through America’s Electoral College, even though you lost the popular vote. I will respect the Office of the President and give you a chance to solve the many problems in the country. But I will not forget everything that you did to make me lose my faith in America’s values.

I will never forget. I cannot forget.

Policy #1: REFORMING CAMPAIGNS INTO NON-PROFITS

Ben's Journal, Politics

The responsibility of every politician is to serve the people, not to stroke their own ego. As I watch the elections of every level of government, I see less of the former and more of the latter. Of course, COMMON SENSE requires us to review the credentials of each and every candidate for each and every position in public office. COMMON SENSE also reminds us that one who runs for public office must have confidence in their abilities and, therefore, must have their ego stroked in order to maintain that faith in their self. However, must their ego be stroked at the rate of approximately One Billion Dollars in each presidential election cycle?!? I am still learning about the fashions and customs of the modern world but I can tell you that this is a poor use of our extensive, but still limited, resources.

I understand the feeling that one must raise money in order to run an effective campaign operation in the current campaign system, but COMMON SENSE argues that raising $100 million for a failed campaign is a poor investment, even if the candidate was in contention until the very last moment. What adds insult to idiocy is that this enormous sum of money is loosely thrown around each election cycle while pervasive societal issues such (poverty, education, etc.) continue. These issues need to be consistently addressed, and not just as talking points, by the candidates. Because the American people need to know that these politicians can effectively combat these societal issues, COMMON SENSE would therefore argue that the campaign cycle should be a challenge to tackle one of these issues. Here is my proposal:

POLICY #1: POLITICAL NON-PROFIT CAMPAIGN

Issue Addressed: Campaign Financing Reform meets Funding for Social Programs

Political Spectrum: All

Key Points:

  1. Candidates will establish and operate a non-profit organization addressing one societal issue that pervades within the American community
  2. Donors do not donate to the candidate but rather to the candidate’s organization
  3. The candidate will use free media outlets to provide platform policies of their potential administrations
  4. Candidates will be required to be involved in 5 debates to be controlled and run by third parties.
  5. After election, failed candidates required to stabilize non-profit and run it effectively until qualified replacement is found.

It is COMMON SENSE that, between the two phrases, “well done” is better than “well said”; therefore, the Election Cycle should be chance for candidates to prove their worth as potential future leaders of the “Free World”. No longer, will the American people have to be inundated with multiple messages, speeches, and positive/negative advertisements. A qualified speech-writer can make any Poor Dick appear like a Demi-God. However, if a candidate is placed at the head of an non-profit organization, we, the people, will immediately witness the level of their effectiveness. There are many benefits to this system.

Benefits

As previously mentioned, the people get to act as scouts, monitoring the movements of each and every candidate. We take the candidates on a “test-run” and determine the strengths and deficiencies of each of them. We take every move into account: what their issue priority is; whom the candidates select in each position within the organization; how effectively the organization becomes (etc.). The Executive Branch of the government is a massive organization that requires the oversight of dozens of departments in the bureaucracy. The pressure of heading our ship of state is immense. I would argue that a candidate who can handle the immense pressure of creating and running an organization dedicated to effectively educate low-income populations while, in the meantime, competing against other candidates in the spotlight of the critical media, is worthy of a potential nomination, if not vote.

There is no more noble cause than effectively tackling poverty or funding a series of schools. Therefore, we can forgive many politicians for their flaws in character if they are effective. Of course, the more egregious characteristic impediments will not be able to be ignored, but if the people are prevented from questioning a woman on her family values because she has chosen to be successful at her work than have a family. If she can help feed children, than who cares if she has them, herself?! I certainly do not!

Furthermore, the donors, themselves, can feel proud of their contributions to normally underfunded organizations. Even if their candidate loses the election, they can feel proud that they raised money to fight one of the many major problems that plague our society. Imagine if Bernie Sanders and his supporters had spent his campaign money – approximately $228 million – on developing a program to reduce college debt. Imagine if Jeb Bush had used his $155 million to aid and support army veterans returning home from war in the Middle East. Imagine if Donald Trump had used his $95 million into a program for early education programs for children…. well maybe not that last one. But you get the idea. If any of those candidates lose, then America still wins. Besides, once someone has donated to an organization, they are more likely to continue providing funds. (Disclaimer: this is a statement which I did no research on and is based off a basic assumption. #politicking)

There will still be an opportunity for the candidates to express their opinions, of course, but their money will not be involved. Third party news outlets will run the televised debates with effective moderators who will make the candidates answer difficult questions. Online sites can run their advertisements. In other words, their messages will be loud, but their actions will be louder.

My Campaign

In order to make show the effectiveness of this policy initiative, I will model my own campaign as a non-profit organization. The “Franklin For President” campaign is dedicated to raising awareness to Common Sense as well as raising money for schools in Philadelphia. The profits of every T-Shirt sold by “Enlightning Tees” will be divided and donated to raise money for both students and teachers. This movement is much more important than the campaign itself. All of my writings and all of my projects will be dedicated to battling urban education. So if you donate to me, you are supporting education! No other candidate can claim that!