For his announcement, Rees chose a small park in Danville, a block or two away from the closed Dan River Mills industrial complex. Walking up, you couldn't help but notice that Rees, presumably unchanged from work, was wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a button-up shirt ... to the official announcement of his candidacy. These images, naturally, symbolized Rees' desire to be seen as a working man, one of us, fighting against the "pretension of politics" and the (governmental) ills affecting our families. Rees and his campaign manager, Michael Ernette, who has commented on this blog before, were very cordial and easy to get a long with, guys with whom you would want to grab a brew.
In an unorthodox start to his speech, Rees declared his relative distaste for the current political landscape. His message, in my opinion, was seemingly (or better?) fit for an Independent candidacy, especially given his previous thoughts on a third party candidacy and his reluctance to claim the Republican party as his own. Rees begins:
I can't stand politics, or most politicians. There are a few statesmen left, but not nearly enough to stem the erosion of core principles that has been taking place for nearly a century. Americans are tired of the same old choices. And you shouldn't have to hold your nose when you pull that lever in the voting booth.Rees never aspired to office and has not held office, though his employment history "is replete with accolades from former employers, supervisors, et cetera." It wasn't until last year's campaign cycle, that Rees was agitated enough to consider public office:
In televised ads last October, Congressman Perriello, in typical political-posturing fashion, blatantly lied about the FairTax, an issue I've dedicated the last 5+ years of my life to. That and my years of research on the subject of the FairTax were my initial reason for running.At this point Rees highlighted the major platforms of his campaign, the FairTax and reversing the onslaught of governmental intrusion, and he circuitously navigated between these two issues. To his latter platform, Rees stated:
Our political system has created a bureaucracy so large, pervasive, and downright insidious, that the average working family feels helpless to stop the wrecking ball that is swing toward them. our entire political structure has been reinforced over the last several decades, not to serve the people who foot the bill, but to reign over us in perpetuitiy.On the FairTax, Rees existentially argued:
Why do I enthusiastically endorse the FairTax? Because a human being's life span is finite. You only have so many minutes, hours, and days on Earth. When you go to work, whatever time you spend there is a portion of your life that you can never reclaim. You are trading those hours of your life for a monetary compensation, with which you can purchase whatever you choose to enhance and/or sustain your life, and that of your family.Rees reiterated his anger at the current political atmosphere, aimed at both parties, and how his previous political organizing, complemented with new technology, can overcome this disenfranchisement:
When your government forcefully confiscates any portion of that money, before you can even use it for sustatining the life of yourself and your family, your government is, essentially laying claim to a portion of your life. The framers of the Constitution knew this, which was exactly why they expressly prohibited direct taxation of a person's income. The 16th Amendment changed that. It's time to get rid of that amendment. And, yes, you guessed it: the FairTax will do that too.
Through the social edia revolution, massive numbers of ordinary people are being mobilized ot take on the corruption of the political machines run by both major parties, and their crony counterparts in Congress.Through paralleling his rhetoric with his intended image, Rees concluded:
The paradigm must shift, but it will take some loud voices raised in opposition and some heavy lifting. Luckily, I'm bringing a bullhorn and a forklift with me.
Update: Catherine Amos, of the Danville Register and Bee, reports the event. Notice the interesting quotes from Ernette and Tucker Watkins.