University alumnus runs for United States President

In 1978 Joe Schriner graduated from the University and now — 25 years later — he is running for president of the United States in the 2004 election.

Schriner, an independent candidate, was raised in the west side of Cleveland and after earning a journalism degree at the University, he went on to work at the newspaper in Sandusky, Ohio and then for a magazine in Lorain, Ohio.

After a change in professions Schriner became a drug and alcohol counselor. Then in 1990, Schriner said because of a “spiritual prompting” he decided to research the country. To do this he crisscrossed the United States in his Honda for eight years looking to different communities for examples of people trying to enhance the quality of life in their community with creative ideas.

Then in 1999 Schriner decided to tell America about the projects he had found by running for president. Schriner ran in the 2000 election and lost but he is out there again traveling the country campaigning with his family. He took some time to speak with The BG News about his campaign.

Q: What qualities and characteristics do you possess that would qualify you for the job president of the United States?

A: I am not interested in power, big money or the glitz that comes with the job. I am interested in the common good for the common people. For instance, my family would not live in the White House as the First Family. We would live in urban D.C. and we would help improve the neighborhood, in tandem with working on the affairs of the nation.

Q: I have noticed you base a lot of your politics around community, family and environment. Why do you feel these are important parts of American life?

A: There are three parts to this answer. For one, during Campaign 2000 I told NBC News on the Monterey Peninsula in California that to heal the country, you have to heal the family. I learned from my years as a counselor, that when there’s a breakdown in the family, kids get shorted emotionally. Then they start to turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, compulsive overeating, compulsive work habits … just look around the BG campus — or any campus. The second part is directed toward community. The more stable and ‘well-oiled’ a local community is, the better the chance that people not only don’t fall through the cracks, but are actually made to feel part of a bigger family. Finally, as for the environment, it is simple: I do not want my children, or anyone’s children, inheriting a world of ozone holes, acid rain or global warming.

Q: Talk to me about your campaigning trip. When were you traveling? What do you do in different towns?

A: In the past five years we have traveled 40,000 miles campaigning. Like other presidential candidates, I give town square talks, speak at colleges, meet with people whose projects match our platform and listen to citizens concerns. Where there’s a difference is that for the most part we visit small towns, in a sort of “off the beaten path” campaign.

Q: Does your political platform have a lot to do with religion, or do you think these things should be separate?

A: A big part of what shapes my decisions, whether in politics, or in life in general, is my spirituality. My faith calls me to that. For instance, I just told a reporter in Wapakoneta, Ohio — home of the Neil Armstrong Space Museum — that as a president I would push to end the Space Program. I said my reason for this is we’re currently spending billions of dollars to go to Mars to see if there was ever any water there, meanwhile thousands of children in the Third World, on this planet, are dying of thirst or drinking contaminated water, everyday. I’m a catholic, and I believe the gospel message would lean way more toward this way of thinking.

Q: An article from the Savannah Morning News said you want to “spread your vision of a ‘saner’, more balanced America.” Can you explain what you mean by this vision?

A: As an example, we think in a “saner America” no little kids would be in a position where they were constantly trying to dodge needles, violence and hunger in the inner cities of America. We think in a “saner America” suburbanites with any sense of right would find this intolerable, cut back on their lifestyles tremendously, take the money — while rolling up their sleeves — and head into the inner cities in a big way to reverse this. In a ‘saner America’ wind turbines and solar cells would replace, across the board, extremely dangerous nuclear power plants and horrendously polluting coal, and other fossil fuel, energy generating plants.

Q: How did your eight–year trip, that began in 1990, expand your knowledge on how our nation could function better as a whole? Can you give some examples?

A: Here are some examples. In Yellow Springs, Ohio we researched Antioch College’s co-op work. Every other term, students work in the field they are majoring in. Advisers at the college say this gives the student a good feel for the reality of their field. Also, businesses get fresh energetic interns. Everybody wins. The question I ask: How many millions of dollars, and time, is wasted every year in America when students find out — four or five years and $40,000 to $100,000 later — that they majored in the wrong thing? Another example would be in Atwood, Kansas, population 1,500. We researched a town fund that started with $20,000 a decade ago. The voluntary fund was in addition to town taxes and intend to finance such benevolent causes as the Boy Scouts needing money to go on a trip, an elderly person needing help to pay for prescription drugs, or a playground equipment for a park. … People donate out of a sense of civic responsibility and now 10 years later, the fund is at a phenomenal $967,000.

Q: Tell me how you are connected to the youth in America and why their vote is important.

A: I’d love to give you some sort of hip, youth camaraderie thing here, even use the word ‘sweet’ somewhere in it. Or maybe even go a step further, and appear on MTV the way Al Gore did during Campaign 2000. But I think ‘sweet’ sounds kind of goofy, as perhaps a lot of us older people would. And I don’t even listen to Pink Floyd or the Allman Brothers anymore, as I did in my BG days.

The point is I’m not trying to be ‘one of the youth,’ 48 is told old for that. I see myself more as a father figure trying to help guide a younger generation toward a newer way. It’s a way that is not about materialism, ultra-competitiveness and individualism; but rather it’s a way that is about simplicity, sharing and community. And in regard to the ‘youth vote,’ I urge all students at BG to be critical thinkers, gathering and analyzing data about each presidential candidate, as if it was a quite important poli. sci. class assignment. Then after this careful analysis, I would further urge you all to go to the polls Nov. 2, 2004 and vote for the guy who went to BG. Go Falcons!