The following is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview of Walker by a reporter for “The Technician,” North Carolina State University’s student newspaper. The reporter wanted to do a piece on the only North Carolina native running for the Presidency in 2004, especially after having been denied an interview with the much more prominent N.C. native, Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards. However, the interview was not run because the editors didn’t feel it qualified as “news” considering that Walker was not even eligible to be elected and had not been seen in about 3 weeks. The editors instead opted to run a front page piece on the university’s rivalry with the University of North Carolina. This was the last interview ever with candidate Walker before a lack of support and an assassination attempt forced him underground.
(Sound of phone ringing twice) (Click.) [Walker]: Hello?
[Technician]: Is this Jeffrey Walker?
[Walker]: Who’s asking?
[Technician]: I’m a reporter from The Technician, the newspaper…
[Walker]: (Interrupting) Yeah, I’m familiar. But I haven’t been a student at N.C.S.U. for some time. What can I do for you?
[Technician]: I’ve been following your campaign, and I’d like to do a piece on you. Would you mind answering a few questions?
[Walker]: You know they probably won’t run it don’t you?
[Technician]: Nevertheless, would you mind?
[Walker]: Okay, shoot.
[Technician]: Mr. Walker: Your “campaign” really never has gotten off the ground. You have no party affiliation and no recognized political action group has endorsed you. You won’t appear on any ballot, you don’t have a website -- well, outside of this “Intrepid Media” thing which really just seems to merely tolerate your rantings. You don’t even…
[Walker]: (Interrupting) I think you’ve made your point. Is there a question here?
[Technician]: What do you think your chances are at winning?
[Walker]: Not too good.
[Technician]: (pauses) Would you care to elaborate?
[Walker]: Look, I should probably let you know, I knew from the beginning that I wasn’t even old enough to be sworn in as President until 2009. That wasn’t my point.
[Technician]: What was the point, Mr. Walker?
[Walker]: I had an idea. I had an idea about America. I thought there were certain things that all Americans could agree on. To paraphrase Jefferson, “Truths that we hold self-evident,” especially if they were presented in the most favorable light. But I’m not so sure anymore.
[Technician]: Mmmm Hmmmm. What do you think now?
[Walker]: Don’t get me wrong: I think there are a lot of very conscious Americans who would like to hear inventive solutions to our nations' ills. Unfortunately, they are countered by the fact that –- well, two facts, really. First: There are certain forces at work aimed at keeping the status quo. I mean, let's face it, the way the government operates is a business in itself. A major restructuring of our nation’s health-care system, or its military or educational system; none of these changes can occur without disrupting the mechanisms we already have in place –- the current private insurance companies, the teacher’s unions and so forth. That means people losing jobs, companies being put out of business, power and bureaucracy being shifted and erased -– a whole mess of things that are easily construed as bad. People are resistant to change. People don’t want a new way of doing things. People don’t want their current situation uprooted. And that’s natural, but difficult to work against if you really have ideas that are coming in completely outside of the box.
[Technician]: And what’s the second thing?
[Walker]: The second thing is that; well, as I said, I thought there were things we could agree on. I used to think that a rational argument could win out. If figured that, in spite of all the problems that actually go along with change that I just talked about, I figured that at least people could agree on what was important. And that was my biggest misconception.
[Technician]: So wait a minute -- are you saying that Americans wouldn’t know a good idea if it hit them in the face?
[Walker]: Not all of them. Let me use an example to help explain.
When Ford first introduced seat belts in the 1960’s, a large majority of customers didn’t want to use them. Now, I don’t think there’s a person alive who could realistically argue that seat belts are a bad idea. In test after test, seat belts have helped save lives in most automobile accident scenarios. Still, people balked.
What’s the lesson to be learned there? A good idea; an idea that is beneficial to human welfare, is not necessarily a popular idea. This was my ultimate flaw in logic. I figured a good idea could always be recognized as a good idea.
I can give you reasons why universal health care would be a great idea for Americans. I can tell you why certain shifts in the way we do business, in the way we teach our children, in the way we conduct military operations and enforce laws -– I can make all sorts of suggestions that would be good for the American people in the broad sense. But if America balks, then you just aren’t getting anywhere. If people can’t see past the initial difficulties in order to help the masses, then change is hard to enact.
I could state some concept that made perfect sense to me, and there are some Americans out there would argue with me just because they could. Some wouldn’t even notice that I’d made a suggestion -- and if they did notice, they would simply tell me to “talk to the hand” because all they could hear was that I was making an assertion that didn’t match their own instincts. Let alone they think about another argument, they would rather just ignore you than take the time to listen. To many Americans, it doesn’t matter if their notions are based on research, reason, experimentation and thoughtfulness or if they are just based on mere “gut instinct” –- some people think “Freedom of Speech” means that whatever they believe is just as valid. That’s a little bit of the problem with “freedom of speech”; a lot of people take what they think so seriously.
[Technician]: Some would probably say you take your opinions too seriously.
[Walker]: Asshole says what?
[Walker]: Exactly. And maybe I do take what I say seriously. But I really think I have the welfare of Americans as a whole in mind. Especially the poorest, least educated –- the ones who need help the most. Only when those most in need are taken care of can we move onto bigger and better things, together. Certain people can't get past their own idea of what the "problem" with America is. I mean -- a constitutional amendment to define marriage? A "do-not-call" list so salespeople don't call during your dinner? I just don't feel as though this is what our congress should be dealing with while people can't eat, and people can't get prenatal care.
[Technician]: So can you sum up your ideas in short sound bytes?
[Walker]: I think we need universal health care now. The alternative leaves a lot of Americans out in the cold, having to make choices between going to the doctor or paying rent and buying food. No one should have to do this; people have a right to be healthy. Universal health care will cut down on insurance paperwork, costs of personal injury litigation, and help ease the pain of illness for our citizens.
We need to re-focus our aims in the war on drugs. We cannot defeat the industry unless we take away the black market nature that puts money in the pockets of criminal enterprise. We have to stop what makes it profitable to those we don’t want to profit. And I’m sorry to say, the threat of jail-time isn’t it.
We need to keep jobs in America. “Tax-breaks”, as argued by our current two major candidates, isn’t going to do a damn thing. Industries don’t go overseas to save on taxes. And there's no tax plan this government can put together than will offset the saving of production overseas. Companies produce overseas because the cost of production is insanely less than the same in America. Until we can address this problem, we can expect jobs, especially in the field of manufacturing, to continue to make an exodus from our boarders. And what good are lower prices when no one has a job left to buy the goods produced somewhere else.
[Technician]: (Interrupting) Sorry, we need even shorter sound bytes than that.
[Walker]: (Without pausing)... A vote for me means you’re thoughtful to the plight of other Americans, and not merely concerned with yourself. A vote for me means your willing for your government to help its citizens have a better life, and are less concerned with a small tax rebate that you could use to buy lunch for a week. A vote for me means you are less concerned with whether your neighbors are a gay couple, or a Hispanic couple or a Middle Eastern couple, and more concerned about if they have enough to eat and if they will be okay if they get in an accident. Or if their children are being cared for. I know for a fact that there are people who are more concerned about what color or religion the person is next door as opposed to if their life is good or not. And to me, that's just wrong. To me, this seems like common sense. But as I said, what makes sense is not something we can all agree on.
[Technician]: Is that about it?
[Walker]: Yeah, I guess I’m done.
[Technician]: One last thing. Are you endorsing any candidate?
[Walker]: I’m going to vote for Nader. He won’t win, but he’s the only viable candidate who I think is really concerned about the common people like you and me. These other two ultra-rich [explicative] don’t have a clue as to what it’s like for regular Joes like you and me.
[Technician]: Are you insulting me?
[Walker]: Okay I think this interview is over. [end of interview.]
writer's note: Several telephone messages were left at Mr. Walker's residence, but were not responded to. The final draft of this transcript was sent along with the introduction via facsimile to Walker for comments. It was returned with two additions: (1) the word "damn" was added with an arrow in the body of the text to the sentence, “We need to keep jobs in America. “Tax-breaks”, as argued by our current two major candidates, isn’t going to do a damn thing.” – this correction has been added to the text because it was a correction made by the original speaker himself. (2) a comment was made to the writer’s introduction, but was not printed above. I thought I would share it.
After the sentence, “This was the last interview ever with candidate Walker before the lack of support and an assassination attempt forced him underground.” – walker wrote, “It wasn’t so much the “lack of support” so much as a “vehement opposition.” I think that’s the only way an assassination attempt can be construed. But hey; people hated Lincoln, and now he’s revered. Not that I expect a monument.
Don’t forget to vote this November.
A practicing attorney and semi-professional musician, Walker writes for his own amusement, for the sake of opinion, to garner a couple of laughs, and to perhaps provoke a question or two, but otherwise, he doesn't think it'll amount to much.
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10.18.04 @ 9:46a
Are you sure you're not going to run in 2009?
This is another reason why I insanely dislike the polarity of politics. Being a "public servant" isn't about "our side winning": so as long as we have one man or one side winning as the goal, the major issues will continue to be unresolved, because without them, there's nothing to claim to fix.
10.18.04 @ 2:56p
You got somewhere I can read about your platform, Mary? I gotta see what you're about before I can vote for you! Maybe we can run together.
I could run in 2009 -- chances are I'll be in about the same place in the polls, unless you can find a party to back me. I'd be happy to serve the public - for what is best, not for what my party wants.
10.19.04 @ 2:10p
Lots of good ideas. Now if you only had a wickedly rich PAC to push your name out there!
10.19.04 @ 6:55p
I don't understand