The Fringe, Part 5
Presidential candidates you've never heard of.
Updated Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, at 6:05 PM
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Michael Skok, a 58-year-old retiree from New York, asked me this today: "I would argue with you that Republicans have evolutionists in their party. So why can't the Democrats have a creationist in their own party?" Skok believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, that America will cease to exist within eight years, and that we need to send a man to Mars. That's why he's running for president.
Undeterred by his 18-vote tally in New Hampshire's 2000 primary, Skok is back in the race for the Democratic nomination. Not that he's on the trail, exactly: He can't afford to head out to New Hampshire just yet, having spent much of his campaign budget on the $1,000 registration fee for the state primary. His family doesn't like that he's running: "They said it's a waste of money. I tell them I'm trying to save the country." Here's the plan:
Restore the country's Christian values: Skok wants to stage a modern-day Scopes Trial via a nationwide debate between the country's best creationists and evolutionists. "We're becoming a nation that's godless with no morality," he said. He's puts his faith in the creationists, partly because the books on evolution he has read have been "confusing."
Find alternate sources of energy: To ease America's dependence on the OPEC states, Skok wants to put solar panels in Earth's orbit and then somehow get that energy back down to Earth. Also, expect the Skok administration to put solar collectors along the freeway and invest in wind turbines.
Fix America's trade deficit: Skok is convinced that in eight years, there will be no such thing as the United States. Instead, the EU is going to annex the U.S. because the dollar will be so weak and so many industries will have been outsourced to China.
Advance America's science and technology sectors: Sending an astronaut to Mars, he said, would help strengthen America's position in the world. This, coupled with Skok's desire to send solar panels into orbit, made me wonder how his creationist beliefs jibe with his scientific interests. "I'm using science to find out if the Bible is true," he told me.
Skok said he can't imagine voting for any other Democrat but that Fred Thompson had caught his eye because he wanted to restore Christian values. If Fred's performance continues to underwhelm, maybe Values Voters can find their candidate across the aisle.
Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.
Photographs of: Cap Fendig courtesy Cap Fendig; screenshot of The Huffington Post.