I am not running for office. I don’t work for the government. But I do consider myself a public servant. I have designed my life to be of service to the people of my nation and the people of the world. As an American citizen, I am dedicated to using my life to improve the lives of those around me. I’ve watched our “public servants” over the last couple of decades, and I’ve learned a lot. From some, I have learned who I want to be. From others, I have learned who I don’t want to be.
I have put countless hours of thought into how I can mold myself to be of best service to my country and the world. And I have put far more hours into solid action, becoming the human I want to be, and leading by a positive example to truly be of service.
I feel today, just before midterm elections 2018, is a timely day to share my personal commitments as a public servant to my nation and the world.
When I look at our current political system I see many deeply rooted flaws. We call our system a democracy, but basic research shows that we have more of a semi-democracy, or even a pseudo-democracy. Many of the roots to our flawed democracy are a matter of money. Politicians are bought by corporations and lobbyists. Elections are swayed by the desires of private interests. And when those people are elected, they have favors to pay back. They say money makes the world go around. I don’t believe this. I’m certain the world would keep going around without the existence of money. But in our current society, it is undoubtedly the center of a vast portion of our lives. Because of this I have made deep commitments in how I let money be a part of my life.
I commit to earning no more than what is considered the federal poverty guideline annually. In 2018, that is approximately $12,000 for an individual. In 2018, I have earned $8,000. In 2017, I earned $5,000. By drastically limiting the amount of money that I can earn, I drastically limit the ability for anyone or any company to purchase my decision making, my audience, my influence, or to sway my personal morals and ethics. I have freed myself to make decisions based on what’s best for others rather than what’s best for my financial wealth.
I commit to maintaining a very small net worth. My financial net worth will be maintained at or below my yearly maximum earnings mentioned above. This would be about $12,000 or less currently. The net worth of my physical possessions will not exceed that same guideline. At the time of writing, 11/03/2018, my net worth is around $6,000. I have about $1,200 cash. My possessions are financially valued at less than $5,000. I have no investment accounts or bank account. My opinions can’t be swayed through the temptation of expensive items such as cars or property.
I have committed for life to donating 100% of my media earnings to environmental nonprofits. That is the main way that money enters my life. I have no desire to become financially wealthy through any level of fame or celebrity that I gain. Since first making my vows in April of 2015, donations of $43,000 have been made to nonprofits that are working for the betterment of our society. This includes the two TV shows I’ve done and my first book. $43,000 is not an incredible amount of money, but I have focused my life around not generating money, so given that, it’s a meaningful amount to me. I put it into grassroots nonprofits who use the money wisely and can make a big difference with a little bit of money.
I commit to adhering to a set of ethics when it comes to working with companies. I will not accept money from companies in exchange for something that I should not offer them. This isn’t exactly a black and white issue that I can lay down exact guidelines for. However, I will practice complete transparency, so that I can’t hide anything. As an example, I was offered $14,000 for a campaign with Ford. I did believe I could have a very positive impact with that money being donated to a nonprofit. But ultimately, I decided not to work with Ford as they are not in alignment with my mission and I could not promote them in good conscious. I turn down a vast majority of financial opportunities because they must be aligned for me to accept them, and a majority are not. The opportunities I do take with companies will be taken only if it can be done in a way that serves the greater interest of people and does not compromise my ethics.
Here is a blog disclosing my relationship with all companies I’ve worked with.
My independent and honest voice is worth more than money can buy.
I commit to practicing financial transparency. There will be no hiding of what I do with my money. You’ll know where it comes from and who I support. I am always open to questions about my involvement with money and will answer those questions.
By focusing on a life removed from the monetary system, I have freed myself to live in the service of others. I have simplified my life to basic needs, and I know how to meet those needs, which frees up my time to be in the service of others. I keep my voice independent. I keep my focus on what matters in life to myself and others. I prevent myself from being swayed in ways that I know are not right. The trickle down of living a non-monetized way of life is not fully explainable in a short blog. The positive impacts of truthful, dignified, and ethical living are countless and not even always known or understood.
My intention is to adhere to these commitments for my entire life. However, too often I see people make lifetime commitments and all too often I see these “lifetime” commitments last a fraction of their life. Because of that, I am making my vows for four-year periods. I chose four years, the length of presidency in the United States, because I wanted to feel how long that is, so I can understand how so many of them break their promises in that time. These vows are a renewal of my original vows on April 8th, 2015 that were committed to until April 8th, 2019. These vows will be in effect from today until November 3rd, 2020 at which time my vows will fall into four-year time periods, falling on election days. I will renew my vows, with changes if decided, every four years.
At this point I am not running for any governmental positions. I feel I am best in service as an independent person doing what I’m doing. It is possible that I will hold a government position in the future.
If I do, I would not accept a salary and 100% of the funds would be used to serve the people I was elected to serve.
If I do, I would not accept any money from businesses that could sway my decision. I would not accept campaign contributions from corporations or Super PACs. If running for a smaller office, I would even like to run with no fundraising being used on my election, and instead all funds raised being used to improve the community while I am running.
If I do, I will do it not as a job, but as a passion and for the sake of the people I am elected to serve. It will not be a career. Benefit packages will play no important roll. It will truly be a matter of service to the people.
These personal commitments I have made guarantee that I will never be the 1% or represent the 1%. I will always be the 99% and represent the 99%.
This writing is largely focusing on money because I see that as what is so deeply detrimental to our current government. Over the last seven years I have worked diligently to align myself with a higher set of ethics and morals. And most of that is not about money.
As my voice grows, I want to grow as a leader that has a positive influence on our representatives. I don’t feel that I need to be in the system to have a positive effect on the system right now. I am confident that I can do that by showing them what is possible as a human being. Of course, every public servant is first and foremost a human being.
Currently I will continue my public service through programs that I’ve created to benefit my fellow citizens. This year I started Gardens for Single Moms and have built gardens for five single parent families to help them grow their own healthy food. I have helped to plant hundreds of Community Fruit Trees around the nation. I have helped thousands of people grow their own healthy food through the Free Seed Project.
I will continue my public speaking, most of which is either free of charge or used to raise money for environmental projects.
I will continue to bring a voice to people who are bettering our world. I do this through creating videos, writing, interviews, and financial support.
I will continue my activism, spreading the truth about issues that matter.
I will continue to live a life that is alignment with environmental sustainability and justice.
I will continue to acknowledge the hardships of others and change my life to make sure I am not contributing to their hardship, and instead live in a way that is helpful.
I will continue to act through a place of compassion, kindness, and understanding. Not a place of fear, hatred, or jealousy.
I will continue to speak and act truthfully. I will not lie.
I will continue to educate myself to be of better service.
I will continue to work on myself, to be a better person and a better leader.
I will continue to live simply, so that others may simply live.
This I will continue, to be of service to the earth, my community, and myself.
As your public servant.
There are a few important things I would like to make sure do not go unsaid.
My intention is not to simulate poverty through my financial commitments. I live a good life. My needs are met. I am very thankful for this. My commitment to living simply with minimal money is to be used as a tool to affect positive change in the best way that I know how to today.
I acknowledge my privilege in being able to live this way. I understand many people could not do this like I can. I aim to always acknowledge the privilege that I do have and to use it to empower and lift others up. I aim to use my privilege to create a more sustainable and just world. I aim to make sure that I don’t use my privilege in a way that is harmful and unfair to others.
My life is centered around affecting positive change. I don’t put these commitments on myself to limit my ability to affect change. Rather, these commitments are designed to increase my ability to affect positive change. In changing times it’s likely that I will change my methods some, but I will always stick to a core of honesty, transparency, and actions that are truly in alignment with the ethics and morals I have laid out here.
Cover photo by Sierra Ford Photography