A GW graduate and controversial anti-war advocate is making a bid for a Congressional seat in New Mexico’s third district.
Adam Kokesh, a 2008 political management graduate, best known at GW for inciting a campus-wide controversy when he co-authored notorious posters regarding Muslims in 2007, launched his campaign in July.
Kokesh said the posters – which were intended to be a satirical protest of the Young Americas Foundation’s Islamo-Fascism week, and depicted Muslims as terrorists – are representative of his campaign.
“Those posters actually embody the heart of my campaign, to not take things for granted and instead to question everything,” Kokesh said. “The posters were made to reveal the scare tactics of today’s government and media. We can’t let the government scare us. Terrorists are not going to jump out of our television screens.”
Through his time at GW, Kokesh said he learned to possess the ideals that change and liberty were possible. And, by using the confidence and competence that he gained through his time at GW, Kokesh said he feels ready to have a place in government.
He added that being a veteran also uniquely qualifies him for the job he seeks.
“As someone who has been through the frustrating veteran system, I know that government officials have always been out of touch with the American public. As a congressman I would be able to bring power to individual communities and not leave everything in the hands of the federal government,” said Kokesh, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, who is also known for interrupting Sen. John McCain’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 2008 with a sign that read “McCain Votes Against Vets; You Can’t Win an Occupation.”
Kokesh said that because he does not have a big war chest to fund his campaign, he is mainly using his campaign Web site as a tool to reach the rural New Mexico public and the constituents he seeks to represent.
“I wasn’t able to hire a hundred people to work on my campaign but through my Web site I am able to get the message across to millions of people who can help to spread the word,” Kokesh said. “This is a philosophical and political revolution against the divine right of government.”
According to the Federal Election Committee Web site, Kokesh raised $98,504 in individual donations as of Sept. 30, the last date listed for his campaign filings.
He added that in the past, government officials were able to “cherry pick” voters with their knowledge of history but, with the rise of the Internet, that tactic is obsolete.
He said that YouTube now gives “usually ignorant” American citizens the opportunity to analyze speeches made by politicians, making it possible for citizens to find whether candidates are being truthful or not.
“Having the Internet is like having a truth button,” Kokesh said. “You don’t just have to take people’s word for things, you can look it up and tell them if they are wrong or right.”
Kokesh said that a large part of his campaign is based around his commitment to truth and to expose the “currently harsh reality of the United States and do something about it.”
“New Mexico has a relaxed, down-to-earth atmosphere that is hard to find in a place like Washington, D.C.,” said Kokesh, who pledges not to accept the salary of a congressman – around $174,000 per year- and instead only accept the national average salary of $50,000. “People don’t move here to have authority. They move here to have individual liberty and gain American grassroots. These are the ideals that I am trying to implement in the rest of American society.”
This article appeared in the January 11, 2010 issue of the Hatchet.