I’ve done a lot of things in my life, from epic adventures to financially rewarding enterprises and projects that left me broke. All of them are things I learned from and all of them share a common thread in what I was most surprised by each time, and what was most gratifying to me personally; inspiring people. There are two individuals I’ve inspired that really stand out to me.
In 1998 I was inspired by a friend of mine, Mick Bird, who had built a customized rowboat and set off to row around the world. http://www.goals.com/transrow/laterprt.htm Mick wouldn’t make it all the way, but that wasn’t what was important to me. He was living his dream and after seeing him out in the water for the first time, I knew I had to make my dream happen too. And so the summer of 99’ I set off from Long Beach, Washington to run across the North American continent to Long Beach, Massachusetts. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-63000832.html. While it was an amazing journey and accomplishment, the single most profound experience out of the four and a half months it took me was meeting an elderly man in upstate New York who had read about me in his local paper, and just had to find me out on the road to let me know I had inspired him to make the most of his remaining days and go hiking as much as possible while he still could. Neither of us had dry eyes as we parted ways, and what I was doing didn’t feel like such self-absorbed pursuit anymore.
It would be more than a decade till I had an experience like that again. In February 2012 I was helping Adam Kokesh and Nathan Cox promote their Vets for Ron Paul March on the White House http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b23MUAGibXM It was at the after party that night of the 20th that Nathan Cox let me know that when he had been deployed to Iraq in 2008, he had watched the video I had made that got me kicked out of the Army Reserves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osWmKRHgj-M To have inspired one of the guys leading the way with the Vets for Ron Paul 2012 group felt just absolutely amazing. It floored me, actually. Ron Paul talks all the time about reaching out and inspiring young people, and I know why now beyond the obvious future political reasons. It just plain feels good to change young people's lives.
I was recently inspired again, this time by George Farrah of opendebates.org who I caught in September giving an interview on the subject of what it would take to end the Commission on Presidential Debates stranglehold on free speech. A light bulb went off in my head as I knew my friend, Christina Tobin, who heads up FreeAndEqual.Org, was organizing the “open” presidential debates, and I knew that if I helped get enough cameras and attention to her debates, we could create the little crack in the Commission that Mr. Farrah was talking about. We did just that when approximately 10 million people watched the debate she hosted on October 23rd, 2012 moderated by Christina and Larry King, and enough people Tweeted about it to get us into the top ten trends that night. The next day, Jimmy Kimmel made fun of us and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell agreed with us.
We plan on ripping that crack wide open in 2016. I am not FreeAndEqual.Org's Communications Director, and I hope to inspire thousands and thousands of Nathan Cox's in the very near future through the work we do here at Free And Equal.
Viva La Liberty, and inspiration!
Zak Carter is an Army Veteran, a Ron Paul supporter, and is the Communications Director for Free And Equal.