Editor's note: Carlos May, Republican Nominee for U.S. Congress in the 7th District, dropped by the NUVO office on July 23 to share his platform and came back on Oct. 9 to save us from the tragedy of inaccessible audio. Thanks to the incredible Stephanie Griggs for her help with transcription.
NUVO: What do you feel defines a good congressperson?
MAY: I would say the number one item is accessibility. What do I mean by that? The definition of the job is in the title of the job. You are a representative. That means that you need to find out what is going on in your district. You need to ask the people what their issues are, what their problems are. You need to be willing to go out and explain your stances, your votes, your reasons for doing whatever it is that you're doing to those people. So responsive, accessible, and really a willingness to reach out to everyone, even those folks who you know don't agree with you in the district. Because you don't represent just one party or just one specific demographic of people or one individual, you represent everyone in your district.
So you need to be out there amongst the people, you need to be here more than you are in DC. You need to be willing to go out and talk to folks.
NUVO: What do you think is Representative Carson's greatest demonstrated strength in office and in what areas do you think he falls short?
MAY: Greatest demonstrated strength? The fact that he actually votes on bills. I will give him credit for that. He has made it a point to get out and vote for the bills. Now the weaknesses are a little bit more in my mind than the strength. He votes, which is great. Unfortunately, he votes the majority of the time with his own party. And let me be very precise here. No party, no person, can be correct 100 person of the time. So for you as a congressperson to vote with your party, especially on non-election years, 100 person of the time, shows a lack of understanding of what is going on or it shows that you are much more concerned about what party leadership wants you to do rather than what you should be doing, which is best for this.
Another failing is that he is unwilling to go out and meet with people who don't agree with him. It is so easy to go amongst a group of individuals that you know already support you because you're not going to get asked tough questions, they're going to glad-hand you, they're going to want the photo-op and that's it. One example of this, when I challenged him to debates, he says well I don't have any time to go out and do all these.
Well, that doesn't make any sense. First off, you are paid to do exactly that. That is your job. So to say you can't go out and do it, is nonsensical. He gave one excuse well, I don't have time, then he went down, after I had said, "Let's meet in Perry township and have a debate, "I don't have time" is his response. Come to find out a few weeks later he's down there to talk to a small group of individuals who are his supporters already. So if you're going to meet with 23 people on July 23rd or 24 people on July 23rd, um, why aren't you willing to meet with everybody down there, you know? So ... a lack of accessibility on his part.
And here's another one, in four-and-a-half years in office, he has held one town hall. That he didn't even have the decency to show up to. The reason I know that is because I was there. And the meeting was run by his, at that time, his legislative director, Erin Rosenberg. There were six of us in the room. Now that's unacceptable.
So I would say that those are the top ones. His lack of willingness to meet with folks that don't agree with him. His lack of accessibility. His lack of responsiveness to the constituents, all of his constituents, not just his, again, specific demographic that he already knows supports him.
NUVO: Turning the camera to yourself then .. can you talk about your personal strengths that you think would shine in office and also some areas of weakness that you would work on in leadership?
MAY: Strength . . . a willingness to meet with everybody. I know this for a fact: I cannot please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time. I'm not going to try. What I will do however is, every time I try to do something, I'll do it for the right reasons, not for the easy reasons. So I guess I'm saying doing what's right and not what's easy.
Also, a willingness to go out there and meet with those folks who I know disagrees with me. You know, one example is the "Amos Brown Show." I've gone on their multiple times. I know that that demographic is much more Democrat, much more liberal, much less likely to vote for me. But I'm still willing to go out there and let them hear me.
My opponent is not willing to go on any other show except for his. You know? So, that's a strength. Another strength is a willingness and an ability to look at all sides of the issue before I make up my mind on the issue. So it's not "let's pass a bill and then find out what's in the bill" it's "let me find out all the facts of a bill, before I vote on it."
Another thing is doing what is necessary for my district, not for me or for my party. I will make decisions really based off of a chain of events. Is the bill constitutional? If so, check off "yes," move to the next one. Is this going to benefit America and Americans? If so, checkmark yes, move to the next one. Is this going to benefit my district and my state? Those are the things that I'm going to be looking at. If any one of those are "no," well I cannot in good conscious vote for a bill "just because." You know? So also, I suppose, the final strength and then I'll get to the weaknesses, is an ability to put my own interests secondary to those of the people that I would be representing. So, I'm going to get in there and do a job for the people, not for me.
In terms of weaknesses, I want to make sure that I keep an open mind. I think I have a good open mind already, so that's a strength. My weakness would be trying not insulating myself from those alternative opinions. So I want to make sure, and this is a continual process, you always got to make sure you're willing to get out there and do it so I would say this is less of a weakness than I just need to maintain what I'm currently doing.
Another weakness sometimes is that, like any person, I like to think that I'm right all the time, I'm not. But when I do talk about something, if I know I'm right I'm not afraid to say so. Basically I guess I'm willing to admit when I don't know something. But I'm also very confident when I do know something to say it. That might come off as hubris or arrogance, but it's not. It's just a self-assuredness and a confidence and I'll be the first person to say, "I don't know, I don't know. Please inform me. Please tell me."
NUVO: Why do you want to be in Congress?
MAY: I suppose that's a one sentence answer. I got sick and tired of what was happening at the federal level and I decided to stop whining or bitching about it, and I decided to try and do something about it. So that meant, well, at the time I didn't know what it meant, it took me a little bit to figure it out and then I decided, I'm going to run for office, because I'm going to be able to do something that the federal folks are not doing. And that's why I'm running, that's why I decided to run.
NUVO: How will you negotiate the current partisan gridlock that seems to have stymied conversation and cooperation?
MAY: Seems to have stymied? It has stymied it. Right now, we have the extremes driving conversation. We use words like compromise and folks think that's dirty. We use words like bipartisanship and folks think that's dirty. No party, no individual, has a monopoly on good ideas. That means if a Democrat, or a Libertarian, or an independent, or whoever might happen to be in office that's not a Republican. If they've got a good idea, why not run with it? Why not say, you know what, that is a good idea; let's see what we can accomplish.
So what would I do? I would work with like-minded individuals, and I don't mean party individuals, like party, I mean like-mind. If they're willing to do what's right and not what's easy. If they put the interests of their constituents above their own personal interests or their own party interests. We can work together to get stuff done. And that is what is wrong. You know, the folks in office right now, they are very quick to point fingers at everyone else except for themselves. They are very quick to say it's the other party when sometime it's they as well and their party as well. We have got to start making decisions based on what is best for this country, not what is best for this party. Regardless of party.
NUVO: What would be your legislative priorities should you be elected?
MAY: Well, right now, immediately, the economy. Jobs, and the economy, that's the number one thing. National security certainly is a close second, if not almost equal with it. But we need to get our economic house in order, or else everything else is kind of irrelevant. It crumbles without a good, solid economic infrastructure in place. So I would first start with the economy and good jobs. We need to understand, government does not create jobs. Government creates the economic climate wherein good jobs can be created by the private industry. Now certainly, government has created jobs in the past, but it's not the government hiring themselves, it's them creating an opportunity like highway redevelopment, or infrastructure redevelopment, or electrical redevelopment, all those are government programs put into place, but they use private companies to hire them, and so those folks are now getting jobs.
NUVO: In what ways can Congress, if any, best stimulate greater economic growth and job creation?
MAY: We need to completely revamp the tax code. We need to understand, and not just understand, but we need to implement the fact that it is the small and medium-sized business owner that is the economic engine of this nation. They produce the most jobs, pay the most taxes, and reinvest in the economy the most. Now immediately people might say, well no Wal-Mart is the single largest employer, and they're right. They are the one single largest employer but percentage-wise, as a whole, it's the small and medium-sized business owners and businesses that create and hire the most people, create the most jobs and hire the most people.
So we need to look at those and we need to have a tax code or a tax system that encourages those small and medium-sized business owners to expand and grow and right now we do not have that. The tax code É you know last night the vice-presidential debates, and even during the presidential debates, everyone bickers and whines and moans and says, "oh we need to close this loophole or we need to have this exemption or we need this subsidy."
What it seems to me like they're doing is a pile of poo and on one side they put a little paint or polish or something and they make it look a little prettier. Well, okay you made it look a little prettier but you still the root problem is there. If we want to solve the tax issue and the loopholes and all that, scrap what we've got and implement a new fair, even, common sense based tax approach so that everyone is paying into the system.
NUVO: What does sensible tax reform mean to you?
MAY: Let's get rid of the current tax code that we've got. I mean, right now it is larger than the entire compendium of Shakespeare. I've read Shakespeare, I like the man, but I haven't read his entire Opus, and I certainly have not read the entire tax code. But let me put it to you this way. When the average individual and I'm fairly well educated and fairly intelligent, even I can't understand the damn thing. We need to have an approach that is much more fine-tuned for the standard person to understand. Now let me give you the example. Right now, we basically have a tax structure that taxes us based on our production. So where is the incentive as a small or medium-sized business owner to produce more, if the more you produce the more you're going to get taxed?
So I would be in favor of, lead the push or sign on, if someone else is already leading the push, to revamp it and move from a tax on production, which is, in essence what we have, to a tax on consumption. This will do two things. First off, every American that does not currently pay an income tax, you know Mitt Romney is famous, 47 percet don't pay taxes . . . either he didn't say it properly, or I don't know, I'm not thinking of what he was thinking, it's irrelevant ...
The point is 47 percent of Americans don't pay income tax. Now they do pay sales tax, they do pay local taxes and all that stuff but they don't pay a federal income tax. Imagine if we remove the current tax code and implement it again, a tax on consumption basically, to where every person, when they go purchase an end-user retail product, they're paying a tax.
We're immediately bringing in all of that class of individual that doesn't pay an income tax. And not only that, it's going to now affect us as income earners. Let's say I make $30,000 a year. $40,000 makes it, that's the standard average in Indiana, the four family household averages about $42,500 I think. Let's just say its $40,000. That's not actually what you bring home. With all the taxes taken out, because you don't pay taxes, the taxes are taken from you. And at the end of the year, sometimes you get a refund, sometimes you get a little bit more. The point is, you don't pay taxes.
Now, you're actually bringing home the full $40,000. So instead of $28,000, after taxes that you bring home, you bring home $40,000. That's an extra $12,000 in your pocket to then go out and reinvest in the economy by spending. If I had an extra $12,000 a year, I'd probably go out and buy a new pair of shoes or a new TV, or whatever I wanted. But point being is that I would be reinvesting in the economy. So not only have we broadened the tax base to include every single person that spends money in America, regardless of legal status, regardless of income, regardless of all of those minor nuances, so not only are we expanding the tax base, we're actually reinvesting more into the economy as private individuals because we have more disposable income in our pockets.
NUVO: What do you think of Grover Norquist's "no new taxes" pledge?
MAY: I think if you ever make up your mind on an issue before the facts of the issue, relevant to the time that they're brought up, I think you're stupid. I will not sign any pledge. Well, that's not true. I signed one pledge and one pledge only, to repeal the death tax. We pay enough taxes when we're alive, and if we have earned something, and we have amassed something as a parent or as a grandparent, that then we want to pass on to our kids or our grandkids, yet the government's going to come in and take a bunch from you just because you happened to die, that's the one thing where I can say that no, we don't need a death tax.
However, I will not sign any other pledge because we don't know what's going to happen in the future. What if I were to say I'm going to sign this "no new taxes" pledge at all, no tax raised in any circumstance. And then we get into World War III, I'm going to say no I'm not going to raise taxes then for a war machine so we can then go out and make sure that our way of life is protected, well that's dumb. Then I'd be going against my own personal integrity by saying well I've got to raise taxes and then everybody's going to attack me saying "you said no new taxes."
So no, I will never, ever, ever make up my mind about an issue before I hear all the facts of the issue, relevant to the time that they were brought up.
NUVO: To what extent to you feel government should provide a social safety net for the least fortunate among us?
MAY: That's a good question. The proper question though that we need to follow up is, is what level of government should be involved in that. Now we have, we are a Republic, a Federal Republic. That means we have a federal government in charge of certain, specific numerated power, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution tells us those powers. And then we have states. Which Article I, Section 9, Article 1, and Section 10 in the Tenth Amendment basically delineate everything not granted by the federal government nor prohibited to the states by the federal government are reserved to the states and the people.
So in terms of a social safety net, prior to the 1940's and FDR's New Deal, we had a very solid social safety net that was driven by the states and even more importantly, by private organizations, by religious institutions and it worked. Now what we have is the federal government coming in and saying we're going to handle all of this. So, does government have a responsibility at some level to help its citizens, absolutely.
That's not an issue, that's not a question. Again, the proper question becomes at what level of government. I am much more a fan of the state's leading on this because, guess what? Each state is different. Indiana, and the people of Indiana are not like the people of Florida, and the state of Florida. Florida is not like California. California is not like New York. New York is not like Kentucky or Tennessee. The point is every state's different. The needs, the desires, the drives of each state are different. So why are we wanting a one-size fits all when it's much better to have a one-size fits that one area. And then replicate that, again according to the own nuances of the state, and all the other states.
So do we have a responsibility? Yes. Should it be only the responsibility and (rubric?) of the federal government, absolutely not. We need to have it at the state level a little bit more.
But we also need to get back to the core American feelings. Look, I've got a little bit of extra money or a little bit extra time, I'll go volunteer at a food bank, or a food kitchen, or wherever. I'll go volunteer to teach kids how to read. Do I donate to charity? Yes. But it's the charities that I want so that I know my money is being spent in a way that I like it. One perfect example of that is Wabash College. I donate every year to my college. Not to the General Fund, because they've got enough money. I donate specifically to scholarships, because scholarships helped me get out of college with basically no debt.
I want to return that back. I don't want the federal government to come in and say, we as the federal government, meaning you as a taxpayer, are now going to subsidize the costs of everyone else. That's not the way I look at it. So, we need to get back to a more individualized, also a more state-driven mechanism, for a social safety net. And final point: We need to understand that these are supplements. Supplements, to our own personal work and output. Not a, "you're going to do everything for me."
NUVO: What do you see as the most serious environmental issue facing the state?
MAY: Water. Lack of water. Portability. The United States government and Hilary Clinton's State Department just put out a national intelligence estimate and that was about three months ago, maybe two-and-a-half, maybe three-and-a-half, basically about three months ago. Within the next fifteen years there's going to be regional conflicts based off of a lack of drinking water. In the next twenty-five years, I'm sorry, fifteen years, internal, state-driven so Sudan's going to have problems or Algeria or wherever, but within.
Twenty-five years, it's going to be regional conflicts. Within the next fifty years, there are going to be wars, outright wars due to a lack of drinking water. This is a major problem. Not just because of a drinking issue, I mean, we need water to survive as human beings, but also we use water for everything. To grow our crops. Take your pick. I mean, everybody listening knows that we use water for everything, right? If we already know for a fact, because this is already published fact that we are running out of water yet it's never in the news, it's not discussed. The only reason I know is because I pay attention to this stuff and I read this national intelligence estimate and I thought, why isn't the media picking up on this?
So that to me is the number one environmental reason, but it also ties in to us as individuals and taxpayers. Here's what we've got. We've got large multinational corporations coming in and buying our public municipal water sources and then what they're doing is they're keeping that water, repackaging it, and selling it to us at a profit. Water that we used to get for free, we are now paying for.
The greatest example of this, I think it's Dannon. If you look on the Dannon water bottle, "this water was bottled from a public source in x-y-z." They're telling you that this water is coming from a source that used to be free and owned by the people and now it's their own. So this is an economic issue, and a national security issue as well as an environmental issue.
NUVO: How concerned are you, if at all, about manmade climate change?
MAY: Well, am I concerned? Absolutely. Common sense tells you that we're affecting the environment. The extent, the degree to which we're affecting it? I don't know, I'm not a climatologist, I'm not a scientist. But common sense tells me this: If I were to go into the garage with the garage door closed, turn on the car and all the emissions coming out of the car, I'd start to choke, I wouldn't be able to breathe, it would get warm, I mean obviously it affects us. We're able to see that in a much more tangible way because it's something enclosed.
We are pumping out millions and millions of pounds of particulate matter, of emissions from our vehicles. So do we affect it? Absolutely, we affect it. Again, the degree to which we affect it, I don't know because I'm not a scientist. But I would rely upon the scientists' evaluations to say hey, this is something going on, we need to pay attention to it. So that means we need to start looking at alternative fuel sources. We need to, right now, start investing in next generation technologies, not just to what the next generation is going to be, but next generation technologies in terms of what we already use currently.
We can be more efficient if we wanted to be. But we got all these vested interests that throw billions of dollars at government and at politicians saying, don't do that, don't do that. There was the electric car, first came out I believe it was 1960's, 1970's, and then it died. Then it died. I mean, private car companies bought up the technology and then put it under lock and key. Now because of social awareness of the issue, people are starting to clamor and get it, hey let's do something about that, so you see the Chevy Volt, the Prius and all those other hybrids and all that stuff. But man, we could really do a lot more if we had the political will to do it. Unfortunately, politicians don't. Because they make decisions based off of one thing, and that's fear of the next election.
NUVO: What are our country's strengths and weaknesses on a foreign policy front?
MAY: We are that shining city on a hill. We are that bastion of liberty. That's a strength. We have shown people, we might not be perfect. Let me rephrase that. We are not perfect. We are not perfect. But we are far better in terms of a governmental system, in terms of a society, than any nation on this planet has ever been. That's because we are the first nation founded on an idea, and an ideal. Now we see other countries have copied our system. Our constitution is the longest, living document that has been in existence so far that has maintained its integrity. We see a degradation of this. But we should use this moral authority that we have built up, in a positive way. Not just willy-nilly like there's something going on over there so invade or let's send a bunch of troops, let's put a bunch of sanctions on them.
Do we use those? Yes, those are tools, however, to further foreign policy, they should not be the end-all, be-all for foreign policy. We also need to increase our diplomatic corps. We need to make sure that we are cognizant that not every culture, not every person is the same as we are. We need to respect differences. We do not need to cow-tow to differences, but we do need to respect them. And we also need to go around with a heavy stick at times and say, you will not do this. When you pussy-foot around an issue or try and skirt around it, you just embolden opposition.
You go in there and hit them hard if need be, and then you step away. You don't just kind of half-ass it really, for lack of a better term. If you say you're going to do something, you do it. You don't say well, I'm going to hold you to it. Well, I'm going to hold you to it, I'm going to hold you to it, and then continue on. No. So we need to use our foreign policy smart, effective. We need to understand that there are differences, we need to be respectful of those differences. We need to project power at the time when power is needed. But we also need to project empathy, when empathy is needed.
We need to be aware that it cannot be a my-way-or-the-highway when it comes to foreign policy. We have got to have local, regional partners. We have got to work together on some of these things. And that's how we advance foreign policy even better. One specific example of that, Mogadishu in the 90's. We, as the United States, obviously sent a bunch of troops in there. We gave a bunch of food. But we didn't try to track it. What ended up happening was warlords would take over the food distribution that we would give to the people, they would hoard it, and then they would use that as a mechanism of control and power against their own people.
What we should have been doing is fostering home-grown food development, so it's more of a partnership. So yes, we help supplement their food, but we also teach them how to grow their own food. How to modernize their infrastructure, so now these home-grown warlords can't just take over what someone is dropping off. It's much easier to take over what one person drops off than it is to take over what an entire country is doing.
NUVO: How do you think federal educational policy has influenced the state's educational landscape and in what areas, if any, would you like to see that changed?
MAY: It's influenced me in every single way. That's a problem of again, FDR and the New Deal. We started this over-expansion and over-reach of the federal government. We lost sight of what made our country great. And that is our Constitution. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that the federal government is in charge of issues of education. Therefore, it must be driven by the state. Now, I understand that modern times require a slightly different approach than they would've 150, 200 years ago. But we can still live by our (document?).
So here's the way I would look at it. If we want the federal government involved in education, which I personally do not, but if we wanted it as a people and as a district that I would represent, I would go with the will of the district, not my own. But I would look at it like this. Let's let the federal government set just the standard by which we will educate. And then let the states implement the specifics of that education. Here's what I mean by that: the federal government comes in and says to Indiana, if your third grade student does not read at a third grade level, they do not get to go to fourth grade, that's it. But we let the local communities determine how they're going to be taught to read, what they're going to be taught to read. That way, it's the local communities knowing what is best for their local communities. That's common sense.
Who knows better, than Hoosiers, what is better for Hoosiers? Not some party leader in DC, from some other state that knows what's best for Indiana and for Hoosiers. So for me, it would be a hybrid. It would be a dismantling, or an unfunding of the federal Department of Education, a minimizing of it so that they set the standards and then a much more locally controlled mechanism whereby the states and the local educational communities can determine the specifics of that.
One of the examples of that is the last-in, first-out, what that means is that if you are a teacher who just got hired last year, even if you are the national teacher of the year, you just won the national teacher of the year award, if they need to cut teachers you're going to be the first one cut. Where the hell is the common sense on that? You're going to keep some teacher in there that's been there thirty years that has probably lost the fire, the grit and determination to teach the children as best they possibly can because they happen to have been there longer than the young buck that really wants to do a good job and has done a good job and has been rewarded for doing a good job.
Those policies, they don't make any sense. And then we've got the teacher's unions who come in and É no, I'm not even going to speak to that, I'm going to let this guy speak with his own words, you can look this up on YouTube, or whatever. The outgoing president of the national teacher's union got up on stage, and I'm going to paraphrase here because I don't remember verbatim, but it's basically what I'm about to say, but he stood up in front of his union members and he said, this is not about education, this is not about the kids. This is about us getting more money so that we can influence and have more power in Washington, DC.
At least he was honest with the people. But for the outgoing president of the teacher's union to say that it's not about the kids and that it's not about education, shows that their priorities are out of whack. They are much more interested about their own pocketbooks than educating the students. And we have seen this. Up until the New Deal and the Dept. of Education, we were the most educated nation on this planet. Now we have students that are functionally illiterate graduating from high school.
We have students that can't even find the United States on a map. That is pathetic. Let's call it what it is, it's pathetic. And also it goes down to the parents. The parents are no longer requiring their kids to work hard and study. It's much easier to sit down in front of the TV and veg out, that way I don't have to deal with you. I'll give you a relevant example. My next door neighbor is a teacher, the wife is. The husband is a doctor. But she is a teacher, an elementary school teacher. I was talking to her about three, maybe four weeks ago or thereabouts and she was saying," yeah, you know, we had these parent/teacher conferences and this mother comes in with her child, one of my students," and this is her talking, and I'm acting as her now, this is her talking, " you know, the mother come in and she sits down and I asked her, you know I noticed that your son doesn't have a backpack, he doesn't ever have pencils and paper, is there something going on?"
The mother says yeah, well we just can't afford that stuff. So the parent/teacher conference ends and she's walking out and so Chelsea my neighbor says, "I felt really bad. And I thought well, let me run out and catch him and tell him that I'm going to do ahead and buy the papers, and the pencils and pens and backpack for the student so he has at least that. And I walked out into the parking lot and I saw this woman with her child get into a brand new Cadillac Escalade.
Again, that's pathetic. You're willing to spend a bunch of money on a nice car to look shiny and sharp but you're not willing to spend money on your child's education? Paper and pencils and a backpack? Most simple, basic stuff? That's a problem.
NUVO: What's your take on federal immigration policies?
MAY: Here I am probably different than every other politician out there of any party. What we have currently is we have the two, main parties are driving this conversation by telling everyone what we would like the end result to be. I'm going to really generalized here, okay? So one party basically says, we want to deport them all. The other party says we want to make them all citizens. Okay, those are the end results that you would like to see, but you're not telling us how to implement there, where we're going to start or how we're going to get there. An aside from that, driving by extreme end results does not get us, and it does not drive the conversation.
So here is the way that I would look at it. We've got to start somewhere. As the clichŽ saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
Here's my first step. I would look at the criminal class, and by that I do not mean the fact that they crossed the border illegally, I mean that they did that, but then they are here committing crimes, rape, murder, robbery, fraud, take your pick. That's the first class I would start with. I would also start with the children. These are the two groups of undocumented or illegal immigrants that I would look at first, here's what I would do.
For the criminal class, we know who they are. They're in our jails, right now. Those are the groups that I would immediately round up, put on a plane, and deport. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Here's the current system of what happens. They sit in our Marion County lockup for six months to a year. Then they're transferred to immigration and customs enforcement cell for six months to a year. Then an immigration judge rules on them and says okay we're going to deport you or no, we're not. If they do, they've been sitting in our system for a bare minimum of a year, if not, two years or more.
Every single day, utilizing our tax dollars. Now I don't want homegrown criminals, and I definitely don't want other countries' criminals here, and I don't want to pay for them. So that's the first class that I'll look at and I'm immediately going to deport. And then the children. That's the other class. We as Americans, and we as America have never put the sins of the fathers onto the children.
Why are we starting now? That is not the type of people we are. Aside from that, our entire basis of criminal justice system here in America is based off of the concept of intent. A three-month-old that is brought across the border by their parents cannot formulate the intent to poop in their own diaper, they just do it. How can you tell me that they formulated the intent to leave their country of origin, come to a new country, and start a new life over. They're a child for heaven's sake, in diapers, ya know?
So those are the two classes that I would start with. With the children, we have people like Senator Lugar, Senator Rubio, and Governor Jeb Bush on the Republican side, which I'm a Republican, that's why I'm mentioning now, that are okay with the so-called Dream Act. I'm okay with it as well. We want to understand, or we should understand, that the kids that were brought over illegally by their parents, and have lived here for the vast majority of their lives, they're American for all intent and purposes. Culturally, linguistically, academically.
They are Americans. Quite frankly, some of them don't even know their original language because they were babies when they were brought over, so they've only ever known English.
What are we telling them when we say; we don't want you to go to college? We don't want you to be able to get a job. What we're doing, in essence, is forcing them to make a really tough choice. Do I leave to go somewhere that I don't even remember and have never been to? Or do I start to try to find a way to earn money which, if we're limiting their options, means they're probably going to start to commit crimes. Or join a gang, or do whatever it takes for them to earn a living. That's the wrong way. We are basically incentivizing them to become criminals, instead of incentivizing them to become good, upstanding citizens of this country.
I would look at those two groups first. That's the first step I would take. Once we accomplish that first step, then we can move on, to the next group. And that's the parents that did cross the border illegally. But to just say that we're going to round them all up and deport them is just stupid, here's why: We have neither the time, the manpower, the resources, the logistical infrastructure, and quite frankly, we don't even know where they all are. So to say we're going to round them up and deport them is nonsensical.
Now onto the other side: to say that we want to make them all legal citizens is nonsensical, 'cause now we're going to make citizens of a bunch of criminals. Again, not the fact of crossing the border illegally, but the criminals that are here in our system right now. Make them US citizens, when they are criminals? Again, I don't want criminals of my own country, let alone another country, coming in here.
So again, I am different than most on that. My approach is common sense, driven by the practical circumstances of what's going on. And also by my feelings that America should not punish those that are weakest. We are judged, ultimately by our God, whatever God you believe in, on how we treat the weakest of our peoples.
And the children are the weakest. So for us, to penalize them, for actions of other people, is not American in my point of view.
NUVO: Are there substantive changes you'd like to see in terms of how Congress relates to farmers?
MAY: Ah, yes ... yes there are. The one thing I would start to look at, but first we need to understand that all of these things are interconnected. It's not just a stand-alone, like I want to create a bill or have a policy or something that just affects the farming aspects of it. Let's take corn, for example: we're a big corn-producing state, you know, there's more than corn in Indiana, or so the saying goes, but there's a lot of it here.
Here's a few problems with that: we have subsidies to corn farmers for ethanol. It takes more energy to create a unit of ethanol, however you want to measure that unit, a gallon, a micro-liter or whatever, it take more energy to create that unit than the energy we get out of that unit. Not only that, this is food that we're taking away from our bellies and from people's tables and putting it into energy. So I would eliminate those subsidies.
Also, going on corn, just as another example: We do not have a corn cannery, or a corn-processing plant here in Indiana. So what do we do? We grow corn. We ship it to another state for them to process and package to then ship back to us. All those costs are built in to the end-cost that we pay at the grocery store when we get it.
So I would look at that. I mean, these are things that we need to pay attention to. Now, in a more general manner of speaking, I used corn as a specific example but more generally, we need to understand that each state has a different focus when it comes to agriculture. So having a blanket federal policy on agriculture does not work everywhere because each state is different.
If the federal government wants to set a standard, great. But let each state modify that and work with what is best for the state. We are a corn-producing state, we don't grow sugar cane here so why should sugar cane policies be imposed upon us for that product that we don't even have here. I don't see the common sense in that.
NUVO: How do you define a Hoosier?
MAY: Now that's a great question. Here's how I would define a Hoosier: Someone with common sense, goodness in their heart, open ability to listen. We are the crossroads of America. We are a melting pot of all of America right here in Indianapolis, so the Hoosier heartland is one of good people, with good integrity, with good character, and with good desire to help folks out.
Of our state's most well-known sons and daughters, which have been the most influential to you?
I like Kurt Vonnegut a lot, his wit, razor-sharp wit I think, his books that has been an inspiration for me, in terms of literature. That would be a big one for me, I would think. And then going back a little bit more, we have had sons and daughters here that have done a good job.
Mitch Daniels, I thought, has done a great job. He's been very good, but I don't want to talk about politicians really. It's the cultural people that really bring us up and elevate us, and help provide to the rest of the nation. So there's been a few, but I keep coming back to Kurt Vonnegut because he's really shown us what literature could be, what it can be, what it is, and his family! They've done a whole heck of lot here in terms of architecture, the Athenaeum, that's a beautiful building, that was created, homegrown right here.
You know then you've got General Lou Wallace; he did a heck of a job. There was the vice-president, what the country needs is a good five-cent cigar, I'm blanking on his name right now, it sounds stupid but his name just escaped me, but he did a good job in terms of education and in terms of national interest at a time when, obviously the times were different in the 1800s, there was a few of them ...
NUVO: On a broader plane, what books and thinkers have most influenced the development of your political philosophy?
MAY: John Locke was the first one. When I first started to pay attention and learn about politics, I was in college, and I had obviously heard and been paying attention minutely in high school, but not really to a huge extent or degree. In college, I took Political Science I, and some of the first political philosophers that we read were Hobbes and Locke.
Hobbes and Locke, and specifically for me, John Locke, really influenced the founding fathers on to the system of government that we were intended to be and that we still can be. And that's when I first really said, okay, I like what he's got to say about political theory, who has put this into practice? Then I found out that our founding fathers did utilize him a lot. Then I realized that that intent was more in line with what the Republican Party stood for, than what the Democratic Party stood for, in terms of government.
So that's why I became a Republican. John Locke was a huge influence for me. Now, there are others, Alexis de Tocqueville, certainly Socrates, Plato ... Plato's Republic was excellent. And of course Socrates, the Socratic method of learning, the give and take, the conversation.
Those are huge. And then another one that really influenced it, yes, in terms of politics but more to the point of how I viewed and interact in politics, and this is going to give me away as a nerd, but that's alright, and that is Captain Jean Luc Picard of Star Trek, the Next Generation. Now I understand that this is a fictional character, so I'm not saying that Patrick Stewart did this, he was just the embodiment of the character but ...
This character always talked about doing what is right, not what's easy. Always had an open mind. Always wanted to continue to learn. To understand, and to do what was best for the majority in terms of their needs, and their drives, and their desires. But at the same time, protect the interests and the rights of the minorities, however you define minority.
So Captain Picard, really in my mind, was like man, this is a guy, or a character whose train of thought is someone that I would like to emulate because of his ability to look at all sides of an issue before making up his mind on it. To understand the needs and circumstances of the majority, but at the same time take into account the needs of the minority. And then make a decision based off of what is right, not what is easy.
So really, politically, was the guys I just mentioned. More generally, but also affecting politics, Captain Picard. In literature, there's a whole host of them, so I won't get into those. But I'd say those are the top ones, de Tocqueville, Locke certainly in politics, Socrates and Plato as well, and then Picard in terms of more general, over-arching plot.+++