Comedy writer Martha Bolton tackles faith, politics and the Amish community in her new book Josiah For President (Zondervan), a novel that follows the presidential run of a no-nonsense Amish candidate and his hilarious but thought-provoking journey to the White House. Here, Martha’s new leading man grants us an interview:
HOMECOMING: We’ve interviewed politicians over the years, but you are our first Amish one. Is it true you’re running for president, sir?
JOSIAH: Well, as you know the Amish don’t usually get involved in politics. But I met a fellow who seemed to think I might be who America needs right now: Congressman Mark Stedman. He’s the one who started this campaign, and I made him my vice-presidential running mate. Bill Gaither wasn’t available.
HOMECOMING: So what convinced you to take Congressman Stedman up on his suggestion?
JOSIAH: Well, at first, I thought he was was joking. But, the more he talked about how the country was facing this perfect storm situation and how incumbent President Holt declined to run for reelection, well, it left the field wide open for this most unique candidacy. I also started feeling a tugging at my heart like maybe this was what I was supposed to do.
HOMECOMING: But aren’t you risking a lot by running?
JOSIAH: There could be consequences for my actions, but I have given this a lot of thought and prayer and I’m committed now to toss my hat in the air … or however you English say it.
HOMECOMING: But the Amish are paci sts, right? How would you handle the issue of war?
JOSIAH: We’re non-resisters and a people of peace. I would always seek to talk things out, the way we do in our Amish homes. Without television, you tend to do a lot more talking.
HOMECOMING: But what if our national security is at stake and talking isn’t working?
JOSIAH: If Congress feels it is in the interest of our national security to go to war, then I would not stand in their way. But war would always be a last resort.
HOMECOMING: Sir, if you win, in what ways would you bring your Amish customs to the White House? For instance, would you have no electricity?
JOSIAH: It’s how the White House was built in the rst place, is it not? But I’d only do it on the third oor residential quarters. Think of the money that alone could save the country.
HOMECOMING: You’d use kerosene lamps then?
JOSIAH: Well, that might be a good thing for the president, jah? I’ve worked the land all my life, and I’ve yet to find a money tree, especially one growing trillion-dollar bills.
HOMECOMING: You say your campaign isn’t about going more to the left or to the right, but it’s about going back.
JOSIAH: Yes, my campaign is about getting back to basics; back to what’s important in life; and back to good old-fashioned common sense.
HOMECOMING: Well, the Amish people are certainly known for a back-to-basics lifestyle.
JOSIAH: We live plainly. But we feel your pain … every day as we drive our buggies past your gas pumps.
HOMECOMING: You’re the ultimate green candidate, aren’t you?
JOSIAH: I respect the land.
HOMECOMING: And the Amish put God first.
JOSIAH: We do indeed.
HOMECOMING: You’re hard workers, too.
JOSIAH: We like to rise early and put in a good day’s work. You won’t nd a lot of snooze alarms on Amish farms. And we do the best job we can with everything we do. Made in America is good. Made in America with your own hands is better.
HOMECOMING: Some are already comparing you to one of our great presidents, Abraham Lincoln.
JOSIAH: Well, we both have beards. Maybe the country does need someone like Lincoln again.
HOMECOMING: How can the people learn more about your story and your candidacy?
JOSIAH: You can read more in Josiah for President, a novel by Martha Bolton, released by Zondervan in October 2012. They’ve set up a Facebook page for me too — facebook.com/votejosiah.
HOMECOMING: Thanks, Josiah. And good luck in the election. Oh, and we’ll tell Bill to think about the vice presidency. These are interesting times. Anything could happen!