A Nightingale flew through town Monday. Then, like the revolution she hopes to start, gubernatorial candidate Chelene Nightingale rode north to the sound of guns -- in this case, the vested political interests in Sacramento.
Nightingale, 45, a mother of one and daughter of an Air Force career man now lives in Southern California. She's running for governor under the banner of the Constitutional Party.
This week, her running turned to walking -- to the state capital to hand over letters from Valley folks who feel they've been ignored by politicians from both major parties in California. And that goes double for Washington, D.C.
On Labor Day she was in a wheelchair with a foot infection, but had walked about 60 miles over the past three days. She and her supporters, at least a couple dozen yesterday, hoped to reach Turlock by sundown.
"Neither (major) party has the people's future at heart," she said outside a motel on R Street.
Once a lifelong Republican, she now follows the Founding Fathers, Libertarian Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin, a 2008 presidential candidate, radio talk show host and founder of the Crossroad Baptist Church.
She laces her conversation with quotes from Washington, Jefferson and Adams. And, she notes, "I'm a Christian."
In 2006, she was campaign manager for another state candidate for governor, Art Olivier. But then she decided to launch her own grassroots campaign. Details at www.nightingaleforgovernor.com
Both she and her supporters, such as Charles Baird, say Republicans and Democrats are mirror images of each other.
"You have Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown," said Baird, "and they're like two manufacturers bidding on the same job, except one's got more money."
The Nightingale campaign, which started in July last year, is focusing on Central Valley issues because that's where the problems are toughest, Nightingale says. Take water, which is exactly what the federal government is doing to Valley farmers and ranchers, she says -- "People are more important than fish. This is a 'We the People' campaign."
Armed with letters from angry Valley residents, the Nightingale backers hope to turn them over to elected officials in Sacramento.
In particular her campaign supports Proposition 23, the "jobs initiative," which would suspend AB32, California's global warming solutions bill, called "cap-and-tax" by opponents.
Nightingale also favors state law enforcement agencies to verify the lawful immigration status of people they arrest and suspect of being in the U.S. illegally.
And later this month, in Corona, she'll be on the range for a "Shoot-out with Chelene" that features shotgun golf and Wild West pistol and rifle range competition.
She supports the tea party, but hopes many of them will drop their party loyalties and go completely independent.
"Their hearts are in the right place," she said, "but the final victory is to get our freedom back." She quoted John Adams as saying that if Americans lose their freedom, they never get it back. "I hope he's wrong," she said.
A line from John Keats' classic "Ode to a Nightingale" may help describe the Constitutional Party's candidate for governor:
"But here there is no light,
"Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown"
Executive Editor Mike Tharp can be reached at (209) 385-2456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.