In 2016, Arik Bjorn ran against veteran Republican Congressman Joe “You Lie!” Wilson as the Democratic Party/Green Party fusion candidate in South Carolina’s Second Congressional District. Bjorn stepped forward at the registration deadline, as no legitimate Democratic Party candidate had emerged to run.
“So I Ran for Congress” chronicles Bjorn’s uncharacteristic first race for political office: “It was 2016, the Election to end all Elections. Bernie the Democratic-Socialist versus Hillary the Glass Ceiling Smasher—with an Orange Fascist-in-Waiting stomping about in Goliath-like fashion on the other end of the political spectrum. Yet Civilized Voters in South Carolina’s Second Congressional District were in danger of having no champion for their Voice for a third straight election cycle.”
Bjorn, a single father, worked full-time as a public librarian while campaigning. He was only the second candidate ever endorsed by the South Carolina Democratic Party before its state primary. Bjorn was also endorsed by the National Education Association Fund, SC Equality, the Alliance for Retired Americans, the South Carolina AFL-CIO, as well as a number of national labor unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the National Education Association and the Teamsters. The Bjorn for Congress campaign slogan was “There’s a Better Way!”
From the preface: “Political campaigns are loaded with grind and reward. FEC deadlines, policy position research and debate prep are tedious and brain-wrenching, but occasionally you catch a glimpse of a Founding Father and Mother smiling at you from the Constitutional beyond. You are a major party federal candidate daring to speak on behalf of ‘WE the People.’ Just, wow.”
Arik Bjorn has published nine books. His most recent title, UBER NIGHTS, is about his late-night rideshare adventures in the Deep South. In South Carolina, you never know if your next passenger will be a naked lady with a toothbrush, a banana spider, or a punch-drunk redneck.
Arik Bjorn is a novelist, essayist, and poet, but most importantly, a dad. He enjoys French silk pie as well as a quality shot of bourbon. His writing explores such themes as the Problem of Pain and building Civilization (or at least humanity's efforts to-date). He also likes to honk at slowpokes.
Bjorn has published nine books. His most recent title, UBER NIGHTS, is about his late-night rideshare adventures in the Deep South. In South Carolina, you never know if your next passenger will be a naked lady with a toothbrush, a banana spider, or a punch-drunk redneck.
Bjorn has also published a novel, THE PRODIGAL, as well as three essay collections: WAITING FOR CIVILIZATION, THE R-RATED THEOLOGIAN, and WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PARROTS. He has one short story collection, BIRDS OF A FEATHER, as well as a book of verse, POCKET LINT.
SO I RAN FOR CONGRESS chronicles his experience running for U.S. Congress. SHOW & TELL AT WORLD'S END is a social media diary about life in South Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He holds degrees in archaeology, ancient languages, and library science. He loves snow and hippos and enjoys retelling the story of how he was once shat upon by pigeons during Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and thereafter fled down the Via Dolorosa in search of a towel.
Bjorn is also the co-creator and co-host of the irreverent podcast, THE HATE NAPKIN, which is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor FM, Audible, YouTube & more.
To read more of Arik Bjorn's writings, visit his website, VIKINGWORD.COM--he is also active (and sometimes passive) on social media.
I didn’t particularly enjoy the interview format of the first part of the book. It felt like I was not “getting” a number of inside jokes. The collection of articles and speeches that made up the second part became repetitive. (I love that the author included social media posts written by his daughter.) However, the messages are clear and important. This book changed my behavior and pushed me to become more politically active beyond “clicks and shares.” So, in that sense, the book is a success.
Insightful, and hopeful. I'm glad I read this one and would recommend it to other aspiring activists in the South.
My one gripe with Mr. Bjorn is in his explanation of '#resist,' which happens to be throughout the book. I guess I'm a little disappointed in leftist America in general that Trump is being held up as something different than what has been going on in the Republican Party for decades. Trump is no different; he's the logical conclusion of Regan Republicanism, just much louder and more vulgar than we imagined it would be. I wish America would take the 2016 election as an example of what really needs '#resisting:' money in politics. Bernie and his Berniecrats, Mr. Bjorn included, have proven that Clinton and Trump's long-used method of corporate funding of campaigns is not only damaging our democracy, but it's not even necessary to run a successful campaign, although the talking heads of the corporate media would have you think otherwise. This is the '#resist' revolution we really need. This is how we fix so much of what ails our country. #Resisting Trump just leads us to President Pence, and how different do you *really* think he will be?