“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Brian Walter wants to move a mountain. And he wants those who believe as he does, that the nation is suffocating under a mountain of self-inflicted debt, to push with him.
A native of Kingfisher who operates businesses there and in El Reno, Walter has been transfixed on the idea that the United States will eventually fail to be a nation if it does not reduce and even eliminate its estimated $22 trillion in debt.
So far he has a few people willing to push with him, most notably former U.S. Sen. Dr. Tom Coburn.
Walter, 56, read Coburn's third book “Smashing the DC Monopoly” and he said it “changed my world.” So enamored was Walter with Coburn's writings, he contacted him and was surprised when Coburn agreed to meet for coffee in Tulsa. The two met and then they met again.
At the second meeting, Walter said Coburn threw the issue into his lap.
“He challenged me,” Walter said.
He said Coburn explained he's “done what he can” to change the mind-set of the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C. and with very little success. Coburn said the problems are “human greed” and “corruption.”
He then told Walter it was his turn to try and make a difference.
And so it began.
Walter is spearheading an effort to convince members of Congress to sign a pledge sacrificing their pay unless a budget is made the primary goal.
The pledge is contingent upon a majority of Congress signing on. It is based on Senate Bill 39 sponsored by Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia.
Walter has chosen newspaper advertising to begin his campaign. He said newspapers “are real” and can't be deleted unlike social media. He's taken out a quarter page ad in today's issue of The Purcell Register. He's prepared to advertise more in other areas of the state if necessary, he said.
So far, Walter has received support in the form of $1,000 contributions from Coburn and Clay Thompson and $500 from Carl Nick as well as a $10,000 donor who at this time wishes to remain anonymous.
Walter said he is started with his own representative, Congressman Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne. He got Lucas to sign the pledge.
Now he is setting his sights on Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole.
Walter said he is not undertaking the launch of a political campaign of his own. He is simply looking for “patriots” who are willing to put country above self-interest.
“If you believe there is nothing wrong with debt, this is not for you,” Walter said. He said he does not expect everyone to jump on board with the idea.
He said he was watching New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being interviewed on 60 Minutes and said she gave “a very good answer” when asked how the nation would pay for her Green New Deal.
“She said, 'We'll pay for it like we pay for everything else.”'
He called that an “honest answer” but not one that will benefit the people of the United States.
Walter does not expect to attract those with a similar mind-set of the New York lawmaker. He said he's looking for elected leaders and “patriots” who are willing to sacrifice for the good of the nation.
Walter said members of Congress are good at really only one thing, getting re-elected. He said it's time to “change the incentive structure.” He said the only way to accomplish this is for the people of the United States to demand it.
“You can't fix the problem from the inside,” Walter said. And it's not a matter of blame on Democrats or Republicans, saying both parties are guilty of feeding the debt monster.
Walter said his Unity Above Self in America has obtained its 501 C-3 status, meaning it is a registered not-for-profit. He said no salaries will be paid from the funding the organization receives.
El Reno attorney Roger Rinehart is the organization's attorney of record, Walter said, and Brian Henderson, president of F&M Bank in Kingfisher is the finance director. Jim Coughlin, a Kingfisher certified public accountant is keeping the books, Walter said.
Every dime, Walter said will go toward furthering the effort to lessen the debt of the nation.
Walter said solving the debt issue is about creating a better future for “our children and grandchildren.” He said the solution can be found in “old-fashioned common sense.”