This Senate Challenger Will Offer Spiritual Guidance to Congress

Oct 10, 2014 at 8:51 AM ET

This is the third in a five-part series on the most colorful candidates in the upcoming elections. Click here and here to check out parts one and two.

Eric Schechter, a 64-year-old retired math professor who wears a peace sign around his neck, considers himself a Lennoninst—as in John Lennon, not Vladimir Lenin, the former dictator of the Soviet Union. The Nashville, Tennessee, resident hopes his anti-capitalist, pro-harmony message will resonate with voters.

Here’s Eric Schechter, in his own words:

Office sought

U.S. Senate, Tennessee

Current job

Retired; former professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt University

Party affiliation 

I’m independent. I used to be a Democrat, but I’ve moved further to the left.


I would like to see a complete change of the political system. I liked a recent book called The Leaderless Revolution. It says that representative democracy doesn’t work very well and what we need is participatory democracy. You have too much power in the hands of too few people, and those people aren’t capable of having a broad enough view of what’s going on in the world. Putting a lot of power in the hands of so few people tends to lead to corruption. We’d be better off if we tried to rearrange society in a way in which people don’t have power over people.

Why he’s running

In Tennessee, it’s easy to get on the ballot.

Plan for first 30 days in office

I’d seek out advice from the few members of Congress whose views are close to mine, like Bernie Sanders. Truth is, I think most of the members of Congress are liars, thieves and murderers. But they need spiritual help, so I would try to provide that to the extent that I can.

Campaign strategy

I’m not so interested in getting elected as I am in spreading certain ideas. It’s part of why I’m accepting zero campaign donations. Which makes it difficult to run a campaign. I don’t have money for TV commercials or mass mailings or robocalls. If people tell other people about my campaign, then my ideas will spread. So far it’s not working. But I think the day will come.

What’s wrong with Washington 

I agree with the people who are seeking a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. They say you have to stop the money in politics. But stopping the money in politics requires more than a constitutional amendment. We need a massive cultural change. Money finds its way through or past regulations, regardless of how they’re written. The only way to not be ruled by a wealthy class is to not have a wealthy class.

Favorite John Lennon songs

I’m a big fan of “Imagine” and “Instant Karma.”  “Imagine” talks about how before we can change the world in a certain way, we have to start thinking and talking about what kind of world is possible. “Instant Karma” is about how a good idea can spread quickly.

Leisure activities

Sometimes I stand by a roadside during rush hour and hold up a big sign that says, “Honk for Peace.”

Why he’s relatable to voters

I’m not the kind of guy they would want to have a beer with. I don’t even drink. I want to be the kind of guy they would want to have as their senator.

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