Recently decided to continue speaking the truth with my manager and CEO about problems in the company regardless of having not long before been placed on probation. Today I woke up to a termination letter and an invitation to an exit interview which was attended only by the recruiter who had little background on any of the relevant matters and was unable to share any details about the performance review which allegedly had taken place. I used part of the time to share the biggest problem I had with the company, which is that they were failing to defend their own customers from being defrauded by individuals the company endorsed.
While I’d like the story to be that I spoke the truth and was simply fired for that alone, that is not the case. Another part of me knows it is because I was prideful in my consistent questioning and observations, and further that I continued to ask questions and make observations even after being put on probation, and indeed that I knew how to push exactly those buttons which got upper management’s attention, ultimately leading to an easy decision to rid themselves of this troublesome team member. By analogy, almost a year ago, my brother asked: What did I really expect to happen when, for instance, at the State Central Meeting in St. Cloud on Dec 3, 2022, I asked the now former MNGOP Executive Director Mike Lonergan why he’d disallowed me from joining the endorsement process for MN Secretary of State six months prior? (He first called the sergeant-at-arms and then the police to issue me a trespassing advisory.)
Therefore, I have taken and must continue to take ownership and responsibility for those actions I am less proud of and the overall way I approached my first ever job as a customer service agent, which having begun on July 17 barely lasted 90 days.
Meanwhile, perhaps God is opening a door to do the work that has sat heavily on my mind and heart this entire year.
It begins with a simple documentation of the journey to discover and uncover our broken election system (I say broken, but from another point of view, it does exactly what it is designed to do) that has been happening in commissioner meetings, conference rooms, courts and in the Minnesota Legislature. First amendment rights have been violated, data coverups have been detailed, cases with merit dismissed on laches, and corrupt laws passed. Updates are overdue on each of these topics.
Parallel with that documentation is the necessary work of laying out particular persecutions of those who arguably have done the most work (and taken the most risks) to not only seek out what had been concealed but to bring the truth of the matter to light for the public. Taking a closer look at the work and situations of these individuals is one shortcut to understanding the general political landscape in Minnesota. The fact that none of the following people have given up despite considerable opposition inspires me beyond words.
These individuals include Susan Shogren Smith, who was the only lawyer skilled enough and courageous enough to draft and put her name on the petition to challenge the certification of the 2020 election in Minnesota, as well as on the 2020 congressional race election contests, and was met with a charge of attempting to commit fraud on the court, a steep fine, and still as of October 2023 is facing disbarment. To my knowledge she has never asked for a single penny for any of the election-related filings nor for recent efforts to show how the Minnesota Republican Party is non-compliant with newly-passed statutes.
Rick Weible is another God-fearing patriot who has made sacrifices to alert the public to the threat of continued engagement with electronic voting systems and is also leading us to a viable alternative. Like Susan, he too has taken financial and security risks lending his time and unique expertise, some of which is apparent on Midwest Swamp Watch and USCASE.org. Further, his humble teaching and generosity is always on display in the way he helps anyone who asks.
Then there is Edwin Hahn, who did not back down to the weight of the Minnesota Republican Party after a coup attempt of his BPOU and being wrongfully barred from multiple conventions, including in Rochester where the police were called to remove him from the line without cause. Even lawfare has not seen Edwin give up against this corrupt organization which is currently both on the verge of self-induced (and possibly premeditated) self-destruction and also despite the odds is on the verge of being reclaimed by patriots.
These are just three examples of exemplary sovereign individuals whose choices have activated countless others in Minnesota (and beyond). There are yet more examples to share of people who’ve gone beyond their share of civic duty to defend their neighbors and communities and ultimately our children in recent years. Under existing laws and orders, war was declared against traffickers worldwide, and the military has been doing and is doing their part (and will continue to do so), but also, as civilians, every one of us is serving a role in preparing our families and friends and church leaders and local representatives for the work yet to be done.
Last year at the second event Mark Bishofsky invited me to speak at I had the great opportunity to meet the mother of J6ers. A few months later I posted that Americans (myself included) were acting as though we were in a Uyghur concentration camp in Xinjiang, although we were and are not. And yet as a group, as humanity, it could be said we are facing prolonged enslavement but only by the grace of God still have a choice in the matter.
Yes, the situation seems fraught with dangers. But in speaking with this woman I was impressed by the depth and wisdom in her words. I don’t remember if it was before or after this meeting that I had written and mailed a letter to a J6er, which was, beyond helping me to learn additional details about those detained in the District of Columbia, was spiritually moving. As I write this now I recall that it was obvious this woman and her family had been through much, and yet the Lord Jesus Christ had carried them through.
Last year, when running for MN Secretary of State, I purposefully did not ask for donations because I believe money (as it is customarily deployed politically) has no part to play in choosing the candidates who represent We the People. Now, is it possible that had I raised some money that more people would have heard the message about election reform? Maybe. But it’s unclear if the election results would have been different (I have not conceded). However there was another part of me that just didn’t want to ask for help—I thought I could do it all myself. Pride again. How wrong I was.
And now, I do need help and thanks to Our Father who has humbled and disciplined me, I recognize that fact.
While working so far this year in three jobs, very briefly as a group fitness instructor at one company before moving to another with longer hours, also as a coach for group fitness classes, and then as a customer service agent these past 90 days, I often wondered if I was doing the right thing. I justified this approach because it was better for my family to scratch my way out of personal credit card debt and become a husband and man that was steady and could be relied upon.
And yet also, part of me was living a lie, trying to be someone I was not, instead of being who I am. Part of who I am is this: I naturally and instinctively see things that can be improved (don’t we all?) and enjoy taking time to write about how to resolve those problems. But calling attention to things that could be done better at my jobs wasn’t welcomed: I was ignored when calling out unethical practices at the gym and reprimanded for refunding deserving customers; in the customer service role, I asked questions about what looked like many defrauded customers and the last straw may have been my sharing with an author that he was indeed working with a freelancer who had multiple times violated the platform’s terms of service and was defrauding other authors already for months and tens of thousands of dollars.
Meanwhile, in the realm of news, in the realm of information, in the realm of facing reality, calling attention to things is exactly what people want. They want the truth in their news so they can go on to make informed decisions. They want the truth so that there can be accountability. They want the truth so that by seeing what is and what is not, change can unfold. And sharing the truth is exactly what I plan to do with both Midwest Seeds and in a much more visible way in days to come with Project Minnesota.
Actions speak louder than words.
To get a sense of where I’m coming from and where this is going, there is a free book about Minnesota [s]elections, there are over 100 posts about election related issues on Midwest Seeds, and a proof of concept on Project Minnesota. For just one example of how the site is already serving one county, see how the Anoka County Election Integrity Team (ACEIT) is archiving their progress by clicking here. That team, from February until today, has given 80 two-minute speeches by 30 citizens in addition to their own weekly meetings, back-and-forths with the county outside of commissioner meetings, and outreach to the BPOUs and city councils. Their voices are beautiful, and so are their postcards! While watching what happens at Cause of America with Patrick Colbeck stepping up, Project Minnesota can be a home to county level group articles, updates, reports, and even publications if and as needed.
I wish that I did not have to ask for money, in part because I’ve witnessed dollar signs take many otherwise good people in the wrong directions but also because I believe information should be free to access for anyone who wants it. And so I must make this clear: articles will remain free, forever, on both Midwest Seeds and Project Minnesota.
The first month of work on Project Minnesota—paying only for my time—will require immediate donations in order to begin and continue the mission. In the coming days, at milestones of $1,000 and $2,000 and upon reaching the goal amount of $3,000, notifications will be sent. Why is $3,000 the goal? That will only just cover my living expenses and mortgage, but if amounts exceed $3,500 I will save the surplus for future months and once again be fully transparent with supporters on what amounts have been received.
The plan by end of Month 1 (November 18) is that the most important among the backlog of drafted articles and high priority articles on deck will be published on Midwest Seeds and Project Minnesota. Again, if much goes according to plan, this output will justify additional support from friends and family of the original or current supporters or perhaps through channels reaching new readers for Month 2, and so on.
It must be said, this work will be done regardless of whether donations come in. Yes, the number of stories and the rate at which I publish will be reduced if I’m not able to dedicate between part-time and full-time working hours. If I must I will find paid work in the next 30 days (as have done throughout this year) to support my family while also doing the reporting and investigative journalism here. (My preferences for alternatives would be in freelance writing and editing but as I am not in the best bargaining position, I’d be happy with almost any kind of work with people who share the same values—please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have ideas.)
That being said, with your support, I am confident that I will finally rise to the challenge and do the best work of my life through writing, editing, reporting, documenting, seeking out the truth of the matter, and helping others to do so, with both Midwest Seeds and Project Minnesota.
The fact is, there are other citizen journalists, writers, reporters, many who are (extra)ordinary citizens like you and me who have begun documenting their observations, findings, and stories. Having met these citizens and shared in some of their work, it would bring me joy to finally see their work light a fire under yet more others.
There are also employed reporters, commentators, and writers who perhaps have felt hemmed in by their present organizations or have been for whatever reason unable to publish the stories that truly matter—they too will be welcome to publish on the site. Perhaps in months and years to come, if God wills it, the combined efforts on Project Minnesota will show how foundations were laid anew for Minnesota’s great future.
Consider showing your support of this work—to document relevant information and to share these stories—by subscribing on Midwest Seeds or by choosing the annual subscription at Project Minnesota. If a one-time donation is preferred, my PayPal link is https://paypal.me/erikv
Checks can be mailed—for the address, just email: email@example.com
May peace be with you today and every day and may you find the light within you and be strengthened by the truth in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Erik van Mechelen