Mickey Straub has an easy way of describing his upcoming trip across the United States.
“I’m a guy from the land of Lincoln, in a Lincoln, quoting Lincoln,” he said.
The trip itself, though, likely won’t be so easy.
Straub, a 55-year-old Burr Ridge resident and Abraham Lincoln enthusiast, will begin on Sept. 4 what he hopes will be 50-day trip that will take him to all 50 state capitals. He plans to recite aloud the Gettysburg Address on the steps of each capitol building in an effort to bring attention to what he believes are the 16th president’s core principles: God, Liberty, Unity and Equality (GLUE).
“The proverbial GLUE that holds the country together,” Straub said.
"Visit every state capital" is an item on Straub's bucket list, but he says there's a deeper reason he's embarking on the 11,000-mile trip—a number that doesn’t include the mileage of Straub’s flights to Alaska and Hawaii. He's also doing it out of patriotism and honor for our military veterans, who were the inspiration for Lincoln’s famous November 1863 speech.
Straub is a Republican and says it’s not a coincidence that his trip coincides with the ongoing presidential campaign. But the “50 Capitols in 50 Days” trip is not meant to be about party politics, he said. It’s meant to be about something bigger and comes at a time when Straub is concerned with the direction of the country.
“The presidential election isn’t but a sprint; it’s an event,” Straub said. “What I’m talking about are the long-term core principles that we need to keep in mind long past the election. … More important than politics are principles and patriotism.”
Straub, president of Sales Activity Management in Burr Ridge and founder of Proud to be Republican, LLC, an independent nonprofit, said he first got the idea to visit every capitol building about 10 years ago. He wanted to accomplish that task during a trip, or several trips, with his young daughter.
Straub’s daughter grew up and such a trip didn’t happen. But in recent years, he had an epiphany and became re-inspired as the conversation on whether the word “God” should have a place on the walls and in the mottos of state capitols.
Straub said he wants to see if God is still in those buildings.
If Straub does indeed hit his goal of 50 capitols in 50 days, the trip would conclude on Oct. 23. He’s been planning the trip with a group of about five coworkers at Sales Activity Management, including executive director Jim Long, who have been booking hotels and checking which days which capitol buildings are open.
“The plan is to try to frontload a lot of the stops on the east coast,” Long said. “I think it’s going to be a dynamic trip. We’re going to learn as we go.”
The first stop will be in Harrisburg, PA. Not only is it the state where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, but it's also the state where Straub was born and raised.
Straub will be equipped with an iPad and a tripod so that he can take video of his speeches and keep a blog as he travels. He’ll be driving a used Lincoln Town Car that was purchased just for this trip. The car has 80,000 miles on it, and Straub is confident it’ll get the job done.
“It’ll last,” he said.
Long said it's been inspiring to plan a trip with Straub based on a passion of his and not much else.
"It's not a commercial-based thing, there's not a monetary gain, it’s just something based on principles," Long said.
Straub admitted that planning the trip has been a larger undertaking than he expected, but he said his business has always aimed for big goals on short deadlines.
“I have one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake at all times,” he said, “but the gas usually wins.”
For more information, including an updated blog and details on how to make a donation, visit www.50CapitolsIn50Days.com or www.ReclaimingLincoln.com. (All net proceeds will benefit veterans’ organizations.)
Straub is planning a send-off event for this Saturday, Sept. 1. The details are not finalized, but check with Patch for more information.