Two major disclaimers to this conversation - #1 and the most important -> I do not take myself very serious and I sort of have disdain for people that do take everything very seriously. #2 This story and conversation is not really about politics - but, politics gave it the legs to keep on walking. Which always reverts to #1.
I had moved to Wasilla, Alaska in 2000 and started a multimedia marketing business. Really, I was hoping to do about 90% commercial photography before I realized that industry was heading downhill fast and certainly for a guy with no actual working experience. I got involved in the Wasilla Chamber and felt I was a warrior amongst many who felt they had to "stick-up" for choosing the "Valley" lifestyle over Anchorage.
Fast forward to 2004, then Anchorage State Senator Ben Stevens, son to now deceased Ted Stevens received a crazy email from a lady out in "Meadow Lakes" which is north of civilized Wasilla and it was a common perception that region was sort of sketch. I guess she ranted on about how a certain person tied into the oil business was literally cashing on various politicians.
With all the arrogance you can imagine, Ben Stevens replied from his Senator email account "YOU ARE JUST VALLEY TRASH". Oooooh buddy. She forwarded his response to the Daily News and I heard about it on the news on a Friday. I happen to be in Anchorage visiting vendors and we all got joking that I was VALLEY TRASH.
My brain started to creatively cook. I called a shirt screener in Palmer and told him my idea and wondered if he would knock out a couple of simple sample shirts that I could pickup in the morning. Before the term "viral" was really born from the internet, I knew I needed to move fast.