How can we all be so connected, and our government be so disconnected?
One of the benefits of living in the 21st century is that thanks to jet travel and the Internet, I constantly talk to Americans from every state and every walk of life. And believe me, they are not shy about sharing their opinions. It gives me a perspective that I wish more of our politicians and media people inside the Beltway Bubble could experience.
If I had to explain the media’s sub-basement level approval ratings in one word, it would be “disconnection.” I don’t think there’s ever been a time when the people in the media were so out of touch with the people they’re supposed to be serving (you’d think the shock they experienced on Election night 2016 would’ve caused them to think a bit and make some changes, but they’ve only doubled down on the disconnection and demonizing of people they never talk to.) They apparently really believed that when voters asked for “change,” they wanted bigger deficits and a bloated nanny state regulating the size of their sodas. Trust me, based on what they told me, they did not.
If you ask most Americans what they want from government, it’s not to have every aspect of their lives regulated and “transformed,” including those that worked a lot better before the government “improved” them. They don’t want 2,000-page bills nobody’s read, or bureaucrats telling them which doctor they can see or how much money they’re allowed to make. The list of what most Americans say they want from government is actually pretty short: national defense, secure borders, safe streets; smooth highways; health care for veterans, seniors, children, the disabled (all those who genuinely can’t help themselves); good schools, firefighters and (yes) police – now more than ever - and it would be nice if the trash were picked up on time. That’s about it.
Yet somehow, the government finds so many ways to meddle in our lives that federal, state and local government spending combined now equals about 40 percent of America’s entire gross domestic product. And in some big cities, they don’t pick up the garbage at all. They just let people live in it.
In poll after poll, despite claims that socialism is on the rise, most Americans say they want less government and less spending. Even those who say they want government handouts like “Medicare For All” abruptly change their tunes when told what it will do to their tax bills and quality of services. They don’t give a hoot what the talking heads or the endlessly-surprised economists or the “too-big-to-fail” Wall Street failures say: they want government out of their lives, out of their wallets and out of their way.
Sadly, whenever political candidates support that philosophy, their opponents and the media paint them as cold-hearted and uncaring. Compassion has been redefined as the willingness to spend limitless amounts of other people’s money. The media also devote almost no time to examining political philosophies and a lot of time to gotcha games, gaffes, fake news and who’s ahead in the horse race.
But the horse is now out of the barn. For eight years, Americans experienced firsthand the results of so-called “progressive” policies. Government out of control, a health care boondoggle two-thirds of us didn’t want, and the economy still struggling long after it should’ve roared back.
The Election of 2016 was not a surprise to me. I predicted it months in advance because, unlike so many people who claim to represent or report on the American people, I actually talk to – and more importantly, listen to - people. Now, we’re being told that Americans are angry and weary of President Trump because he’s too “combative” (which he has to be when every press conference brings a fresh round of fake scandals and accusatory speeches in place of legitimate questions.) They can’t wait to bring back a guy who was in the backseat during one of the most divisive, economically-stagnant, out of touch eras in modern politics. And to put policies in place on a national level that have led to violence and anarchy on the streets at the local level. I hear the hard sales pitch, but I’m not buying it.
I predict that, despite the media’s best efforts to bamboozle us, politicians who try to sell Americans on socialistic, big government policies will fail, for the same reason that a used car salesman has a hard time selling a lemon to the same customer twice. I also predict that politicians who were elected on a promise not to “fundamentally transform” America into Venezuela will remain in office only as long as they remember why the American people sent them there.