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.
According to a recent Pew Research survey, 65% of journalists think the news media is doing a good job of covering the important stories of the day, while only 35% of the public agree.
If I had to explain that yawning gap between the media’s public approval and its self-approval in one world , it would be “disconnection” (although I would accept “narcissism.”) I don’t think there’s ever been a time when the media was 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 reflect a bit and make some changes, but they only doubled down on the demonizing of people they never talk to.
They apparently really believed in 2016 that when voters demanded “change,” they wanted bigger deficits and a bloated, more powerful regulatory state. Trust me, based on what they told me, they did not. And they didn’t think they were getting that when they voted for Biden, either. They’re so angry now not only because Biden’s policies are making their lives so much harder but because many believe they were the victims of a massive bait-and-switch con.
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, poor 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 44% 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. Things were turning around quite well before a pandemic artificially shut down the economy and people let the media bamboozle them into blaming Trump and thinking they’d be bringing back moderation and “normality” if they elected Biden.
Now, they find themselves stuck with a combination of Obama and Jimmy Carter times 10. This isn’t what they voted for, but they’re getting it good and hard.
I predict that, despite the media’s best efforts to bamboozle us, politicians who try to sell Americans on socialistic, big government policies will eventually fail, for the same reason that a used car salesman has a hard time selling a lemon to the same customer twice. I think those politicians know it, too; hence their desperation to take over elections so they can control the results, and to rig the government through schemes like eliminating the Senate filibuster and the Electoral College and stacking the Supreme Court. They claim to be protecting “our democracy” while trying to silence and neuter all political opposition. They have to kill democracy to save it.
I also predict that politicians who were elected on a promise not to “fundamentally transform” America will remain in office only as long as they remember that Americans did not elect them to turn the United States into Venezuela.