What Americans Don't Want
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 their low approval ratings in one word, it would be “disconnection.” I don’t think there’s ever been a time when the people in government and the media were so out of touch with the people they’re supposed to be serving (as many of them learned to their shock on Election night, 2016.) 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 “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 is actually pretty short: national defense, secure borders, safe streets; smooth highways; care for veterans, seniors, children and the disabled; good schools, police and firefighters, and oh yeah, 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 places, they still don’t pick up the garbage on time!
In poll after poll, Americans say loud and clear: they want less government and less spending. They don’t care 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, and who’s ahead in the horse race.
But the horse is now out of the barn. Americans have experienced firsthand the results of so-called “progressive” policies. Government out of control, the debt at record levels, 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 - the American people. Now, even though the economy has roared back, I’ll make another prediction about the upcoming election:
I predict that politicians who try to sell Americans on a return to policies that they saw didn’t work 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 to change those policies will stay in office only as long as they remember why the American people sent them there.
More FAKE NEWS from CNN. Those calling for abolishing ICE have no for replacement, thus open & uncontrolled borders. Most of us proposing end to IRS is because we support @FairTaxOfficial and ending tax on productivity ends NEED for IRS. #WalkAway https://t.co/iAxDI0MXns— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) July 3, 2018
More Leaders who resemble trees
We all knew a kid in school who just had to run everything. Remember the classmate who insisted on picking the games you’d all play at recess, where you’d go after school, even who was “in” or “out” of your group? In high school, that kid had a compulsive need to be president of every organization. You just wanted to say, “Hey! You’re not the boss of me!” Whatever happened to those kids? I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them ended up in government.
I’m convinced the world is divided into people who just want to live their own lives and those who, for some reason, need to tell everyone else how to live. Unfortunately, to that latter group, government seems like the ideal place to work. As more of them gravitated toward it and government grew bigger and bigger, one day we looked up and discovered we had a crushing national debt and were paying huge salaries to people who enforce how big your soda should be. That’s when sane people realize that government is the LAST place control freaks need to be.
The temptation for government to overreach is hardly new. In fact, it stretches back to the beginning of recorded history, and I bet even earlier than that. There’s a story in the ninth chapter of the book of Judges in the Old Testament about Gideon’s son Abimelech, who craved leadership and stature - not to serve the people but to control them and make them serve him. He said, “Give me dominion over your lives, and I will simplify your existence.” Wow, does that sound familiar? I think it’s the 2018 Democratic platform. Our government has taken us pretty far down that same road, but does your life seem any simpler -- or just a lot less free?
Anyway, back to Abimelech. He had a very smart younger brother, Jotham, who came up with a clever tale about three trees: an olive tree, a fig tree, and a vine tree. All three were fine trees that produced lots of fruit. All were offered the exalted position of “King Of All Trees,” but all three turned it down. The plant that wanted to be “King Of All Trees” was the bramble bush, a weak plant that produces no fruit at all. Jotham’s point was that only the weak and nonproductive have the desire to rule everyone else.
So when anyone aspires to a position of power, take a hard look. If that person seemingly crawled out of the cradle with an ambition to be President, then beware! Anytime someone talks about “running the country,” alarm bells should sound. No one – not the President, not Congress, no one person – “runs the country.” That’s why the Founders took such pains to divide and limit federal power, and why we need to reinstate those limits that have been blurred in recent years, whether by Presidents ruling via executive order or out-of-control judges legislating from the bench or unelected bureaucrats trying to influence the results of elections. If we allow any one person or entity to ignore those limits and assume the power to run everything, we won’t be able to stop them when they run America into the ground.
We should pick leaders who resemble the trees in the Bible story that don’t need or crave power but that have shown they bear good fruit. As it is said, by their fruits ye shall know them. Government has more than enough nuts already.
A P.S. on my primary election roundup: I mentioned that voters in the Bronx and Queens would face a choice of forcing themselves to side with sanity and elect a Republican or send an aggressive, outspoken socialist to Congress to challenge Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters as the face of the Democratic Party in Republican campaign ads. But there is a third alternative: Party leaders could decline to back her, while the longtime incumbent, Rep. Joe Crowley, could run as an Independent (and if it’s too late to get onto the ballot, as a write-in candidate). With his name recognition and tons of money to back him, he could win among general election voters who, one hopes, are not quite as enamored with the wonders of socialism as Democratic primary voters. Then he could caucus with the Democrats or just change his party affiliation back to Democrat. It would be a sneaky end-run, but hardly unprecedented.
But it would create one big problem for Democrats, as it would underscore the charge that the party establishment will do anything to thwart the far-left Bernie Sanders types who are the rising tide of their constituents. They’re facing a Hobson’s choice of trying to hold down the openly crazy socialist wave and risk losing their votes, or embracing them and risk alienating the vast majority of voters who prefer living in America to living in Venezuela.
By the way, I know the Bernie types prefer that we not mention the rapidly swirling toilet bowl (sans toilet paper) that Venezuela has become under socialism. They prefer to point to the Nordic “socialist lite” utopias such as Sweden, where the government tax bite of GDP is about twice what it is here, but they have cradle-to-grave “social services.” Well, I hate to shatter their illusions, but even Swedes are getting fed up with sky-high-and-rising taxes, open borders and deteriorating social services. Turns out “socialism lite” just means that your country swirls down the toilet a little slower and it takes a few more flushes, like one of those Al Gore low-flow eco-toilets.
In Atlanta, in one of those common instances gun control advocates refuse to admit exist, a good guy with a gun stopped three armed attackers who were assaulting a pregnant pizza delivery woman and trying to steal her car. If there hadn’t been an armed citizen on hand, I wonder if the cops would have shown up in 30 minutes or less? And if they don't, is your funeral free?
When rhetoric goes too far...
Laurence Wayne Key of Stuart, Florida, apparently got fired up on “get in their face” rhetoric from…oh, who knows?...allegedly called the office of Rep. Brian Mast and told an intern who answered, “I’m going to find the Congressman’s kids and kill them. If you’re going to separate kids at the border, I’m going to kill his kids. Don’t try to find me because you won’t.” Surprise: the FBI did find him. He’s now in jail. More surprises: his social media pages reveal that he’s a volunteer for both the Democratic Party and Planned Parenthood. Well, now we know where he learned his respect for the lives of children.
With the Fourth of July nearly upon us, I’d like to remind you to say thanks to America’s veterans for making our freedoms possible by including them in your patriotic holiday celebration. There’s a great group called “Pizzas 4 Patriots” that sponsors pizza parties at veterans hospitals across America and delivers a taste of home to our soldiers around the world as a reminder that we’re thinking of them and are grateful for all they do for us. Your donation of just $20 can supply pizza and sodas for up to four disabled veterans or active duty military members. To learn more and help out, please visit https://www.sgtpizza.org/