Back in 7th grade, I was an ambitious young lad and decided to run for Student Council at Lewis & Clark Junior High. (Go Patriots!) The other candidates and I all got up in front our classmates at an assembly so we could give our best speeches, trying to sway all those undecided 11 and 12 year olds. Some candidates promised a new soda machine in the cafeteria. Some tried to talk about lobbying for more recess time. Others pledged to get new gym equipment. Everyone made their best pitches. Then I remember one student stood up, recited some bumper-sticker-like saying that essentially translated into “may the best man win”...and then he sat down. I smiled. I felt confident that I wouldn’t have to worry about him getting in the way of me achieving ultimate power. But, I under-estimated one thing: he was one of the popular kids. And, yep, he won.
That story doesn’t haunt me as much as you might think it might, although I do seem to remember every little detail of it like it happened only yesterday. But I have thought of it a few times recently when I start looking at all the presidential candidates. Liz and I have had quite a few of the candidates on our morning show and after we finish talking to one that may be under-performing in the polls, we usually have the same response: that person has a great resume and some great ideas, they just aren’t getting any traction or any love from the voters. Why? Same explanation as 7th grade...it’s a popularity contest. The candidate who can handles themselves the best, says what the voters want to hear, sounds the best and yes, looks the best, is often the person who ends up winning the race, regardless of their ability to actually do the job. As Americans, I think we all bristle at that idea, but it’s hard to disprove it. Some of the candidates (both Democrat and GOP) who have the best resumes in this election cycle are being left in the dirt and will eventually be left in obscurity when it’s all said and done.
In addition to popularity, the other factor for a successful campaign is.....no, not workable ideas and proposals.....but money. One of the reasons that incumbents are so hard to get rid of is that they already have money behind them. Polls show that only 11 to 15% of Americans think that Congress is doing a good job, but in 2014, the last general election, probably 95 to 98% of those running for re-election, got re-elected. Why? Name recognition and money. Also, it’s my assertion that the general population feels that Congress is so bad is because of ‘the other guys...my Congressman is fine..it’s all the rest of them’. So nothing changes. In SC, Lindsey Graham faced 8 different challengers for his senate seat, all accusing him of not being conservative enough. People couldn’t tell you fast enough how much they hated him, and how they couldn’t wait to get him out of office. When it was all said and done, Lindsey is still their senator and won by an easy margin. How? Name recognition and money. He was the best known of any of the candidates, by far, and nobody could come close to his war chest. So despite the grousing, nothing changed.
The best and the brightest amongst us is not always the most articulate, the richest or the best looking. Sometimes they have trouble getting their point across in a cogent manner, have a few extra pounds or don’t come across well on camera. Those may sound like insignificant reasons to dismiss someone from something as important as the presidency....and you know what, they are. But you know what, they do.
Being a candidate is all about hyperbole. Tell your followers what they want to hear…regardless of whether or not you can back it up…and make it as unbelievable as possible. Unbelievable to the other side, that is. Your side will eat it up, but the other side will try to let the world know that the claim isn’t true. But it won’t matter…because the other axiom of candidacy is…constituents don’t care whether or not something is true, as long as it jives with their beliefs and furthers their cause.
Take the Democrats claim in the last election about Republicans and their War on Women. Is that true? Doesn’t matter. The Democrats made the claim…kept repeating it and their voters believed it. Of course, it didn’t help the GOP when you have elected officials talking about ‘legitimate rape’ and other issues that made them look bad, so it played right into the Dem’s hands.
Speaking of War, one of the campaign planks for the GOP this year is that the liberals are waging a War on Christianity. Same as the last example…say it enough and your people will believe you, regardless of whether or not it’s true. When I read a candidate is using this ploy, I chuckle because I know it’s nothing more than campaign rhetoric. I hear candidates talk about Christians being ‘bullied’ into doing something they don’t want to do. Let’s examine: a bully is someone who uses their position of superiority to make someone do something against their will or forces their superior will upon them. Last I saw, the number of Christians in this country was 70+%....it’s kind of hard to bully someone to do something if you’re such a small percentage of the population.
Then you hear about Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis. She claims that the courts are trying to force her to go against her religious beliefs…when actually she’s trying to force the rest of the county to adhere to her religious beliefs. It’s a War on religious freedom!! No, actually, it’s trying to make sure that every American is afforded the same rights. And in a nutshell, that’s what most of this imaginary ‘war’ comes down to. Everytime a minority group stands up for themselves and asks, then demands, to be treated fairly, justly and equally under the law, the majority always pushes back. They’re called troublemakers, muckrakers and malcontents because the majority thinks the minority should just be happy with what they have…when all they’re asking for is to enjoy the same rights the majority has. When the minority group finally gets equality, the majority complains that ‘their rights have been taken away”. It’s totally the opposite. You’re not losing any rights….the other side is gaining them. You have the same rights today that you had yesterday. And when you complain about the possibility of losing those precious rights…think of what it would feel like if you didn’t have those rights to lose.
Things like nativity scenes at City Halls, having religious displays at municipal buildings or allowing prayers at the beginning of High School football games have never been constitutional. They all violate the church/state separation. Only thing is, the people who supported those displays were in such majorities, the minority didn’t have anyone to stand up for them and fight. Times are changing, but it’s not a war.
You want a real war on Christianity? In countries around the world, like China, the Middle East, Africa, Christians are being jailed, persecuted or even executed for their beliefs. That’s not happening on our shores and never will. Those are real wars. This is simply a group of people trying to stand up for what the Constitutional framers had in mind.
Race is a tricky issue to talk about. I still think of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine couldn’t tell if the guy she was dating was black or not. When the gang was at the diner talking about the issue, they always ended the discussion with “I don’t think we’re supposed to be talking about this” because they were uncomfortable talking about race issues where someone might hear them. By the way, the guy wasn’t black, but he did think Elaine was Hispanic…but when they figured out they were just a couple of white folks, the decided to hang out at The Gap.
That’s funny, but it’s a joke about white folks, so you can laugh without fear of reprisal. What it were an ethnic couple doing a stereotypical ethnic thing? It might still be funny, but by laughing at it, does that make you racist? In some eyes, it might. I’ve contended for years on the air that you can’t insult white men. Oh, you can, and most sitcoms do….I’m just saying that when white men are made fun of they can’t scream racism or discrimination. Why? Because white men have ruled the world for thousands of years, they’ve been the majority and held all the power on most continents that whole time. So it’s hard to feel discriminated against when you hold all the cards. That’s why sitcom dads are usually seen as bumbling oafs. It’s a safe target to pick on.
One of these days, though, race won’t be an issue. Eventually we won’t hear that this person is the first Latina to do this…or that person is the first black man to do that. Eventually we’ll just focus on the person rather than the color of their skin. If a white guy beats up a black guy (or vice versa), everybody automatically thinks it’s a hate crime. What if the 2 guys were friends but just got into an argument? They would be fighting like any 2 people of the same race…they just happen to be of different races. As our culture continues to integrate more and more, we’re going to have more situations where people of different backgrounds are going to interact with one another…and interact as people…not 2 people of different races.
Our President is bi-racial. He’s half white and half black. Many people in our society are of mixed-race these days. Doesn’t bother me in the least, but I do have to ask from a scientific standpoint: how do you determine what you are? What box do you check when you’re filling out a form and it asks for ‘race’? Obama is called the first black president and he considers himself to be black, even though it’s only 50%. A person who is only 1/32 Native American can call themselves a Native even though 31/32 percent of their DNA is of another race. And then, you remember that president of the NAACP in Spokane, Rachel Dolezal, who said she considered herself to be Black, even though she wasn’t….not even close. She was an imposter…but was she hurting anyone? She worked tirelessly on African-American causes, so who cares if she was actually black?
They’ve finally stopped counting how many black or Latino coaches have been in sports, so the next time one is hired, we don’t have to hear how he’s the 18th black man to hold this position. After a while, some of the other designations we make about someone’s ethnicity will start fading away as well. It happens little by little. This week, we’re mourning the loss of 2 TV people from Virginia, gunned down on a live broadcast. They were white and the shooter was a black former co-worker. Was it a hate crime because they were of different races or just the act of a disgruntled former employee? In this case there were some racial overtones but just because something happens between 2 people with different colored skin, it doesn’t mean that race was the driving factor. We’ll get there…maybe not in my lifetime, but we’ll get there.
A few weeks ago, a dentist from Minnesota caused a world-wide stir when he did something that people have been doing for centuries….he killed a lion. Don’t get me wrong, I think what he did was reprehensible. I can’t fathom what makes someone look at a large mammal, gaze upon its majesty, take in its magnificence and think to themselves, “let’s kill it!!”
I understand killing for food or even thinning out herds if the population of the animal is getting to large for the region to sustain. But when you get to the point when you can actually count how many of a certain species still exists on this planet, it’s time to stop killing that species. The problem is, lion hunting is legal in parts of the world. What this dentist did was probably illegal, but he may have been told it was okay by his guides.
Then why is Dr. Walter Palmer on America’s 10 most hated list? Times Change. What once was accepted or even applauded is now looked at with disdain.
Teddy Roosevelt was famous for his larger than life existence. From charging San Juan Hill to carrying a big stick, TR was also known as a famous big game hunter. The amount of large mammals he killed on safari was prodigious. This was just one of the things that endeared him to a nation. Hell, he’s even on Mount Rushmore!
I remember watching movies or even cartoons like Commander McBragg always talking about going on safari to bag an elephant. These days, talk like that will get you scowls and protests…and they should. All these beautiful creatures are being hunted and poached to extinction. I don’t know how old you are, but I can guarantee that several species of large mammals will be gone from this earth before you are. Conservation efforts are underway, but it’s really too late.
That same mantra can be used for lots of things. People these days complain about the world becoming too ‘PC’ and that what you used to be able to say 20 years ago is now viewed as offensive. I agree that sometime people are overly sensitive, but most of the time, if someone takes offense, it’s probably justified. Think about it…if you were called a word you didn’t like all your life, and then you finally got tired of it and said ‘that’s enough’. The people you stood up to would think you were just being overly sensitive…but you were actually tired of being put down, or even bullied.
It’s funny when someone uses a taboo word to refer to an individual and you call them out about it. They’re actually mad and fell somehow deprived that they can’t use a slur anymore…it’s like they’re missing out on their favourite TV show or something
The same can be said about the Confederate flag. At one time, it was purely a symbol of heritage. Now it’s both heritage and hate, depending on who’s waving it and why you’re waving it. Times change.
As human beings, we have the ability to adapt. We try to learn from our history. The stuff that’s working…let’s keep doing it. The stuff that fails, let’s stop doing it or change it so it does work. If we see how we’re treating the earth, through killing animals or polluting it, isn’t working, then we need to change what we’re doing, even though ‘that’s the way it’s always been done’.
Time change. We can too. Try it, you may not like it at first, but the people around you…and the Earth itself, probably will.
There are a lot of reasons that Donald Trump needs to get credit. He’s forced the candidates to get out of their comfort zones because of his unorthodox campaign. He’s forced them to talk about issues that other candidates haven’t brought up. He’s made the others have to change their style because so many people are reacting positively towards him. And right now…he’s flat-out winning.
But that won’t last forever. He’s tapped into the ‘angry, disgruntled, anti-establishment’ voter, but there are only so many of those. You eventually reach a ceiling. Once the campaign gets down to actual issues and how they can be achieved, the best candidate will rise to the top…not just the one with the biggest name recognition and who talks the loudest.
Or the one who brags the most. Every candidate has to have the self-confidence enough to think they will win whatever contest they get into…but there’s a difference between self-confidence and just being a braggart. We know Trump is rich but if we wanted to vote for rich…Romney would have won 3 years ago…and he didn’t flaunt it like Trump.
I guess the biggest problem I have with the man is that he’s the master of diversion. If someone calls him out on something, disagrees with him or makes him look bad, instead of setting the record straight using facts, he resorts to the oldest trick in the book: name-calling. It’s as simple as that…the thing you tried to teach your 4-year old that it’s immature to do…yeah, that’s what he does. Examples? There’s a new one every day:
Doesn’t like the questions Megyn Kelly asked in the debate? “..she’s a lightweight…not very tough…not very sharp…highly overrated”
So he gets disinvited to the conservative gathering in Atlanta. The organizer is all the sudden a “major sleaze and buffoon…weak and pathetic.
So Carly Fiorina says what Trump said about Kelly was out of line. 3 days after saying she’s “an effective debater”, he now says “if you listen to (her) for more than 10 minutes straight, you develop a massive headache”
So, his long-time campaign adviser quits, citing the core message is being lost amidst all the controversies. Trump says he fired Roger Stone (who has been with him since the 80s) because he didn’t want “publicity seekers” tagging along and he was cleaning house. I remind you, he resigned, not fired.
A few weeks ago a lawyer said Trump called her disgusting when she wanted to take a break in a deposition to pump breast milk. Instead of explaining his side of the story, he said “…Elizabeth Beck did a terrible job against me, she lost (I even got legal fees). I loved beating her,she was easy.” Who cares?
Then he defends himself by saying he doesn’t have time to be politically correct…a plotline that most of his followers agree with. Problem is, none of this has to do anything with political correctness. Master of diversion strikes again!
His other tactic is that when someone takes issue with him, he tells everyone how rich he is and that what the other side is doing won’t hurt him financially. He doesn’t realize that the PGA and ESPN didn’t care if Trump was going to be able to make more money by renting his facilities to someone else…they just didn’t want to be associated with him.
Have many of the comments made by Trump that have caused a stir been taken out of context? Probably. Mexican rapists? yes. Captured vets not being heroes? No. Megyn Kelly bleeding from her wherever? Maybe.
Regardless of how his comments are taken…if he says what he means or means what he says…all I have to say is….Keep talking Donald….keep talking.
The Confederate flag issue may come to an end this week in Columbia…but will the flag coming down from the Statehouse grounds really be the end? Of course not. Now, I’m in favor of bringing the flag down, but we know that there will be calls from other groups asking that other symbols from our past be done away with. Some may have merit, like the removal of portraits and statues of former SC Governor Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman…a man who not only was a racist and segregationist, but who also openly called for the killing of blacks. Other people may float ideas that will ultimately get laughed off….like removing George Washington and Thomas Jefferson from history because of slave ownership or doing away with the US flag because it flew over the Indian massacres, wars and other basic history. I rarely fall for the ‘slippery slope’ argument, and I’m not going to this time either.
Even though the flag needs to come down from the Statehouse grounds, there are other places that it should stay because of historical context…like at Fort Sumter or Confederate graveyards. Those are truly the definition of ‘heritage’ that so many argue in favor of when speaking of the flag.
We’re heard the same arguments for years, both for and against the flag, but let me address what I’ve been hearing since Dylann Roof shot and killed 9 people in a Charleston church last month:
1) It’s really not THEE Confederate flag. Moot point. It may be the flag of Northern Virginia, but if you ask 1000 people, 999 will identity the same flag as being ‘thee confederate flag.” Perception is reality, so even though it may not be historically accurate, it doesn’t make a bit of difference in this argument.
2) Will bringing down the flag end racism? Duh…of course not…but it’s a good step in the right direction.
3) It’s Heritage not hate. Actually, it CAN be both and in this case, it is. To the majority of flag wavers, it simply means Southern Pride or Proud to be a Redneck. To a few, it DOES have significance to an ancestor who fought in the war. To many, it’s a symbol used to denigrate an entire race.
Many people equate this flag fight with the current fight against gay marriage. I can see a connection, but probably not in the way you see it. For both, many have said it’s just one more way where rights are taken from one group and given to another. In my mind, both cases are about giving a group something the majority has enjoyed for a long time. For marriage, it’s giving equal rights while taking nothing away from you. For the flag, it’s allowing a large portion of the population to be able to walk past the state capitol without seeing a symbol you view as hate-filled flying in your face.
For everyone who says the removal of the flag tramples on your rights…just remember, the people who flew that flag originally were trying to break away from the United States and their Constitution…the document that gave the rights you’re asking for. So which is it?