Win the White House? Try Common Sense
Barring a catastrophic collapse, it appears that Donald Trump could well be the Republican presidential nominee. Yet for all their theories about how he achieved his unlikely success, most pundits are still missing the biggest reason: Trump is winning as much because of his bluntness as his opponents’ lack thereof. And the same is true of Bernie Sanders.
People are sick of Washington politicos talking down to them, bickering about miniscule partisan advantage and regurgitating tired talking points on the minutiae of trade agreements, health care and tax policy with inside-the-beltway jargon.
What they seek is a leader who talks in plain English. While Trump and Sanders have, at times, been short on specifics, their willingness to tackle subjects in a conversational way has electrified the electorate.
There’s no doubt that if the Republican nominee tackles the lunacy invading America’s culture – perpetuated by a small extremist movement hell-bent on off-the-wall social engineering – he will gain a significant advantage in the general election. Many of these issues transcend party lines, but it would seem only a Republican – as part of the "lesser politically correct" party – will have the courage to use his bully pulpit to inject common sense into the debate.
Consider these four recent examples, and the traction that could be gained by addressing them head-on:
1)The Sandy Hook parents’ lawsuit against the gun manufacturer. It goes without saying that no one can imagine the pain of parents who lose a child, especially in a senseless killing spree. While some motivations of the killer will never be understood, we should be working toward real-world solutions that could help prevent another such tragedy. Casting blame the gun manufacturer on the grounds that it was somehow complicit solves nothing, and only derails serious efforts to discover the root causes.
Adam Lanza murdered his mother and stole her legally owned guns and ammunition. Therefore, he, and only he, is responsible for the massacre. Not his mother. And certainly not gun manufacturer Remington. Period. That’s like a car company being held liable because a reckless driver kills someone, or a beer maker incurring responsibility for an individual who drinks to excess. The Sandy Hook parents do not think the weapon used in the murders should have been legal. Fine. That’s their opinion. But indisputably, it was legal. This case should have absolutely no legal standing. A presidential candidate who, while showing empathy, focuses on real solutions instead of placating those who refuse to accept the truth, would find immense success.
2) The elimination of Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas in schools. Incredibly, the banning of "dominant" holidays – whatever that means – is becoming more commonplace, ostensibly because they may "offend" those unfamiliar with them. Really? That’s what educators think is best for our children? In point of fact, we are mandating close-mindedness in our kids while crushing their natural inclination for discovery. In other words, we are teaching them to be wholly intolerant of other people, cultures and traditions. If that warped mindset remains unchecked, it’s only a matter of time before the last truly free country on Earth collapses.
The vast majority of Americans – despite their collective silence on these types of issues for fear of being labeled insensitive bigots – would respond favorably to a candidate rejecting such mandates by asking:
• Since when is a holiday celebrating love and friendship "offensive?"
• Why is it wrong to celebrate holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah – without pushing religious beliefs – in what has always been a Judeo-Christian country?
• And how can the uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving – rooted in peace and friendship between Europeans and Native Americans – be eliminated in America?
While the role of commander-in-chief is not to intervene on the local level, using the office as a bully pulpit to shine light on policies gone awry is eminently presidential.
3) Transgenders using bathrooms of their choosing: Bowing to political correctness, schools and city councils are allowing transgender people to use whatever bathroom with which they most "identify."
Extremists aside, what parents in their right minds – Republican and Democrat alike – would feel comfortable sending their young daughter into a "ladies" bathroom where a man, who on "feelings" alone, can freely use the same facility?
How could such a regulation possibly work in the military? Or the workplace, for that matter?
Tolerance and inclusion are admirable, but forcefully pushing back when things go too far would be met with resounding applause.
4) Nevada high school athletic associations suspending coaches for being successful: This isn’t an early April fool’s prank, but a rule that has made a joke of high school athletics. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association has created a mandate – supposedly to encourage sportsmanship and prevent embarrassing scores – stipulating that a team can’t win by more than 49 points, and if, God forbid, they do, "coaches are required to submit documentation explaining how it happened and how they tried to prevent it. If it happens three times in a season, the winning coach is suspended. The rule also institutes a running clock in the second half after a lead gets to 40 points," according to ESPN.
What has America come to? No one likes to be on the losing end, especially when a contest is lopsided, but having to document why a team wins? Seriously? That punishes players and coaches who worked hard to achieve success, and, ironically, humiliates the losing team that much more, as the better team often just holds the ball in what amounts to a patronizing move.
The answer is not to penalize those who earn success, but encourage those on the losing end to work harder – the best form of motivation, and the way it’s always been. It makes no difference whether a team loses by 49 or 69. A loss is loss, but to mandate a mercy rule at the high school level is ludicrous.
What next? Will we see mandated running plays in football if the margin exceeds 50 points? Will running backs simply fall down on their own? Will winning basketball teams be required to give their opponents 20 straight scoring opportunities while playing tepid defense so the losing players can feel good about themselves?
Don’t laugh. Grade school athletic programs have been doing this for years: Up by five in soccer? Pull your goalie and no shooting. Leading by 1- in baseball? Purposely strike out. And of course, give everyone a trophy. So the push for homogenization at the expense of individual achievement marches onward.
Enough is enough. If a presidential candidate advocates re-instilling traditional American values, with common sense as a guide, the keys to the Oval Office will be his, or hers. For all our sakes, here’s hoping.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. His column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at [email protected]