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OPINION

For the People?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Are those in government and key industries “for the people” or have they placed themselves above others?

One of the key features of Democracy mentioned by Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address was that government rule must be “of the people, for the people, and by the people”. One might see in this a rhetorical flourish but the importance of this principle expressed in such a beautiful manner cannot be overstated. Those who are to rule in America are not descendants of royalty or members of a preferred class. Rather, our leaders are supposed to be like us and in being so, they can understand what we need from them and protect our interests. That ideal situation does not exist today. Leaders at all levels of government make decisions that can impact the lives of the governed but they themselves may not feel any ill effects of their actions. A member of the San Francisco Fed board blurted out that she makes enough money not to feel inflation. And think about it, for millionaires and above, the necessity to pay twice as much for filling up the car or steaks being 50% more expensive than a year ago means nothing. What are hundreds or thousands of dollars in extra expenses when one’s daily investment income is far greater? And think of those in favor of America’s porous and open border. Are they affected by the open border? Are their towns overwhelmed with illegal aliens who take up enormous local resources? Is their local airport, like the one in El Paso, filled with people sleeping on the floor? Martha’s Vineyard did not last 24 hours with a handful of illegal aliens flown in from Florida.

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The same “rules for thee but not for me” is true of industry, especially social media and Hollywood. We have learned from the “Twitter Files” that former FBI employees found their way to Twitter and that Twitter willingly acted on the FBI’s behalf to shut down unacceptable speech and keep certain topics, like the president’s son’s laptop, off-limits. To make such decisions, people at the FBI did not think that fellow Americans need to know all the facts before an election; rather, they decided that they wanted one candidate to win and simply used Twitter and other firms that control social media space to make sure that Americans are given only pre-approved information. Did the Soviets and Pravda do anything differently?

What America is developing into is a caste system. Self-described elites believe that they can promulgate rules that simply do not apply to them. John Kerry and a legion of Hollywood and Washington who’s who tell Americans that climate change is the world’s greatest challenge, but they do not deny themselves the use of private airplanes, large mansions or any other luxuries (including Kerry’s yacht) that they enjoy. How do they sleep at night when they tell the American masses to behave in a certain way or to stick to some liberal orthodoxy while they themselves are immune to the same rules? Did you see Kerry without a mask on a plane? Did you see President Obama’s mansions on land that is supposed to vanish due to supposedly rising oceans? Americans admire leaders who live the way they talk, who go into battle with their troops, and who never ask for more than they themselves are willing to give. British leaders and even royalty have used British Airways to get around; do you think that any of our leaders would take commercial if they could get their hands on a private jet of their own or that of a friend? Their disconnect is so complete that they can jet into Davos, as they do by the hundreds, tell us how we must radically reduce our energy usage for the climate, and then jet right out without the slightest feeling that maybe they are somewhat hypocritical in their actions and words. They are self-important and as Kerry himself said, he’s too important to fly commercial so they fly private and throw some money at growing trees so that their consciences are soothed. They see their speeches directed at the nobodies, those who do not have the money or fame, or college pedigree, or position at the right kind of company. They ask you to do that which they themselves would never do. These are not leaders. They are wannabee dictators.

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And this illness is not confined just to the Left and the Democrats. When Mitch McConnell said last week that the most important issue for Republicans is supporting Ukraine, you realize that this man does not get around very much. Maybe he had to say it prior to Zelensky’s visit so that it should not become a Democratic photo op. Still, if the Republican leader of the Senate would go into a supermarket and ask Republican voters about their biggest concerns, I would venture that inflation, the high price of gas, rampant crime, an open southern border, the woke military, and the sexualization of their children in schools would probably come up before anyone thought to mention Ukraine. One may see the Ukraine war as a great opportunity to weaken Putin and the Russian army, but is it our number one priority? Again, when one has so much money that a $40 fill-up or a $100 fill-up is just a rounding error, where illegal border crossers are rarely seen over the fenced-in compound, and where local factories have not been shipped off to China or Mexico, then maybe Ukraine is the biggest thing on the radar. I think that for most Americans, personal, local, and national issues are far more pressing. But for the upper caste, getting a good seat at a Washington or San Francisco restaurant might be the biggest problem faced on a normal day.

America falling into a caste system is the opposite of the intentions of the Founding Fathers. They debated what the president should be called. He should certainly have an honorable title, but they desperately wanted to stay away from “your highness” or the like. And so we have Mr. President. And as others have pointed out, a job in the US government is not some permanent title-bearing opportunity. Still, it is “President Obama” or “Ambassador Bolton” or “Governor Christie” though they and many others have been away from their governmental service for years. It’s much like Duke and Duchess that are lifetime titles, so too we have people popping up on TV being called by titles that left them years ago. Will someone introduce him as “Former President Trump” to one of his rallies? Will anybody call a TV analyst “Retired General So-and-So?” No, it will be President Trump and it will be General So-and-So because as in any caste system, the titles are there for a lifetime.

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To his great credit, Donald Trump the billionaire and owner of Trump Tower and many other properties understood the needs of regular Americans. He understood the importance of inexpensive fuel both for personal travel and for transportation of everything that has to be moved on a train or a truck. He understood what Americans wanted from their military and used it wisely and not as a platform for regime change. Everything in Trump’s background should have made him an elite star, but everything he did was about the needs of normal Americans who wanted to succeed and see their country succeed as well. And this is one of the reasons why the elite of the media, Hollywood, sports, and politics hate him and why Washington wants to kneecap him with investigations and indictments.

So how do we return to Lincoln’s ideal of “of the people, by the people and for the people”? It would be nice to think that if the Republicans sweep in 2024, we would have more people in Washington who understood the needs of regular folks. But when you see Mitch McConnell’s biggest concern being Ukraine and eighteen Republican senators voting for this omnibus monstrosity, he or she realizes that even bringing in Republicans may not be enough to stave off this mentality of enacting decrees on the little people. Americans have been granted great economic and political power. If you see a candidate whose interests don’t follow those of “the people”, do not vote for him or her, even if there is an “R” next to their names. The same goes for companies that do not want you to know the truth or want to sell you storylines that you find offensive. They have every right to sell their left-leaning ideologies and you have every right not to use their products or see their movies or TV programs. In Israel, when Pepsi’s advertising offended the ultra-Orthodox community, they stopped buying Pepsi products. Pepsi gave up and dropped the ads to get their sales back up. The US is many times larger and it is time to use personal political and economic power, one American at a time, to get the country pointed in the right direction. Earn our vote and earn our dollar.

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