I believe what I say and believe I am right. Thus, the title of my column, Undeniably Right. Take it as you will, that I'm a conservative or I have a huge ego and believe I am always correct. Sometimes those things overlap, sometimes not.
I was listening to Mike & Mike on ESPN radio Thursday morning. They were talking about Atlanta Falcons' wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones is in the news because he lost an earring. Apparently not just any earring either. It was a diamond earring worth $100-150,000. Jones at first said $150K then later reports said $100K. It doesn't matter, it's an expensive earring. Just one earring by the way; not a set.
For me, there are two aspects to this story; first that Julio Jones, one of the best receivers in the NFL is going to be the poster child in upcoming rookie camps when they begin talking about managing your money. I'm not going to look up the stats but we've talked about it before; something like 70% of NFL players are broke within 5 years of leaving the league. Certainly while we focus on the high profile players that make tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, there are a lot more who make several hundred thousand a year. Either way their take home pay isn't as much as you think, after paying their agent and advisors, then federal and state taxes, they are hit for as much as 50% of their check or more.
The Republicans have failed to accomplish much this year despite having the numbers that put them in control of the federal government. Now I am not including President Trump in this criticism because he has done as much as any other president in the first six months of his time in office. Could he be a little more forceful in pushing the political elite to get something accomplished? Probably so, but he has taken a step in that direction with his comments regarding letting Obamacare implode if Congress can’t get a bill passed. But those are thoughts for another day and another column.
Despite what the liberals in the media, the political elite, or the general population will tell you, Trump was elected to drain the swamp in Washington DC. I think that is the one common denominator among all of the people who supported Donald Trump, in addition to not liking Hillary Clinton. I don’t know that there was any other one issue, whether it be building a wall, improving the economy, decreasing the size of federal government, or any other big issue that united supporters of Donald Trump more. We are tired of the way our elected officials and bureaucrats in the federal government treat us as serfs.
Clearly it was not going to be an easy job, but I don’t think any of us thought that the pushback from the powerbrokers in Washington DC would be this vituperative. (You public school graduates can ask Siri what that means.) I think most of us knew that those on the left side of the aisle would push back as hard as they could against President Trump—that includes those in the media—but the hatred they have shown has gone beyond anything we could have imagined. I don’t think any of us thought that the Republican leadership would fight this hard against Trump, to the point that they have abrogated their duties and once again failed to deliver upon their own campaign promises.
Every one of them has campaigned, for example, making a promise to repeal Obamacare. In fact Republicans voted seven times to pass legislation that would have repealed Obamacare sending it to the president’s desk for his signature on a couple of occasions, where it was vetoed. Now that they have the opportunity to present that very same legislation again, they don’t have the backbone to do so. It proves once again that it’s not about keeping promises to us but about retaining power and control over us.
But it also goes deeper than that. The media won’t cover this or want to discuss it, but many of us still support President Trump and are really upset with our elected officials in Congress. In fact we are so upset with them that there will be primary challenges for them in 2018 and/or 2020. Many of them could lose those challenges. Or will they? There is no doubt in my mind that many constituents are flooding their elected officials offices with emails, letters, and phone calls expressing their dissatisfaction with the way they have acted over the last six months. But those elected officials are not scared of their constituents. If they were we would have health insurance reform and a tax cut already.
But clearly they are not afraid of being reelected or the wrath of those people they supposedly represent. Some of that could be due to the way the media is portraying us and the bubble in which those in Washington DC live. But I think there’s a bigger reason they are not afraid of being reelected or ousted in the next election. The money people, the lobbyists, the billionaires, corporations are the ones that are really in the ears of our elected officials telling them not to listen to us. Those are the people that are pushing our elected officials to ignore their own campaign promises and the clear message we sent to Washington with the election of Donald Trump.
When Trump was elected, I said that we had the duty as citizens to ensure that our elected officials adhered to the promises made during their campaigns and his. That we had to be vocal in our support of those promises made to us. There can be no greater example of why the swamp needs to be drained than what we have seen over the last six months. We must be vocal right now in letting our elected officials know we want things to change. But more importantly in 2018 we must elect new representatives who promise to return the power to the people and take it away from the morass that is Washington DC and our political process. The changing of the way things have been done for 40 years will not happen overnight, but it will happen if we keep our focus and hold people accountable. Something we have not done in decades.
The Beat as a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.
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