Up & Coming Weekly

August 22, 2017

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 6 of 32

6 UCW AUGUST 23 - 29, 2017 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM KARL MERRITT, Columnist. COM- MENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. (910) 484-6200. Time and time again in these columns, I lament that America is off-course. at is, we seem to be in decline as a nation. It is reflected in our strained relationships with so many other nations, but also in our inability, at the federal level, to do the routine business of governing. At that level, consider all the issues: lacking strong national security; unsuc- cessfully confronting threats, such as those from Russia, North Korea and Iran; faltering in building an economy that provides adequate jobs for most citizens; politically-based anger, racial and socioeco- nomic tensions that are downright scary; debilitating crime rates; fiscal mismanagement. Even as the Trump administration appears poised to make progress on each of these and other similar- ly troubling issues, the focus of far too many people and organizations is totally on making his a presi- dency that fails. Why are we in this condition as a nation? I think the answer is that there are many contributing fac- tors. One is that we have a multitude of politicians who know far less than they think they know about doing what is right for this country. is is especially true of Congress. On the other hand, maybe the situation with some is that they are more concerned with gaining power and wealth than they are with doing what is good and right for the country. Watching the House and Senate go about their business reminds me of three golfers I saw a few days ago. My 87-year-old golfing buddy and I were walking and playing our usual nine holes of golf. Out of no- where, these three golfers drove past us. We told them we would wait and let them play the hole we were on. ey said they preferred to skip that hole and go to the next. I understood that to mean that these were men who knew the game and would be out-of-sight quickly. No, they held us up hole after hole. e point is that they thought they had a good game, but their actions showed that was not the case. So it is with most members of Congress. ey think they know how to do what is needed for the good of America; however, their actions say they are like those golfers. Even further, we have come to a point where many politicians, and far too many Americans, think that our form of government is a democracy. is miscon- ception leads people to believe that elected officials are supposed to automatically do what the majority of Americans want done in governing. We are a repre- sentative republic, not a democracy. Consider the following from www.diffen.com/difference/Democ- racy_vs_Republic: Democracy. Rule by the omnipotent majority. In a democracy, an individual, and any group of indi- viduals composing any minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of the majority. It is a case of Majority-over-Man. …the majority can impose its will on the minority. All eligible citizens get equal say in decisions. Republic. A republic is similar to a representative democracy except it has a written constitution of basic rights that protect the minority from being completely unrepresented or overridden by the majority. …the majority cannot take away certain inalienable rights. All eligible citizens get equal say in decisions with the protection of unalienable rights to individuals. Given this misunderstanding regarding the Ameri- can form of government, many citizens, including politicians, act as though we are a democracy. is misunderstanding has resulted in a political atmo- sphere where decisions are driven by poll results, who has the loudest megaphone and who can bring enough factions together for an election win. In this atmosphere, the Constitution is shred- ded, and unalienable rights are trampled. We then operate as a democracy. at's where we are. ose who would unfairly take from the wealthy, neglect working people and appeal to those they have channeled into victimhood portray America as a democracy. Doing so allows them to abuse a mi- nority (not racial). at abuse produced President Donald Trump, because the abused minority rose up. With his ascension came a dangerous divide, driven by his opponents in both political parties, that is contributing to our nation being off-course. en there is the media contribution to being off-course. In my estimation, what most media has become in this country is simply disgusting. I try hard not to use such strong words in my writ- ing or speaking. In this case, I see "disgusting" as appropriate. I am comfortable adding repugnant, revolting and sickening. I find it unbelievable that most media organizations and individual so-called journalists are fixated on ensuring the failure of Donald Trump as president. Consider just some of what his administration has accomplished: the lowest unemployment rate in 16 years; a record-breaking stock market ; very impressive consumer confidence; a 70 percent decrease in illegal border-crossings as measured by apprehensions; roll-back of numerous regulations that adversely affected business growth; getting a United Nations vote for sanctions against North Korea; real progress toward defeating ISIS; the missile attack on a Syrian air base; and signing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, which makes it easier to fire VA employees. In spite of all these positives, with very few excep- tions, the media focus is on looking for collusion between the Trump team and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. e normal process is that a crime is committed and there is an investiga- tion to bring guilty parties to justice. is is a case of an investigation looking for a crime. Months have passed without success, but the media keeps that issue front-and-center while hardly addressing the positives. is search for and focus on negatives, even if only in the tone of a report, is obvious. Byron York wrote the following in an article titled "Harvard Study: CNN, NBC Trump coverage 93 percent negative:" "… the coverage of some news organizations was so negative, according to the Harvard study, that it seems hard to argue that the coverage was any- where near a neutral presentation of facts. Assess- ing the tone of news coverage, the Harvard research- ers found that CNN's Trump coverage was 93 percent negative, and seven percent positive. e researchers found the same numbers for NBC." Others were slightly less negative. e Harvard team found that CBS coverage was 91 percent nega- tive and 9 percent positive. e New York Times cover- age was 87 percent negative and 13 percent positive. Maybe the most impactful of all the reasons for our being off-track is that far too many Americans decide issues based on sound bites and headlines. The negative impact is compounded because me- dia, politicians and advocates for various issues/ causes use this condition to their advantage. A case-in-point is what happened with The Obam- acare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA) of 2017. A CBS News article titled "CBO: Latest health bill would leave 32M more uninsured in 2026" said the legislation "…would eliminate Obamacare's individual and employer mandates and repeal the law's Medicaid expansion at the end of 2019. It would also repeal Obamacare-related taxes over the next few years." That 32M figure has been endlessly repeated. With very few exceptions, the whole story is not told. Two statements from the CBO report are rele- vant to my point. First, "In 2018, by CBO and JCT's estimates, about 17 million more people would be uninsured under this legislation than under cur- rent law." Second, "Although most of those reduc- tions in coverage would stem from repealing the penalty associated with the individual mandate, CBO and JCT also expect that insurers in some areas would leave the nongroup market in 2018." Taken together, these statements say that many of the uninsured would be so because having health insurance would no longer be mandated. Instead of addressing a fact such as this, Obamacare advocates scream, "32 million will be uninsured." Addicting the public to sound bites and headlines … a tactic that works, but helps keep us off-course. Please, my fellow Americans, give thought to these, and other, conditions/tactics that are keep- ing our beloved nation off-course from greatness. Searching for Why America Is Off-Course by KARL MERRITT OPINION Journalists are fixated on ensuring the failure of Donald Trump as president.

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