Read Pinheads and Patriots Online

Authors: Bill O'Reilly

Pinheads and Patriots

BOOK: Pinheads and Patriots
11.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Pinheads and Patriots

Where You Stand in the Age of Obama

Bill O'Reilly

This book is dedicated to Madeline and Spencer.
Kids do not come any better.

Demo version limitation

Demo version limitation

Demo version limitation

Demo version limitation

Demo version limitation

CHAPTER 4
Your Place in a Changing America

THE FIRST DECADE
of the twenty-first century was brutal for many of us. The terror attack on 9/11 dramatically changed the country, and then the vicious recession that began in the fall of 2008 altered it yet again. The working American was assaulted by attacks from Muslim jihadists overseas, then suffered because greedy corporate investors right here at home ransacked America's financial system. Both of these assaults damaged our security in very personal ways.

Unfortunately, meaningful security requires money (although the harsh truth is that you can never be fully protected). Since your humble correspondent has been both poor and rich in his life (and has been the man in the middle along the way, too), I've learned firsthand how difficult all positions can be. But let's focus on the two extremes first.

RICH MAN, POOR MAN

The impoverished person is simply worn down by how few options are available to him or her, while the wealthy person is worn down by having to be on guard
all the time.
If you have money, chances are someone else wants to take it from you. The more assets you have, the more security you need. The fewer assets you have, the less security you're able to buy. Poor people are at the mercy of many things they cannot control. Rich people are at the mercy of bad people who target them.

Perhaps the ultimate Pinhead in the world of wealth is the swindler Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme caused at least $65 billion to go up in flames and many people to get burned in the process. Here's a guy who betrayed his family, friends, and business associates without remorse. If you examine the Madoff file, you will see an example of true evil. Some folks I know can't understand evil; they don't even think it exists.

Swindler Bernie Madoff, who faced a prison sentence of up to 150 years, arrives at federal court in New York, where he pleaded guilty to charges that he engineered one of the largest investment scams in U.S. history.
Associated Press/AP
Photographed by Mary Altaffer

But exist it does, and Madoff is one of the dark side's most devious poster boys. He fleeced wealthy clients and friends, completely ruining many of them. One day they were in control of their lives; the next day whatever financial security they thought they had was completely gone.
And nobody could bring it back
.

Think about that for a moment. You work hard all your life to provide stability and prosperity for yourself and your loved ones, then a country club criminal, a lowlife punk in a three-thousand-dollar suit, steals it. And there is absolutely nothing you can do. Nothing.

The message here is that evil chases all of us. Most of the time it comes in small doses, not supersize Madoff-type doses, so the world around us doesn't always notice as much. Right now, some Americans feel that the federal government is evil, too, and that society, in general, is going to hell. So let's take a look at both of those points of view.

TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET?

There is no question that American society is changing. Polls show that atheism is on the rise and organized religion is in decline. On the secular front, we've seen the legalization of soft drugs and of gay marriage in some places, and because many teachers are committed liberals, our children are being educated in a system that skews left big-time. Do such things bode well for us?

As I've written in previous books, I have always believed there is great strength in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and while I know that I am a sinner, I try my best to embrace principles like self-reliance, loyalty, and fairness. I also do not judge the personal conduct of others, leaving that to a deity whom I believe not only exists but is active in the world.

Evaluating public policy, not private behavior, is my primary
job, although if the two converge in a way that's harmful to you, then I could be vocal about it, as I will be below on the subject of celebrity scandals invading our lives. And if I'm truly and deeply concerned about it, I could swing into action, as I have over the vicious attack the Westboro Baptist Church launched on Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder's family, which warrants its own discussion in chapter 6.

Let's begin with the example of Tiger Woods. This is a case where a celebrity's indiscretions didn't necessarily hurt the public—they simply provided titillation. But it was actually the mass marketing of the scandal that I believe hurt everyone—not just Tiger, his wife, and the sport of golf, but you and me and even the kids who were exposed to the all-pervasive coverage.

The embarrassing exposition had to be reported as a matter of public record, but the
Factor
stayed away from reveling in the man's misery, primarily because only Pinheads enjoy watching others experience pain.

Is Woods a Pinhead? In the scandal area, certainly. He hurt his family and others who admired him. And if you enjoyed that story, you are a Pinhead as well. It is simply not noble to derive satisfaction from the suffering of others, even if they deserve it. I did not feel the golfer's pain, but I did empathize with the collapse of a fellow human being and the suffering of those around him. Like his wife. Like his mother. I did not enjoy reading about that case, especially when accusers and their lawyers greedily scurried out from under their rocks.

So it is true that all of us Americans are experiencing cultural changes on many different levels. Some are legislated, some are not. Some of these changes are compounded and even magnified by repeated images in the media. This kind of attention not only turns private hurt into public shame but also runs the risk of desensitizing us as a culture, too.

But let's shift the focus now from the superstar to the average Joe.

THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE

The individual American appears to be rapidly losing power. Wages have been pretty much stagnant for more than a decade. Working people are getting by but not moving up. It is damned difficult to pay your bills and taxes and also save a few bucks, is it not?

President Obama and his team want to pass laws that put even more power and money in the hands of the federal government; that, very simply, is my primary beef with them. The more shots are called from Washington, the fewer options we the people have in our own lives. Rugged individualism made this country great, not entitlement programs rigged to provide “income redistribution.”

The health care mess is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. The problems in the health system might have been solved without a massive government intrusion in the following ways: a combination of strict federal oversight on insurance, drug, and medical concerns along with increased health insurance competition across state lines, as well as tort reform so that corrupt lawyers cannot bankrupt medical people. All of these together would have brought health care costs down significantly. We'll provide more details on this later.

But a marketplace solution is not what progressive Americans really want. Misleading political rhetoric aside, their vision is for the feds to control health care and pretty much every other industry. In that way, Washington could impose the big liberal tenet of “economic justice” on the country. I delve deeply into this strategy in my book
Culture Warrior
. Briefly put, for the committed Left, an economy controlled by the government combined with punitive taxation of the rich is “change you can believe in.” In the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain failed to make voters understand what Barack Obama really had in mind. Senator McCain simply did
not spell out the freedom issue: Do you want to control your life, or do you want the Obama administration to do it for you?

That's why the Tea Party people are so angry. They don't want the government running their lives and spending so much money that the United States becomes insolvent. But the freedom message that many Tea Party protesters promote is being lost because a dishonest national press is portraying the movement as fringe Far Right hysteria. This is another huge change in America: a partisan press using its power to demonize those who do not adhere to a left-wing view of life. Once the Tea Party folks showed up wearing sweatshirts and baseball caps, they became targets for the elite snobs who dominate the mainstream media. Yes, most of them are Pinheads; they just can't help it. If an everyday American is in view, many media people feel the need to sigh. Don't you just love that?

SOME HONEY WITH THAT TEA?

Unfortunately, some Tea Party people play into the bogus Far Right stereotype by demonizing President Obama in crude ways. If instead they were to concentrate on freedom and avoid personal attacks, they might prosper more in the future. Most Americans respond to the freedom issue and do not yet realize that their own options in life are being substantially eroded in the age of Obama.

That being said, I don't despise President Obama because he's a big-government liberal. I just think his philosophy will weaken the country in both the long and short run. I could be wrong, and the President could be right. We'll see. As I have said before, I admire what the President has accomplished in his life (please don't tell Rush Limbaugh) and how he overcame a childhood that could have ruined him. There is much good in Mr. Obama's story, but his overall philosophy remains questionable, as many Americans are beginning to understand.

By the way, on the
Factor
, I have urged the President to hire me as his top adviser. If he would do that one thing, all would turn out okay. My first move would be to bring some Tea Party people to the White House. I wouldn't serve up a pot of Earl Grey, but maybe some beer and soda. Kinda like that Massachusetts cop and professor deal. Détente is good. It's Patriotic.

THE TECH OFFENSIVE

Let's leave politics for a moment and examine a huge danger that is looming large in America: the rise of the machines! I'm not playing around. High-tech gizmos are now dominating the lives of many Americans, particularly the young. With so much time being spent in unreal digital precincts, interpersonal relationships, beginning with family life, are suffering. This dramatic change is already affecting us all, and it will only get worse as the machines become even more sophisticated and, for some, addictive.

Here's a good example. No longer are loyalty and true friendship admired or even sought after in many quarters. What's being sold today in their place is instant gratification. Just turn on a computer, and you can create your own world. Who needs to deal with real problems and come up with effective solutions when escape is only a finger-click away? Why bother cultivating close personal relationships when you can chat with thousands and never even leave your home?

I see the machine culture thriving among some of the younger people working at Fox News. Their entire lives revolve around gadgets: iPods, cell phones, BlackBerries, what have you. Their attention is usurped and their minds are constantly cluttered by these toys. When I encourage big-picture thinking and creative storytelling, I get a lot of blank stares. With machines constantly pulsating signals inside their heads, it is hard for young people to develop insights
and problem-solving skills. Will the USA become a nation of robots? Could happen.

Don't get me wrong, I see how these gadgets have worked to some people's short-term advantage, but it's the long term I'm interested in. It was the high-tech age that made it so much easier for Barack Obama's nonspecific message of hope and change to catch fire. In fact, his use of flashy gizmos also contributed to the perception that John McCain was old-fashioned. Obama represented the quick-text-message era, while McCain seemed to harken back to the old rotary phone (if you know what that is).

Just the same, John McCain is a true Patriot. I selected him as my 2009 “Person of the Year” because he consistently stood up for what is right during a very turbulent year.

You may remember that it was Senator McCain who told the world that the Iranian dissidents who are trying to overthrow that awful government needed international support. He urged apathetic nations to rally around freedom-loving Iranians, but few countries did—not even the United States. President Obama's posture indicated that America was not going to intrude in Iran's internal affairs. On June 23, 2009, the President said this: “I've made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering with Iran's affairs.”

Later on, the President showed a bit more sympathy for the Iranian rebels' determination to toss out the mullahs, but still did not lend his moral authority to their cause.

Mr. Obama's words on Iran drove Senator McCain crazy, as they should have. I can't help but think that if the senator had displayed the same passion during his campaign in 2008 that he has shown regarding key issues in 2009, he might be the one facing down Iran, not Barack Obama.

BOOK: Pinheads and Patriots
11.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Stacey Espino by Evan's Victory
Case File 13 #2 by J. Scott Savage
Escapement by Rene Gutteridge
First Of Her Kind (Book 1) by K.L. Schwengel
American Romantic by Ward Just
Strangers When We Meet by Marisa Carroll
Brothers in Arms by Kendall McKenna