In late August of 1980, a fledgling trade union, led by Lech Walesa, was formed in Gdansk, Poland, to oppose communist rule.
A year after it was formed, it was outlawed by the Communist Party it opposed. It took seven more years but the union, called “Solidarity,” gained the freedom to hold partially-free elections where Solidarity candidates spectacularly won elections and gained power.
This was a true grassroots victory story as the union’s leader, Walesa, eventually became the first non-Communist leader since before World War II. Solidarity changed the country dramatically as it gave workers more rights and, in a non-violent movement, contributed to the fall of communism.
This is a large example of how standing up for your beliefs is not only important but necessary. An Irish statesman, Edmund Burke, knew this well, as he is famous for saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing.”
One of Burke’s less famous, but still important quotes is, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
My column, in a small way is my fight to change the trajectory of how we elect and vet our politicians. We are the ones to blame if we are disappointed in who represents us.
As a conservative, I don’t fall in love with politicians, I am interested in ideas and good public policy. I think the legislative branches of government should be diverse. It doesn’t matter your age — as long as you meet the age requirement — your gender, or your skin color. What does matter to me is that they have an understanding of finance, as most legislative statutes deal with real taxpayer money. It is not an understatement to say that most government problems involve the lack of understanding of how our money evolves over time. The impact of the use of our money on a pet project may be small today, but the trajectory changes the impact and the amount over time. As for the executive branch, this is far different in my opinion. These people need to have real-world success as an executive in the private sector if we are going to hire them as mayors, governors or presidents.
Speaking of presidents, President Donald Trump is fighting a large and not inconsequential battle against China in regards to trade and the freedom of our farmers and companies to fairly do business around the world, particularly in China. Maybe he should do it in a different way, but he is doing it and for that I am grateful. Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton all complained about the trade relationship with China, including the necessary joint ventures which included forced technology transfers in order to even do business in China. Maybe more important is the theft and pirating of our intellectual property. It has long been rumored that China is a “currency manipulator” which means they have purposely lowered their currency in order to make their exports more financially attractive to foreign buyers like the U.S. This is not a new issue either; I have heard the currency manipulation rumors for at least two decades.
Trump is the only president who was willing to take on these fights and like he recently said, the economy may suffer in the short run, but it is the right fight to have. This is starting to show up in the form of a global slowdown. We are still the strongest economy in the world.
The president, however, needs to make the same case to us that Franklin D. Roosevelt did when he took the U.S. into World War II. Trump should have Oval Office broadcasts to make the case for why it is necessary for the country to go to economic war with China or any other country in order to have free and fair trade with our global partners. It won’t work to continue to make the case at his campaign rallies. Half of the country is usually not tuning in for the rallies. I don’t expect the Democrats, the news and entertainment media (think Hollywood) to get on board, but I do think many in academia are listening, which is a start.
The president also needs to make his case to elected officials in his own party who don’t like the trajectory of our debt and deficits as a consequence of his policies so far. Trump can and should continue this economic war with China, but to win it, he needs the support of more of the American people than he currently has.
Let me tell a story I heard recently of why Trump supporters are so loyal to him. I will add it here in summary and hope he is successful in getting more of the American people to willingly sacrifice for a good cause like FDR did.
Imagine you have been on vacation for weeks and you come home to find your basement infested with raccoons. You call the city and exterminators and no one can get rid of them. You hear there is this one guy who can get rid of them. You don’t care if he smells, if he swears, you don’t care if he is an alcoholic or how many times he has been married, you simply want the raccoons gone and out of your basement.
Trump is the guy and “the swamp” is the raccoons. That is why we stick with him, we like what he is doing with the raccoons.