In case of political emergency, break glass and save yourself

I recently attended a lecture and afterward, was able to sit down with the speaker to talk for about an hour. During his presentation to an assuredly bipartisan audience who were not in attendance to hear about politics, the speaker still managed to sneak in a shot against Donald Trump.

Later, as we talked over coffee, he went out of his way to state that he “hated Trump with a passion,” as well as most Republicans. When he expressed his hatred for the former president, his face literally contorted into one you’d associate with rage.

This, from an otherwise gentle, well educated, former high-level civil servant in the U.S. government, now in his twilight years.

I was honestly taken aback by the deep-seated anger within him.

Now, to be sure, there are a massive number of older Republicans and conservatives running around the country who have or continue to profess their hatred for Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden.

My question to them would be the same as the one I posed to the Trump-hating guest speaker: “How does all of that hate, anger and negative energy translate into making the United States of America a better country for the vast majority of her people?”

The liberal guest lecturer with whom I sat down — just like most of the angry conservatives I encounter — was either part of the wealthiest few percent in our nation, the entrenched elite of the political class, or both. That demographic makes up most of the mainstream media, academia and entertainment industry.

Collectively, tens of thousands of well-off, entitled, pampered elites are hating on each other while the problems they create or never solve pummel over 90 percent of the American people — most especially the middle class, the working class and the outright poor.

To those Americans and voters who do represent “ordinary” American people, I have a message that I was repeating on a loop while on a recent book tour: “No one is coming to save you. Republican, Democrat or independent, if you are struggling to survive in a nation made continually worse by the elites who live in their protected bubbles of wealth and security, there will be no cavalry riding over the horizon to rescue you. Your government is irreparably broken and many or most of your leaders are looking out for themselves first, and their useless political parties second.

“So, in case of a survival emergency, break the glass and save yourself.”

While they no longer teach much American history in school — or, perhaps only a pre-approved, woke version of the story of our Founding Fathers and the beginning of our nation — the fact is that “We, the People” are still in charge.

As many from the political class sell out to Big Tech, Big Corporations, and Big Special Interests, the working class and poor should remember that these entrenched elite politicians actually are supposed to answer to the people. 

As the elites chase power, money, tenure, pensions and favors, remember that it is not too late to change the dynamic back in your favor. How? First, by actually starting to talk about the elite-created problems that are crushing your hopes, dreams and your children’s future well-being.

Begin conversations about these emergencies with your neighbors, work colleagues, at church, at the supermarket, at the bowling alley, anywhere and everywhere.

Don’t like your school board or town council, the local mayor or your state representative? Then either run for office or find someone who thinks like you who will.

Again, if you are part of the middle class, the working class or the poor, no one is coming to save you. But you have the power and ability to save yourself. Use it before it is too late. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” Or, as we’ve long attributed the quote to him, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” 

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.