Forty-five years ago Dee Brown wrote “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” chronicling the plight of the Native American Indian in the West in the last half of the 19th century.
In the introduction Brown wrote, “Americans who have always looked westward when reading about this period should read this book facing eastward.”
The same can be said for how Americans encounter national political issues.
Donald Trump, president and chief executive officer of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, during an interview on Bloomberg Television's 'With All Due Respect' at the Trump Bar of the Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Trump said that he agrees the carried interest tax 'loophole' should be eliminated and that it is 'tremendous burden' on country's finances. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Most of what we are told comes from the political and media class feeding on each other and looking out across America from east to west.
It doesn’t take long in Washington before one gets captured in the echo chamber. Everyone you know and meet sees things similarly. Everything is complicated because of competing interests.
We receive that news looking east, and our view is often entirely different.
I had just read Dee Brown’s book when in 1978 the Congress passed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act in northern Minnesota. Over a million acres of pristine land was placed under federal control to be reserved for posterity.
Families that had owned fishing resorts on that property for generations were kicked off their land and the resorts were closed down.
I was certain that the political class, looking westward from the hallowed land along the Acela corridor from Boston to Washington, D.C., congratulated each other and celebrated their victory, but I knew the vast majority had never seen that wilderness. Nor would they.
Those living on that land, receiving the news facing eastward, wondered if those folks in Washington had any idea how hard those families worked over the years to make that land so appealing that politicians wanted to take it over.
A few years ago I thought about Dee Brown’s book again. Washington was all tied in knots about Syria crossing President Barack Obama’s “red line” regarding chemical weapons.
For several days whether to bomb or not to bomb consumed the political and media class.
Those of us looking east wondered why. We saw three or four groups battling Bashar al Assad as well as fighting each other. They all hated America and there was no certainty that whomever won would be more friendly to us than Assad had been for a dozen years.
In our world, if you have three or four people who hate you all fighting each other maybe you ought to sit back and watch for a while.
Russia stepped in and took the issue off the table for the president.
There is recent evidence that Assad used chemical weapons again. Washington yawned.
It is also clear to those of us who watch from a distance that the IRS is a criminal enterprise. People in high positions in the IRS committed felonies by sharing private tax information with the White House among other things.
In the real world if there is clear evidence that a felony has been committed there would be a criminal investigation. It has been over 840 days since this became known and the Department of Justice has yet to begin an investigation.
This may be a complicated issue for the political and media class. They may really believe that more hearings are called for.
For those of us facing eastward it’s pretty clear-cut. The Commissioner of the IRS told the Congress one thing under oath and told a federal judge the opposite. He needs to be impeached and he IRS needs to be shut down!
I have had this conversation with someone in a position to act. I was told, “You don’t understand how complicated it is.”
Actually, I do understand. Half of Washington makes its living gaming the tax code. It’s not complicated to those of us looking east.
My state doesn’t know what I spend money on or when, but they still get my tax contribution without having to know anything more about me. We can do the same at the federal level. What are they waiting for? What’s complicated?
The most recent issue confusing Washington is immigration. We don’t enforce our borders. We don’t deport felons. We don’t even ask questions.
We’re told that any solution is complicated and can only be dealt with through comprehensive reform that includes a pathway to legalization for those who are here illegally.
It’s not that complicated to Donald Trump. He said that he will build a wall, deport illegals and stop guaranteeing citizenship to those born here whose parents are both illegals.
He is leading in all polls in all states as well as nationally. All cable news channels carry his speeches and press events from beginning to end.
And everyone in Washington looking out at America from the east coast is confused. What in the world does America see in Trump?
Let me vouchsafe a small secret. When a politician verbalizes what the majority of America thinks, they like him – whether you do or not.
The only thing that confuses those of us facing eastward is why in the world no one else sees this.
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