Todd McKinley was a 2018 Republican Candidate for Congress in TN-01, he's a retired Army Paratrooper, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, and Presidential Service Badge recipient. He’s served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as well 6 ½ years at the White House Communications Agency & White House Military Office. He’s served as an Advance Representative for the Trump Administration, and as an Advance Representative for the 2020 Trump Campaign. Follow Todd: ; ; ; ;

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” (John F. Kennedy)

Today more than ever those words ring true, which is why we need a new mindset and true American answers to solve the problems our nation now faces. Answers that use facts, logic, and common sense, but not emotion, political correctness, and anti-American political gamesmanship.

With the mountain of evidence, any logical and honest person would agree that President Trump won re-election. Given how well Republicans did down-ballot, it’s not all bad news, which reminds me of a quote by Michel de Montaigne, it goes “There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.” To ensure this ‘defeat’ is a victory in the long run, we need to prevent politicians and political organizations from turning this into nothing more than another fundraising grift.

Instead, this should serve as a wake-up call to everyday Americans and should be used as motivation to work towards changing the mindset of others for the better. To do this, it requires everyone to get active in our communities, to become active in politics all while taking an active interest in the goings-on in governments at all levels. If we allow Washington to revert to business as usual and spin us, then nothing positive can ever come out of the 2020 elections in the long run.

A Heavyweight Champion Called America

America is akin to a long-reigning heavyweight boxing champion who’s still the best in the world but has certainly seen better days. America at times has been on the ropes and occasionally has been knocked down but has yet to be knocked out. This is due solely to the strength and willpower of the American people. However, the leftist and globalist in our country will do to America what America’s foes haven’t been able to do unless enough Americans say enough.

Despite the efforts of many individuals and various factions, America is still a great nation, but this status is in jeopardy for many reasons. Reasons such as the fact that socialism and communism have taken such a hold, and now the Democrat party openly embraces it. Also, the Washington “swamp” is full of corrupt elected and unelected politicians, the federal government is too large, too costly, regularly runs outrageous deficits adding trillions to the national debt, we have a broken immigration system, endless wars with (at times) no clear direction, our federal government has a revolving door for elites and insiders, the outrageous amounts of money in politics, underhanded lobbyist, a sycophantic dishonest mainstream liberal media, and that’s just for starters.

Our current situation reminds me of a passage from Abraham Lincoln’s ‘Address before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois’ given on January 27th, 1838.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reaches us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction is our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

Political Climate

The political climate in America has gotten worse in recent decades and has become more reprehensible since the 2016 election. I’ll not say this is unprecedented in American history, it isn’t, but given we’re 1/5th of the way through the 21st century, we shouldn’t be experiencing the strife we see daily. Just imagine if Democrats and certain Republicans acted rational and worked with one another instead of trying to score political points. Imagine if Democrats had worked with President Trump to better the lives of everyone, instead of acting out the last four years. Sadly, every positive result made by the Trump Administration weirdly only served to embolden Democrats and President Trump’s detractors. Oddly, many Democrats in Washington hate President Trump more than they respect their constituents and their oath to the Constitution, a Constitution these same individuals despise and want to change to our detriment.

To be fair, there were many Republicans who opposed President Obama at times for no other reason than Obama was a Democrat. Don’t get me wrong, Obama was a horrible president who needed to be opposed on most things, but not on everything at every turn. I’m not saying Republicans should have rolled over as many have done for decades, but a balanced approach would’ve proved better for America and the party in the end.

These days the Left has expanded their use of identity politics, they shift blame daily, they constantly revise history in favor of the Democrat party, make threats of all kinds, they riot and commit actual violence, and more. Today, more than ever, we need more people, more groups, and organizations stepping up to be the adults in the room and say enough. We need politicians to accept responsibility for their failures and shortcomings and to pledge to at least have a dialogue with those across the aisle on things we all can generally agree on. We also need Washington politicians to be more transparent and work in the best interest of the American people, not for their own personal or professional gain, or mere partisan causes.

Unfortunately, we continue to see business as usual, which means, good ideas and real solutions are attacked by various political factions, especially the establishment types. This is wholly unacceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone, regardless of one’s political party.

Good Ideas, Real Solutions, and Another Boxer

These days in Washington, we increasingly see when someone puts forth a good idea or proposes real solutions, they’re often reflexively attacked, their reputation impugned, their motives questioned and that’s just for starters. This happens due to political ideology, secondly, by creating opposition and stirring outrage, it can be used as a fundraising grift. Next, it takes away the possibility of these ideas and solutions from being implemented, which could prove harder to campaign against later.

If you remember in the first part of this article, I compared America to a boxer, now I ask you to remember all the “Rocky” movies. In nearly every fight, Rocky was always on the cusp of losing until someone in his corner would tell him to change one simple thing which always led to a last-minute Rocky victory. If Rocky refused to make the change, then we’re to believe he would have lost. Sometimes I feel that we Americans are standing in the corner telling Rocky to make a change, but in this scenario, Rocky is Washington, but unlike Rocky, Washington often refuses to make the needed changes.

This lack of responsiveness has put our nation on the cusp of losing because real problems are seldom dealt with in any meaningful way. Instead, we see the Democrats create new problems to be outraged over that they demand be dealt with immediately, making it impossible to solve the real problems that exist. During President Trump’s time in office, many problems have begun to be solved, but business as usual, investigations, impeachment hoaxes, a virus that’s been politicized, and a stolen election has put a halt to that.

A New Mindset

If millions of Americans continue to look for Washington to have all the answers, it’s a certainty Washington will give them answers. However, the answers Washington is likely to give aren’t answers to the questions they had in the first place. This is irrespective of one’s political party, as Washington by its very nature is incapable of having such answers, especially given the state of our politics. We Americans would be better served if we collectively changed our mindset, not to think alike so much, but to understand that the individual and the community and government closest to the individual is where we should start when it comes to solving our nation’s problems. Don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly a need for a central government, but one that’s limited and doesn’t stray outside the parameters set forth by the Constitution.

I fear we’re running out of time to correct course and save our nation, but I believe we can recover if we begin to act, after all, we’re Americans. Simply throwing up one’s hands and saying it’s too late or what’s the point, only adds to our nation’s problems. That’s why I say it will take a whole of society approach, but we need way more Americans to come alive and live in reality, start paying attention to what ails society, start solving problems in our own communities, begin to truly hold politicians to account, and not just re-electing the same lot over and over.

I know it’s a tall order, but if more people began paying attention to politics while remembering we can’t receive anything from the government that’s not already been taken (stolen) from someone else. When Washington’s solutions include more taxes and appropriating funds to throw at problems, it’s a certainty this is a non-solution, and it will ultimately fail. These types of solutions or non-solutions most often create more government that needs funding at taxpayers’ expense.

To truly begin to solve our nation’s problems, we must stop living in an on-demand/pop culture world, stop blaming everyone else for our problems and stop thinking that politicians can solve societies problems, they can’t, they can cause some of them and exacerbate others, but not really solve them. Certainly, elected officials can play a positive role, some do, but in recent decades there’s very few out there.

It just makes perfect sense, that we “not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.” Let’s not go around fixing blame for the sake of fixing blame, except to understand history, but most certainly we must “accept our own responsibility for the future.” To do all of this and get the government we need and the nation we deserve, many of our fellow Americans must change their mindset, if not the only thing we’ll do collectively is fail and share in the misery.


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