Are Americans Now Embracing Blunt Honesty in Politics?
Political passion is running high in America with what many feel are out-of-control problems mainly being caused by weak politicians and powerful special interests. Americans seem sick and tired of ineffective political solutions as a result of no political will to make tough national security and illegal immigration decisions and to cut entitlement and other spending programs we can not afford locally and nationally. Americans are wary of political correctness that now seems to defy common sense and the interest of our own well-being as a nation in many cases.
Americans now seem to be embracing blunt honesty in politics even if the real solutions put forth mean less entitlements; being called racists; or being mocked by federal government officials and the media. Is the strangle-hold of political correctness fear in the US cracking - even in politics? All you have to do is watch political speak on both sides of the isle put up on YouTube to see this may have growing acceptance as frustration with the current political system and a national deficit that hit $13 trillion this week is growing.
New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie has pledged to balance the state budget with no sacred cows in spending cuts and no new taxes. He has taken on reporters questioning his tone. In answer to critics of the recent Arizona legislation that cracks down on illegal immigration enforcement, Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer put out a no-nonsense ad hitting back, and she is not backing down even in the midst of her being called a Nazi and all Arizonans being called racists. ABC Political Strategist James Carville did not mince words in how he felt about President Obama’s poor response to the BP oil spill disaster, and he’s a strong Democrat.
Alabama Agriculture Commissioner candidate Dale Peterson is being called the Steven Seagal of Republicans. The AC is a powerful position in Alabama with a $5 million budget and a far reaching affect on farmers and ranchers as well as employment opportunity in the state. Dale’s political ad titled ‘We are Better than That” has reached YouTube sensation status with over 1.2 million views and pages of viewer comments in just a few days. Duplicate YouTube postings of the ad have also generated approximately 300,000 more views and numerous additional pages of comments. Some viewers have called him campy and redneck in their comments, but most wish he was a political candidate running in their state and cheer him for his blunt honesty in the content and delivery of the ad.
Dale Peterson is not the established Republican party endorsed candidate, but he is endorsed by the influential iCaucus. It’s important to note incumbent Senators Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Arlen Spector (D-PA) are very recent examples of being the party endorsed candidate does not guarantee a primary race win any more. Never having run for political office before, Dale is a citizen candidate taking on the establishment which also seems to be a growing trend this mid-term election year. He is honest about our problems and plain spoken in what he sees as solutions to the problems. Dale is anything but politically correct and believes Americans will welcome honest, blunt politicians that will work for them and not to line their own pockets in a political position. As he tells you in his ad, he’s been a farmer, a businessman, a cop, and a marine during Vietnam – so listen up.
An Interview with Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Candidate Dale Peterson:
BKH: You’ve never run for political office before. What was the catalyst for you entering the Alabama Agriculture Commissioner race?
DP: It was a combination of four things really:
1. Politicians are slicing and dicing the constitution now. We need to get back to the integrity of our constitution.
2. I am a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment. That’s the reason for the gun in the ad.
3. I am a strong proponent of the 10th Amendment. Government at all levels has forgotten who gives whom the power. People give rights to their state through elections. The constitution gives rights to the states not specifically given to the federal government. This has been all turned around now. We need to get back to the correct basics in understanding governing.
4. The state of Alabama has been good to me. I want to give back to the people of Alabama by serving them. People should not go into politics looking for a career or a way to get rich by lining their own pockets. People going into service should already have had a career and now be in a place to give back in true service. We need real-life experience and wisdom in politics.
BKH: How has America gotten so far off track in your opinion?
DP: Mainly because policians no longer stand up for the people and their interests. They stand up only for themselves and their own personal interests. President Obama has distorted words like “change” and “transparency”. I also believe the creation of the Federal Reserve in the 1920s started an agenda that has resulted in unstable finances for the US. With the creation of the United Nations and encouraging, if not just plain allowing, US policy and direction to be dictated by the UN and the IMF; we are undermining our own best interests for our country and our own people. Political correctness has disarmed us in many ways, but refusing to acknowledge terrorists threatening America are Muslim extremists and coming from an extreme position in Islam is putting us further in harm’s way. We are not paying attention and are down playing those that want to harm us. We also have too much unelected power concentrated in Washington now.
BKH: What are the top three ways to get us back on track?
DP: First, we must push, pull, and drag good people into politics. So many don’t want to run for public office knowing they or their family will be dragged through the mud. There isn’t a soul who doesn’t have something in their past they aren’t proud of. You haven’t lived or ever made a mistake if that is the case. If you can get good people in political service, then those people must be able to be counted on. I’ve always believed in term limits until recently. A wise person explained to me that we do in fact have term limits – it’s called a vote, and it’s powerful. I realized if we do have good people in elected office that really work for the people, we would want to keep them in office to continue to serve well. We must have tenacity and resolve in having real transparency in government and holding politicians accountable. Politicians must not be allowed to rally around each other to hide or make light of corruption. It’s time to stop having the wolves be the only ones with the power to watch the hen house and be the only authority on whether the wolf ate the hen. And lastly, we must get back to the original intent of our constitution. We must change laws or repeal laws made by a previous Congress or White House Administration that do not truly serve the interest of the people, just plain don’t work, or are only creating big government wasting the people’s money.
BKH: Is it possible for a “politically incorrect” person to get elected by voters?
DP: Today, yes, with the state of our economy and with the rights and the power of the people being taken away, voters want honesty and common sense restored in governing. People are hungry for honesty, whether politically correct or not, because they have not had it for so long. There is a difference between being direct and blunt and being belligerent though. Belligerence should never be tolerated by those serving you. I saw this in some of the town hall meetings earlier this year. That’s unacceptable in any meeting. Honest and respectful communication with voters is what is needed and will always be acceptable.
BKH: What has been the overall reaction to your ad?
DP: Absolutely positive – 98% positive. What it did was shed some good light on the people of Alabama. It’s not about me – it’s about the people, what they care about and what they need. I’ve had comments on the ad from people as far away as Denmark, Germany, and Iceland. I even had a soldier stationed in Afghanistan call me and thank me for standing up. I don’t take special interest money. I have had $5 to $10 donations from people in every state in the US. I believe Americans are standing up. It’s been very humbling for me. I received a letter from a woman in California that told me she had been looking for a job for two years. She said she didn’t have much but wanted to support me being honest and standing up. Her letter contained a $2 donation. It made my eyes tear up. It also made me humble in understanding Americans want to believe in honesty again. I feel a deep sense of responsibility and accountability to make sure every dollar spent in my campaign, and in the office of Alabama’s Agriculture Commissioner if I’m elected, be spent remembering this is the people’s money. And, they are trusting me to spend it wisely.
BKH: You mention illegal immigration in your ad. What do you think of the new Arizona enforcement legislation?
DP: It’s simple really – if the federal government was doing its job in protecting American borders and American citizens, Arizona would not have been forced to take this stand on their own. The Arizona law is not even as strong as the federal law if you have read it.
BKH: Why do you think polls show approximately 65-70% of Americans support the enforcement efforts of Arizona?
DP: It is because people are fed-up with our borders not being protected not just from illegal immigrants but from possible terrorists coming here unknown also. Americans are not anti-immigration – they are anti-illegal immigration. Our country is still the greatest country in the world and the country that so many want to come to for opportunity and freedom. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to come to our great country to make a better life. But other immigrants throughout our history have done it legally. Illegal immigration,and the political defense of it, is a slap in the face to legal immigrants and Americans. Illegal immigrants have not earned the right to be in the US as other legal immigrants did before them. Illegal immigrants should not be able to qualify for welfare, food stamps, free housing, free child care, free public education or other social services that are in reality on the backs of the American legal citizens and residents in higher costs and taxes. That’s why Americans are angry and want solutions that do not include rewarding illegal behavior with any form of amnesty or free social services.
In the agriculture business, we have more than any. We’ve always had migrant workers. They worked the season and then returned home. It’s not honest anymore. The US can not afford the costs of illegal immigrants in resource money, crime, and lives.
BKH: Will Americans bite the bullet and accept less entitlements for lower taxes?
DP: Well I know the right side will – not a hard bullet to bite – just good common sense. I explain it to folks that when things are going well, we have more money in the government kitty. The more in the kitty we have, the more we can provide. If we don’t have money in the kitty, we don’t have money to fund entitlements and must cut back on them. Families and businesses do this all the time. They make priorities and stick to them when times get tougher. It’s like you sweep with a vacuum if you can afford the vacuum. It you can’t, you sweep with a straw broom until you can afford the vacuum.
BKH: Alabama is number 1 in the US for rural unemployment. What is the answer? What can you do in the role of the Agriculture Commissioner to put Alabamans back to work?
DP: Communication with citizens and facilitation of workable solutions are the keys. My goal is to have a radio or television weekly program in office as the Alabama AC to communicate directly and honestly what my office is working on, what we have accomplished, and who is standing in the way of getting things done if necessary. I believe all levels of government office should be doing this. I know some have websites that say they are doing this, but they are not being completely honest and transparent.
The Alabama AC needs to be a communicator for the interests of the people of the state. We must educate and alert the general public on why we need to maintain a buffer to depending on foreign sources of food and product. We must not minimize safety concerns from Chinese products. We must also market and promote Alabama grown products giving people information and a choice in what they buy. I want to see a “Made in Alabama” label on our products, and for the people of Alabama to have the pride this brings. Every state can take an active role in communicating and promoting with pride products from their state. Americans as well as other world citizens want to buy American if openly given the information and the choice.
We need to make common sense efforts to reduce product costs and increase local job opportunity in the production process of local products. For example, there is no meat processing plant in Alabama, yet we have plenty of ranchers and meat here. Cattle are sent to Texas at 300 pounds by freight to be finished (gain to 600 pounds) and then processed and shipped back to Alabama. There is a product cost in paying for all that shipping. Why not have private entrepreneurs in Alabama build a processing plant? The Agriculture Commissioner is a facilitator. The AC’s office can get all parties to the table – the ranchers, the processing plant, and the local grocers to work together to promote local products, save everyone money, increase capital expenditure, increase profits, and increase local job opportunities. This helps every family and business in Alabama or any other state that is willing to approach their local production this way. This is how government and free enterprise should be working together – for all of the people of the state not just for a group that politicians collect the most money from.
BKH: If you could have lunch with President Obama, what would you tell him?
DP: I would not have lunch with President Obama. I can no longer believe he has this country's best interest at heart, and I can't respect him or anyone for that, so I could not have lunch with him.
You can learn more about Dale Peterson at http://www.dalepeterson2010.com/
Is acceptance of blunt honesty in politics a force in America or just a passing novelty? I believe it is a force that will strengthen as the impact of higher taxes and higher healthcare costs hit Americans in 2011. As Dr. Phil always says, “You can’t fix what you don’t first acknowledge is broken.” Americans are acknowledging our current government solutions and career politicians have created an unsustainable financial mess. The current political system and direction are not working.
Unapologetic honest politicians that will tell it like it is are needed now more than ever. When the rubber hits the road, the majority of Americans are honest, and Americans are tough enough to personally sacrifice to restore integrity in our political system and for a better future for coming generations. Our Founding Fathers and the WWII generation were not the last Americans with the integrity, courage, and resolve to face and beat daunting challenges. Don’t underestimate the ability of Americans to handle the truth.
Is Dale Peterson the Steven Seagal of Republicans? – Maybe. Is he the John Wayne of Republicans? – Definitely. And who doesn’t love John Wayne? Its men like him in real lives that help build our strong nation. And if you think regular Americans don’t give a rip about their state and their country, you are in a word - Mistaken. Given the truth, Americans will not only listen up - they will man-up/woman-up.