That is why I make a few speeches on occasion. It gives me a chance to meet readers face-to-face and find out what they are thinking, and to get instant feedback on my own job performance.
This week I visited the East Cobb Business Association. Fortunately for me, they laughed in all the right places. Fortunately for them, I was not long-winded — hearing myself talk isn’t what I consider quality time — so everybody got out of there and back to their jobs before I bored the starch out of them.
The East Cobb Business Association is composed of area business owners, managers and entrepreneurs of all stripes, and is just one of the groups that help make Cobb County a great place to live and work.
I departed a bit from my usual format of Olympic war stories and describing the histrionic responses my columns seem to engender, and fielded questions from the audience. I wanted to know what was on their minds. After hearing them out, I am more convinced than ever that our government and the media have become so isolated and out-of-touch with mainstream America that we have scant faith or trust in either of them. If we don’t trust these institutions, who can we trust?
Granted, the members of the ECBA are a tad more sophisticated and perhaps better educated than most but if they feel as they do, I am going to make a leap in judgment and say most Americans feel the same way.
The godawful Obama Administration has done more to shred the public’s faith in government than any I can remember since the days of Watergate. Maybe worse.
When I mentioned the Internal Revenue Service’s recent admission about targeting conservative groups, there was a collective groan in the room. Just what the IRS needs — an image problem.
The same with the attacks on the Benghazi embassy in Libya and the obvious cover-up during Obama’s re-election campaign, with Administration officials saying the attacks were “spontaneous” and not a deliberate act of terrorism. That turned out to be untrue. Four people died in the attacks but Mr. Obama got reelected. First things first.
For those who support term limits, I said we already have term limits for politicians. It is called the ballot box. The problem is with regulators who transcend political terms. We don’t elect them and these faceless bureaucrats are the ones strangling us in red tape for their own job security.
The media have their own credibility problems. One attendee remarked that the media seem to be more into the entertainment business these days than in reporting the news. I agree. Besides having to watch a bunch of people yelling at each other on television, getting an informed and unbiased opinion on an issue seems to be a thing of the past.
I told the group that the Obama Administration crossed a serious line in subpoenaing the phone records and personal information of The Associated Press and a Fox News reporter, claiming they are investigating leaks that could impact national security. What makes this even scarier is so many people are so turned off by the national media which, with few exceptions, seem to be cheerleaders for liberal causes. No one seems to appreciate that one of our bedrock freedoms is under siege. Freedom of the Press doesn’t belong to the press. It belongs to all of us.
I was asked about immigration. My view is we can’t send everybody back who is already here so we have to figure out what to do with them and to do a better job in the future of stopping people from sneaking into the country illegally.
Finally, someone wanted to know how I felt about chickens in the yard. I said it is my firm belief that chickens are people, too, and have the same right of free assembly as do all Americans. They didn’t know if I was joking or not, but I think they decided that was a good time to end the meeting.
It was a good day and I learned a lot. I hope the audience found the experience as informative as I did. Otherwise, I might as well be shelling peas.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.