Unity Good, Division Bad

Unity Good, Division Bad

By Chris Freind Unity Good, Division Bad

“Oh, that’s madness. The pusillanimity and vindictiveness know no limits. Shouldn’t bygones be bygones? Surely the sophistication of a society can be measured by its tolerance and ability to forgive.”

– Former King of England Edward VIII in “The Crown,” after being informed that, despite abdicating 17 years prior, his wife still would not be invited to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, purely out of spite.

Have we learned nothing over the years? Where are we, as a people, going? And not just any people, mind you, but Americans – the most benevolent and progressive (small “p”) people the world has ever known.

Yet we must ask if those accolades still apply. It seems inarguable that we deviated from our path of righteousness some time ago, willfully allowing that which sets us apart – civility and respect for the rule of law – to disappear from the American landscape. If we are to ever excise the cancerous cynicism now so pervasive, we must honestly ask ourselves, “Who are we?”

This author implores readers to avoid knee-jerk partisan responses that have become an ingrained part of our fabric, and instead pause to think. If we are sincere about self-reflection, we must seek answers in the one place that never lies: The mirror. Only then can we begin to figure out what we have become.

Lamentably, many Americans have become tolerant in name only, projecting an attitude of “sure, I’ll respect your opinion – so long as it’s mine.” Gone are the days when we would disagree civilly, and use that dissent not as a venue for antagonism, but as the building block to solutions.

And quite frankly, it’s never been this bad.

We arrived at our current state in many ways: Looking at the past through rose-colored glasses; playing the blame game; fearing a future where the gulf between haves and have-nots continues to grow; being afraid of change; and harboring an entitled attitude of “let me get mine.” Combine those proclivities with full-blown social media whipping the masses into a fury, where outright falsehoods are routinely claimed as irrefutable fact, and you have a powder keg ready to blow. Not since the Civil War has America seen citizen poised so stridently against fellow citizen.

The road to unity – not the trite sound bite so many mindlessly invoke, but true unity as one America – can only start when people step back and take stock of why we are so “valiantly” demonizing each other.

And yes, while that begins with the president, it certainly does not end with him, for we’ve been on this path long before Donald Trump came onto the scene. Failure to see that we are all at fault will only accelerate our decline as the world’s beacon of light. Consider:

• Longtime friendships have completely dissolved over the election, replaced by total silence or acrimonious battling. That’s insane. And we’re not just talking about amorphous Facebook friends, but people with whom we grew up — colleagues, neighbors, family members. What political disagreement can possibly be worth that price?

• Constructive dialogue has been replaced with nonstop protests, bans and boycotts. But to what end? Sure, those things are our right to do. But that doesn’t make them the “right” thing to do.

So Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. Maybe they did it because sales were declining. Or because its leaders don’t like Donald Trump. So what? If you like Ivanka’s brand, buy it somewhere else. If you want to “punish” Nordstrom, don’t shop there. But why the furious push to boycott? Don’t we have bigger problems to solve than worrying about a billionaire’s daughter? Has it become standard practice to protest and boycott everyone with whom we disagree? Why can’t we just move on with our lives to make America even greater?

Nope. Instead, many Trump supporters are calling for more boycotts, including Coca-Cola and Budweiser because of “diversity” content in their Super Bowl ads. Time to get a life.

And then we have Under Armour models and spokesmen who took issue with the CEO’s statement that President Trump was a “real asset” for American business, leading to the CNN headline: “Under Armour tries to recover from Trump compliment.” Have we stooped so low that companies now have to “recover” from an innocuous comment? Since when do employees call the shots about what their boss can and cannot say?

Not to be outdone, anti-Trumpers felt compelled to burn their New Balance sneakers in a display of solidarity after an executive made a positive statement about the president. Let’s get this straight: Millions around the world have no shoes, but these protesters think it’s morally acceptable to burn shoes costing more than many families make in a year?

• Hillary Clinton called upon all Americans to respect the election results. Yet millions still refuse, setting the horrendous example to our children that we should only respect rules so long as they’re favorable to us.

No one is obligated to support the president, but as Americans, we should respect him and the office he holds – not shout obscenities and give him the middle finger. That is unacceptable. As is the action of the New England Patriots’ players refusing to attend the White House ceremony honoring the Super Bowl champs – because they don’t like Mr. Trump. Get over yourselves. He’s the president. Boycotting such an amazing opportunity shows their total lack of class.

• There is a movement to boycott and even cancel the annual White House Correspondents Dinner – a lighthearted affair dating back to 1921. To have such disregard for tradition, and to create animosity where there needn’t be, sets a horrible tone. How will children learn to interact together at school, play, work and on the ballfield when adults act so childishly? And that admonishment also applies to President Trump. He absolutely should attend.

• Our behavior has not been lost on our youth. They’ve become more emboldened to talk back to their elders and disrespect authority.

• And we are hearing talk about impeaching President Trump. So now, when we don’t like a president, we should call for impeachment, despite zero justification? Where did our common sense go, and why are we so hellbent on destroying ourselves and our children like this?

Our culture of disrespect is dividing us like never before. If our children are ever to have a peaceful and prosperous life, we must demand that civility and tolerance once again become the cornerstones of our society.

And that’s worth tweeting.

Unity Good, Division Bad

Trump Makes Missteps

Trump Makes Missteps

By Chris Freind Trump Makes Missteps

The heavy favorite sauntered in with a swagger that only comes from being on top. They had won the ultimate prize before, but this would be even better, as winning would shatter records and set new precedents. With the caliber of team the leader had assembled, victory seemed inevitable.

But a funny thing happened.

In a shock to the nation, the vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide – national champions riding a whopping 26-game winning streak – fell to underdog Clemson at the very end, a stinging loss that no one saw coming. Sound familiar?

Sure, there were some questionable calls that hurt the favorite in the razor-thin contest. But that’s part of the game, so no excuses. Bottom line: On the only day that mattered, the Clemson Tigers were better.

Many disappointed Tide fans are still scratching their heads, wondering how their destiny was ripped away. But none is crying foul, nor are any protesting the outcome, since Clemson won fair and square. Doing so would be the sour grapes behavior of spoiled brats.

So how is it then, that if we can accept the results of a sporting event, we still have people rejecting the legitimacy of President Trump? And why all the protest marches now? The time to protest Donald Trump was Nov. 8, so it remains unclear what these people are protesting.

Since it’s been an unusually eventful inaugural week, here are some of the more interesting developments:

1. We’ll start with the administration. Self-inflicted errors, exacerbated by ego and inexperience, got the Trump team off on the wrong foot. The administration, already at war with the media, began by admonishing the press for its “incorrect” reporting of the inauguration crowd size – despite tweeting a photo that just happened to be from President Obama’s 2009 inauguration. How that mistake was made, if it was a mistake at all, is incomprehensible.

The president’s spokesman berated the press for not reporting that the inauguration was the most attended in history. Despite facts showing it was not (comparative photos, ridership on the Metro, etc.), the administration doubled down, and looked more foolish by the minute. The icing on the cake was when another spokesman stated that their position was based on “alternative facts.”

Too bad they haven’t yet realized that living in an alternative universe isn’t the best way to get a new administration rolling.

Most important, who cares how many people attended the inauguration? It is absolutely meaningless. OK, so fewer people attended this one than the last. Does that somehow make President Trump less of a president? Does that delegitimize his win, or at least knock it down a few pegs?

Maybe some didn’t attend because of weather, or watched on their smartphones, or just didn’t feel like going. Who cares?

Those making it an issue are grasping at straws, attempting to undermine the president’s credibility. Newsflash: It won’t work. People are concerned about their health care, Social Security and jobs – not crowd size.

That said, when will the president learn? Mr. Trump will never be the most popular figure, nor the world’s richest man. But he needs to understand that what he does have – and indeed, who he now is – trumps everything else. Donald Trump, as president of the United States, is the most powerful man on earth. Given the Republican Congress, he is poised to effect more change than perhaps any leader in American history. It is time, once and for all, for him to rise above the pettiness by not acknowledging irrelevant issues that can derail him.

For President Trump to be successful, he must start acting, well … presidential. Instead of worrying about crowd sizes or “Saturday Night Live” or any other extraneous topics, the president should heed the words of Martin Sheen’s character in “The American President:” “You fight the fights that need fighting.”

2. Since when did President Obama become the yardstick for everything? From the number of votes to inauguration crowd sizes to the pace of cabinet confirmations, the media seems obsessed with comparing the two men. Why? They, and the political environment in which they governed, are apples and oranges. No offense to President Obama, but it’s time to look ahead, not back.

3. Speaking of not looking back, it is astounding how many Republicans continue to blame President Obama and Hillary Clinton for so many things. Three points: A) President Obama accomplished virtually nothing over the last six years because the Republicans dominated Congress; therefore, much of that GOP blame is misallocated; 2. Republicans justifiably criticized President Obama for his near-constant blaming of George W. Bush; it is hypocritical for them to now do the same; and 3. the past is just that: The past. It is time to forge ahead with bold new ideas to jumpstart America. Those mired in the past are doomed to repeat its mistakes.

And, while admittedly a generalization, the only people who seem angrier than the Clinton losers are the Trump winners. As victims of discriminatory, double-standard policies, many have justifiable reasons to feel that way. However, they must understand that arguing with logic and compassion will always trump anger and vindictiveness. If the country is to ever unify, all sides need to grasp that lesson.

4. The fact that 66 congressmen boycotted the inauguration, social media backlash caused entertainer Jennifer Holliday to withdraw from festivities, and vile comments were directed toward a 16-year-old girl over her decision to sing the National Anthem at the inauguration, illustrates why our society is so divisive. Shame on them and their horrendous message that boycotts, threats and insults, even toward the young and innocent, are acceptable when things don’t go your way.

5. And then we have the protests. To quote former Eagles running back Ricky Watters: “For who? For what?”

From the anti-capitalists who smashed their way into a Starbucks (no doubt to grab a smoked butterscotch latte to fuel their violence), to the Women’s March organizers, none has yet provided clarity on what they were protesting. And when liberal feminist commentator Cokie Roberts agrees with that point, you know it’s bad.

Was it to protest the election result? Sorry, but that ship sailed, especially since many more of them could have voted, but didn’t. Was it rebelling against the electoral college and Hillary winning the popular vote? Ditto. How about Donald Trump’s sexist and insulting comments? Yeah, that was hashed out over the last 18 months in that thing called a presidential campaign. So, what then? Was it to send Mr. Trump a message that woman cannot be ignored? Try again, since many women were unwelcome on the march because they were pro-life. Inclusive, the march was not. Or was it the stagnant economy? Gee, that’s great. Blame the guy who’s been on the job for one day.

The real reason for the protests is what this column has frequently discussed: Protesting has become America’s new pastime. The “coddled generation,” which has been raised to believe it’s entitled to everything, sprang into action because it felt “offended” that Trump won, facts be damned.

Bingo.

Sure, protesting is the people’s right. So is stupidity. When the two go hand in hand, the result isn’t pretty.

If America is to move forward, it’s time for the grown-ups – on both sides, starting with the president himself – to take charge. Because as Michael Douglas’ presidential character says, also in “The American President:” “We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them.”

Time to get cracking. Together.

Trump Makes Missteps

Harambe Death Was Necessary

Harambe Death Was Necessary

By Chris Freind Harambe Death Was Necessary

Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if we ever discuss the issues that actually matter, such as skyrocketing college tuition, a broken health care system and illegal immigration.

But we don’t. Instead, we get sucked into vitriolic national debates on preposterous issues (i.e.: transgender bathrooms).

In that regard, the latest firestorm dominating headlines is animal rights extremists going ape because a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo was killed in order to rescue a human being.

After a 4-year old boy fell into the primate enclosure, Harambe, a 17-year old, 450-pound male silverback gorilla, hovered over the toddler – at times appearing threatening – and dragged him like a rag doll through the water-filled moat. Zoo Director Thane Maynard, fearing for the boy’s life, ordered the special response team to shoot the animal.

This should have been a one-day story about the heroic efforts of zoo officials, the tragic loss of Harambe notwithstanding. But since “rationality” and “animal rights extremists” are mutually-exclusive, the airwaves have been filled with loudmouths throwing a monkey wrench into what should have been a celebration of common sense.

Since we can’t let the loudest voice win, here is a sober look at the situation:

1. Above all, innocent human life comes first. Always. Humans clawed their way to the top of the animal kingdom, and deserve first priority. Is it sad that Harambe died? Absolutely. Is it doubly tragic that Western lowland silverbacks are highly endangered in the wild, and there are relatively few in captivity? No question. But when you cut through the fur, Harambe is still an animal. And when human is pitted against animal, there are no points for second place.

Caveat: the key word is “innocent” human life. If an adult decides to be a moron and voluntarily jumps into an animal exhibit, all bets are off. Sure, efforts should be made to save him, but killing the animal should be off the table. Actions have consequences, and animals should not be penalized for someone’s idiocy.

In the same vein, too many animals, from alligators to bears to mountain lions, are hunted and killed after attacking a human in the wild. No healthy animal should be killed in its natural domain for behaving as nature intended. Again, actions have consequences, and if people want to swim and hike in areas known to harbor dangerous animals, they should be willing to take the risks – or stay home.

2. Many extremists are busy protesting the killing, creating online petitions and memorializing Harambe. But what’s not clear is what they’re actually protesting.

For those outraged that the gorilla was shot, here’s a simple question: if officials didn’t act quickly by shooting Harambe, what was the alternative?

Should they have sung Kumbaya with him in the hope that he would join them and forget about the child? Strike one.

How about sending a team in to distract Harambe? Sorry, but that didn’t work. Officials used special calls to successfully remove other gorillas from the exhibit. But Harambe, who was “clearly disoriented” and “acting erratically,” according to Director Maynard, didn’t respond. Any attempt by humans to approach Harambe could have, and likely would have, been perceived as a threat by the behemoth, who, as a reaction, could have deliberately or inadvertently hurt or killed the boy. Remember, this is an animal so immensely strong that it can crush a coconut with one hand. Strike two.

Then why not tranquilize him? Because, as primate experts pointed out, A) it would have taken time to take effect – time zoo officials didn’t have, and B) because Harambe was already stimulated, any tranquilizer likely would have made him more agitated. Combined with the screams of onlookers, some of whom were on the wall seemingly ready to jump into the exhibit, a tranquilized gorilla may well have lashed out violently, killing the boy. Strike three.

So the question stands: if shooting the gorilla was wrong, then what was the viable alternative? Anyone?

Admittedly, there is one more option that was not utilized: tasering the gorilla. Likely, the taser operator would have had to get uncomfortably close for an effective shot, and in doing so, would have jeopardized the boy’s safety. Nonetheless, that is a question that deserves an answer.

Bottom line: We would all be a lot better off protesting the things that truly matter, such as the senseless violence wreaking havoc in our cities (more than 40 shootings occurred in President Obama’s hometown of Chicago over the holiday weekend).

The justified killing of an animal to save an innocent child is protested, but the silence is deafening when countless young Americans die on our streets. Go figure.

3. The mother should not face criminal charges, as many are demanding. What parents haven’t lost momentary sight of their child, especially when caring for several children? Four-year olds are naturally curious, and have no fear climbing barriers. That’s called “being four.” Is the mother ultimately responsible? Yes. But having almost lost her son right before her eyes is punishment enough. Criminal charges would solve nothing.

By the same token, she should not sue. The barrier was reportedly up to code, and met safety guidelines of both the federal government and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The mother’s mistake – one which could happen to anyone – nonetheless occurred on her watch; therefore, the zoo, and by extension its patrons, should not be penalized because of an individual’s momentary lack of responsibility.

On a related note, several media publications have detailed the father’s criminal past (even though it appears he has turned his life around). That’s disgraceful, since it has absolutely no relevance to the situation. Dragging someone through the mud illustrates why the media is regarded with such disdain.

4. Extremists are criticizing the zoo for not having a second barrier between people and gorillas. But under that rationale, why not have three or four? And while we’re at it, let’s keep all animals at least 500 feet from zoo-goers. Of course, if that happens, people will no longer go to the zoo, forcing closures.

And that’s precisely their goal, as they believe zoos to be evil incarnate.

Of course, the extremists conveniently duck the fact that zoos keep animals healthy; conduct valuable, lifesaving research; and actively breed, keeping bloodlines alive. The last thing officials would want is for one their family members, especially an endangered gorilla and star attraction, to be harmed.

Every year, someone falls from a stadium’s upper deck, almost always the result of irresponsibility. In the aftermath, there is a deluge of nonstop coverage about how stadium officials will reevaluate their railings to make them “safer.” But that’s the wrong answer, as we shouldn’t be changing things that work solely because of a freak accident or acts of monumental stupidity.

It’s the same with the Cincinnati Zoo. Its officials acted responsibly in an extremely rare situation, and saved a human life, for which they should be commended. So without further delay, let’s end this ridiculous debate, reopen the exhibit, get another gorilla in there, and keep alive the wonderment of seeing animals up close and personal.

After all, this isn’t Planet of the Apes. At least not yet.

Harambe Death Was Necessary

They Did Not Fight For Political Correctness

They Did Not Fight For Political Correctness

By Chris Freind They Did Not Fight For Political Correctness

I’m the ‘enemy’ because I like to think, I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech, freedom of choice. I’m the kind of guy who would sit in a greasy restaurant and wonder, ‘Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?’ I want high cholesterol. I want to eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, OK? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in a non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green jello all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because maybe I feel the need to, OK?

– Denis Leary’s character in the movie ‘Demolition Man’

Another Memorial Day is here, and with it the requisite cookouts, flags, and all things red, white and blue. What’s not to love?

Two things, actually.

Not to rain on the parade, but why does it seem that fewer and fewer Americans (especially the younger generations) have even the slightest clue as to what they are supposed to be celebrating? To them, Memorial Day is solely about going to the shore and living it up, to the point where “Memorial Day” are just words associated with partying.

They shouldn’t be.

Here’s a refresher: Memorial Day is the special observance where we honor those who fought to achieve – and later preserve – the unique freedoms that have made America the envy of the world for 250 years.

But even more disturbing is that America has turned into a nanny state at every level, an ever-restrictive society where we are voluntarily allowing our rights to be eroded.

And that is a stinging slap in the face to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty. Translation: that’s not what people fought – and died – to protect.

Rather than embrace our pioneering heritage predicated on pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, with the innate understanding that we the people – not government – know best, we have morphed into a citizenry wholly accepting of being told what to do, and how and when to do it – or else. What’s not yet clear is if a majority agrees with nanny state orders, or if the silent masses oppose them, but are paralyzed to act due to complacency or fear of being labeled offensive, insensitive – or, God forbid, a Free Thinker.

Just look at where things stand:

• We can’t even get into our cars without being told what to do. Don’t buckle up, and you’re greeted with the non-stop beeping demanding you comply – or face insanity, as the alarm never stops. If you own a vehicle that doesn’t have a God complex, you still face significant fines if you choose not to wear your restraint. And ignorance isn’t an excuse, as we are threatened with punishment via multi-million dollar government-sponsored commercials – courtesy of the forgotten taxpayers.

Mandating seatbelts for children is one thing – they are too young to make an informed decision. Fine. But in the same way that not wearing a motorcycle helmet should be a rider’s choice, not buckling up should be the driver’s decision, as any adverse consequences will be limited to that person.

And no, we shouldn’t favor mandates under the false premise that they save on insurance premiums, as A) insurance companies can charge more for higher-risk behavior, and B) at the risk of appearing callous, unprotected driving leads to higher death rates, thereby reducing costly long-term medical care. Bottom line: adult drivers should be able to make their own decisions without Big Brother constantly looking over their shoulders.

• Helicopter parents have taken the nanny state mentality to a new level, corrupting our youth in the process. Instead of fostering an atmosphere of discovery, too many are hell-bent on hovering over their kids’ every action – and our children are losing their childhoods because of it.

The result? We have warped a generation, producing manic children conditioned to fear everything, from walking to the bus, to playing cops-and-robbers, to banning tag and kickball. Everything is so precisely orchestrated that creativity and curiosity has been erased, replaced with a structure so unnatural that social skills are nonexistent.

Worse, under the pretense of avoiding “hurt feelings,” nanny state coaches and league officials often don’t keep score, and standings are frequently taken off-line so as to not offend the lower-ranked teams. Instead, everyone gets a trophy because we have mandated a homogenous society, and individual achievement is all too often frowned upon.

Our attempt to whitewash all that is “bad and unfair” – things that often teach children about life – has produced a generation that naively floats through life believing everything must be guaranteed “safe,” labeling anything not to their liking “offensive.” The result? A sense of entitlement so warped that it may never be brought in line with reality.

• Banning smoking in public buildings is one thing. But when government bans people from engaging in a legal activity in private restaurants (if you don’t like the smoke, patronize another establishment) and in outdoor public places (Times Square, beaches, parks, etc.), it’s clear government is out of control. Many people don’t realize it, but these laws hurt everyone, because they are never rescinded, and almost always lead to more regulations – such as how many ounces of soda can be dispensed at restaurants. Once the nanny door is opened, it never shuts.

• Perhaps most unfathomable is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent edict that, should an employer or landlord not use preferred gender-neutral pronouns and titles – ze/hir instead of he/her, whatever that means – they can be fined $250,000. No, that’s not $250 bucks, but a quarter mil forked over to the city. Beyond the fact that this law absolutely incinerates freedom of speech, the practical aspects are sheer lunacy.

So if Caitlyn Jenner lives in the Big Apple, and someone addresses him/her with a non gender-neutral pronoun, they could be subject to a gargantuan fine, despite there being no way to verify what gender he/she is – and no way to know what identify is “preferred” on any given day. When is enough enough?

When did we go so astray of common sense? How did we devolve to such a low point that our national debates are about transgender bathrooms and “misgendering” people? What the hell is wrong with people who feel entitled to their “right” to do and say whatever they want – so long as it’s a one-way street?

Things have become so utterly exasperating that it’s all too easy to just give up. But in remembrance of those who battled for the “Land of the free and home of the brave,” we owe it to them to keep fighting the good fight so that the wings of liberty stop losing feathers.

They Did Not Fight For Political Correctness

Freind Bearish On The Donald

Freind Bearish On The Donald

Freind Bearish On The DonaldBy Chris Freind

In 2012, rank-and-file Republicans told party leaders, “Anyone but Romney.” Yet, to no one’s surprise, the hierarchy coronated Mitt Romney anyway, punting an election that should have been a slam-dunk.

The silver lining for 2016 was that, after four more years of President Obama, America seemed ready for a change. Even better for the GOP was that Hillary Clinton seemed certain to be the Democratic nominee.

Make the election a referendum on Hillary, and the White House would be theirs. After all, Hillary was unlikable, even within her own party (evidenced by her inability to put Bernie Sanders away); the consummate insider for a quarter century, she was the antithesis of the outsider whom voters were seeking; she was irrevocably linked to the president in a year many felt Obama-fatigued; and perhaps most damaging, she was the target of several investigations, facing possible indictment.

But then something unexpected happened: Donald Trump became the GOP nominee, and all bets were off. In an ironic twist, those in the Republican establishment became the ones pleading – “anyone but Trump” – but paybacks are hell. After years of ignoring their base, the party elites finally “got theirs.”

Intra-Party strife aside, the big question now is: “Does Trump have a path to victory?”

Consider:

1. The only person who could have shifted the referendum from Hillary to her opponent was Trump. And for good reason: despite Clinton’s high disapproval ratings, Trump’s are considerably worse. No candidate has insulted so many, so often, so offensively. And in the age of 24/7 news, those comments never go away.

The Clinton strategy is simple: Spend hundreds of millions to keep Trump’s negatives front-and-center. Combine that with the Democratic Party’s natural Electoral College advantage, and the path to a Trump victory, while possible, is extremely narrow.

2. National polls are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the Electoral College.

A winning candidate needs 270 votes. Hillary, as with any Democrat, starts off with a decisive advantage. Eighteen states are virtual “gimmes,” with Democrats having won every one over the last six elections, including the big prizes of California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. Add New England, Pennsylvania and the upper Midwest, and Clinton sits at 242. At that point, win Florida, and it’s over. But even if the Sunshine State rains on Clinton’s parade, there are many other combinations that would put her above the threshold.

For Republicans, the nation’s shifting demographics create a significant problem. Add the extremely controversial Trump to that electoral equation, and it gets even more difficult.

One of the constituencies Trump has most alienated is Hispanics, with a recent Gallup survey showing him with a staggering 77 point unfavorable rating. Trump is poised to lose them in record numbers. And that likely puts states with ever-increasing Hispanic populations out of reach, such as New Mexico (over 40 percent Hispanic), Nevada, Colorado, and even Florida (which, combined with Trump’s low-blow thrashing of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, could prove very difficult to win).

Of the small handful of states in play, Trump faces an uphill battle in many more than Clinton. And the more red states Trump must defend, such as Arizona, North Carolina, and even Nebraska, the less time he has to campaign in other must-win places.

3. The existence of white, working-class, “Reagan Democrats” that Trump’s campaign claims to be wooing is largely a myth. In reality, those people left the Democratic Party decades ago. The number of Democrats still in that demographic, including union members, are likely not large enough to carry the day in the crucial Rust Belt states Trump needs to win.

4. Much has been made about a new poll showing Trump and Hillary statistically tied in the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. Newsflash: The pollsters missed April Fool’s Day.

These polls are sheer lunacy, good only to reinforce the insane notions of those who believe Trump will garner 370 electoral votes in a landslide — the same “experts,” incidentally, who guaranteed a Romney landslide, including Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Dick Morris and George Will.

How is it possible for Trump to be tied when he is viewed unfavorably by two-thirds of Americans, and three-quarters of women? And how is it remotely plausible that Pennsylvania, which voted against non-offensive “nice” guys John McCain, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush (back when demographics were more favorable to the GOP), will do an about-face and vote Trump? Factor in that Philadelphia suburbanites will vote overwhelmingly for the first woman candidate (irrelevant of Trump), and one can plainly see that polls showing the Keystone State in play are utter fantasy.

5. Another dark cloud over Trump is the fractured GOP, with numerous leaders (all the Bushes, McCain, Romney) withholding their support.

Given that endorsements are the least transferrable commodity in politics, does any of that really matter?

Yes. Big time.

If even 3 percent of Ted Cruz supporters, and 3 percent of the Romney/Bush faction stay home, Trump cannot win, because there’s simply no way to make up that margin, no matter how many Independents he garners.

Think disgruntled Republicans will come around because “Hillary will be worse?” Think again. Millions stayed home four years ago, despite the-sky-will-fall predictions if Obama won a second term.

And let’s be honest: Is there really a single Democrat who voted for Obama the second time, who will now vote for Trump?

There seem to be just three paths for a Trump presidency:

Millions of Democrats stay home, despite knowing they could hand the White House to someone they see as the devil incarnate (very unlikely).

Bernie Sanders or Michael Bloomberg runs third party, splitting the Democratic vote (unlikely).

Hillary Clinton gets indicted (possible but increasingly unlikely).

He won’t do it, but for Donald Trump to possibly be successful, he needs to look in the mirror, blame himself for the obstacles he faces, and do a genuine mea culpa. Most tragic is that his negatives are entirely self-inflicted – and completely avoidable. But because of them, the Republican Party is on track to lose not just the election, but quite possibly control of Congress – not to mention a possible civil war within the GOP. And all because Donald Trump couldn’t respect the two issues that still matter most in American politics: Character and civility.

If that prediction holds true, the message to the Grand Old Party will be the same as the Ringling Brothers Circus: Will the last “elephant” to leave please turn out the lights?

Freind Bearish On The Donald

Donald Trump Defied Expectations

Donald Trump Defied Expectations

By Chris Freind Donald Trump Defied Expectations

It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings. So while Rosie O’Donnell – a favorite target of Donald Trump – would love nothing more than to belt out a tune signaling the end of Trump’s presidential run, it would be premature.

If we’ve learned nothing else during this cantankerous election season, The Donald knows how to defy expectations.

First, Trump was written off as simply a novelty, providing entertainment during the slow summer news cycle. Yet his poll numbers stated to climb. Then he was viewed – and dismissed – as a one-man reality TV act, sure to fade once the debates commenced. But his poll numbers continued climbing. In a “sure-fire” way to knock him out, he was labeled “bully” and “bigot” by his opponents and the media. And yet they went up some more.

Next, he was dubbed a spoiler for the “anointed” candidates. And his numbers increased again. Soon, his opponents were dropping like flies, and Donald Trump went from cocktail party joke to bona fide contender. And now, against all odds, he is indisputably something else: The Republican nominee for president. In his rise to the top, Trump neutralized – or was it neutered? – 16 opponents, and now stands tantalizingly close to winning the White House. Love him or hate him, he deserves credit for one thing — continually proving the “experts” wrong.

But accolades and party nominations don’t win general elections, especially when the baggage Trump carries is the highest of any candidate in history. Here’s a look at the real reasons behind Trump’s victory, and the obstacles he faces:

1. In winning millions of votes, Trump successfully tapped into a massive vein of discontent. But labeling Donald a brilliant political strategist, as some have, is going overboard.

There are three primary factors as to why Trump was effective: A. he told a disgruntled conservative base, in blunt, politically incorrect language, what it wanted to hear, B. he was the only candidate, past or present, to do so, and C. the competition was weak.

Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of Trump’s ascension is the unapologetic about-face executed by many conservatives. In point of fact, the GOP base, comprised mostly of conservative voters (conservative-labeled candidates have routinely won more than 70 percent of the primary vote this year), jettisoned its normal “purity” litmus test to support someone who talked the talk, but had absolutely no history of walking the walk.

For decades, the conservative wing held candidates to such stringent standards that a bipartisan vote cast 20 years prior on a meaningless bill was more than enough to disqualify the “offender,” earning him condemnation as a moderate.

Yet, due to voter anger, that all went out the window, with Trump earning an unprecedented free pass from conservatives, with many looking the other way on Trump’s personal life, insults, prior liberal positions, and his past support of Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. In fact, some of his supporters were so blindly loyal that when Trump inadvertently insulted them – “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters” – it was taken as a badge of honor.

In reality, Trump had virtually no “conservative credentials,” so the $64,000 question is whether he has “evolved” into a true conservative, or is simply an opportunist who utilized his TV skills to whip an angry GOP base into a frenzy. Time will tell, though if it’s any indication, Trump’s tack to the Left on numerous issues, including minimum wage and taxing the rich, is an ominous harbinger for true conservatives.

If his move to the center continues, will those who gave him the nomination feel betrayed – and abandon him? “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” may become the mantra of disaffected conservatives who took a chance on The Donald and got burned.

And let’s be honest about the other reason for Trump’s victory: He got lucky by competing in a very weak field (a problem for the GOP going back decades). Granted, it wasn’t easy winning the nomination, but if not Trump, then who? Who was the bona fide standout contender that could have carried the GOP mantle? There was none.

The lower tier, from Rick Santorum to Mike Huckabee to Jim Gilmore (wait … who?), ran to make a point. The next level had name recognition, but no base (Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie). Others ran to bolster their comedic resume (Rick Perry, Ben Carson).

And the “frontrunners?” Marco Rubio imploded, showing the country that with his lack of gravitas, he wasn’t ready for prime time. Jeb Bush, the establishment’s $100 million “sure bet,” saw his coronation go up in flames even before Trump got going. Ted Cruz was arguably the most unlikable candidate in modern political history (was he born with that scowl?). And John Kasich, who, despite standing the best chance of beating Hillary, was doomed by the perception of being a moderate in a conservative-dominated primary.

It was reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s 1992 primary when he found himself in hot water over the Gennifer Flowers affair. The pundits declared him dead, but who was capable of stepping up as a legitimate frontrunner? Paul Tsongas, an ex-senator from Massachusetts? (Fellow Bay Stater Michael Dukakis getting crushed four years earlier didn’t help). Crazy Californian Jerry Brown? Ex-Sen. Eugene McCarthy? Since none was viable, the charismatic Clinton, despite his difficulties, was a shoe-in because the competition was so weak.

Combine that with the fact that Trump dominated news coverage because of his bombastic style and insults (via an all-too-willing media), and excelled at throwing red meat to the base, and you had the recipe for the perfect political storm.

2. The two people most responsible for Trump’s ascendancy are former House Speaker John Boehner and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

For years, rank-and-file Republicans asked, begged and eventually demanded that their leaders do their job: Promote the GOP agenda. From tackling illegal immigration to passing a balanced budget to coming up with a viable alternative to Obamacare, the base had a reasonable expectation, especially with Republican majorities in Congress, that these issues would be addressed.

But they weren’t. Instead, lip service and impotence ruled the day.

The mounting perception was that Boehner and McConnell, as the consummate Beltway insiders, were conflict-averse, entirely too comfortable in their positions to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work. Instead, they endlessly complained about their conservative members, criticized without acting, and, worst of all, made “deals with the devil,” giving in to the president and Harry Reid without a fight, despite holding the cards.

The result? After years of saying “do something – or else,” the shoe finally dropped. The “or else” manifested itself as the establishment’s worst nightmare: Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee.

All of which places the fractured GOP in unprecedented territory, as numerous leaders have publicly stated their intention not to support Trump.

How ironic that those not willing to do anything for fear of losing an election, are now the same ones willing to throw away an election. Whether Trump can capitalize on that hypocrisy remains to be seen.

Donald Trump Defied Expectations

Sad Celebrities Get No Sympathy

Sad Celebrities Get No Sympathy

Sad Celebrities Get No SympathyBy Chris Freind

Given the huge implications of the recent presidential primaries, this column could easily have been about the newly shaped presidential race.

Instead, it’s about something more important: The need to call out arrogant celebrities whose sense of entitlement is perversely affecting our children. Rather than living up to their responsibility as role models, these “stars” are teaching all the wrong lessons about how we should conduct ourselves when things don’t go as planned.

And let’s be honest: in our 24/7 social media culture, people – especially kids – emulate pop culture icons substantially more than they do the president of the United States, sad as that may be.

Granted, it’s the nature of the business for celebrities to exhibit a certain level of conceit, born from big fan bases and the ever-present sycophants. But the level of pretentiousness is out of control. And that expectation of privilege, with accompanying tantrums, will only grow if we don’t stop excusing their reprehensible behavior. Since 99.9 percent of our children won’t have multi-million dollar paychecks on which to fall back when they storm out of a situation not to their liking, we better get ready to reap the whirlwind.
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Consider these recent gems:

–“Live” talk show host Kelly Ripa reportedly threw a fit and stormed out of the studio after discovering that co-host Michael Strahan would be departing to take a full-time position with Good Morning America. She left the show (for which she is paid $20 million annually) and was unable to be reached, leaving network execs scrambling to find replacements for the four days she was MIA. And why her diva antics? Ostensibly because she wasn’t informed of the Strahan decision earlier.

ABC’s reaction? A free pass, with a nice cover story that she was on a “previously-scheduled vacation.” Sure she was.

Outside of a few criticisms from anonymous sources (the height of cowardice), there was no pushback from the network. Instead, she’s back to work and continues to rake in the dough. Since she didn’t apologize, Ripa must think she did no wrong, and was fully entitled to act in such an unprofessional way.

Sure, Ripa has a fan base, and exudes some, albeit not much, charisma. But no one is irreplaceable, especially when the hardest job requirement is reading a monitor – for 20 mil, no less. The network’s coddling effectively condones Ripa’s prima donna attitude, making her actions seem not only justifiable, but admirable to many young people.

–Last month, Chicago White Sox player Adam LaRoche walked away from a guaranteed $13 million (for what amounts to a six-month work year) because the team simply asked that his 14-year old son Drake not spend so much time in the clubhouse. Not only was Drake with him (and the team) virtually every day, but he even had his own locker.

So because the organization (and some players) expressed concern that the locker room should be, first and foremost, for the privacy of the players, and was not always an appropriate place for a child, LaRoche decided to quit, walking out on his team in the process.

Sure, sharing part of a dream job with a family member is admirable, and many players do – now and then. But every day? LaRoche took advantage of a generous situation afforded him by team officials and fellow players, and exploited it past all bounds of common sense.

Far from carrying the mantle of “most committed parent,” LaRoche instead became the poster boy for the “you-offended-me, so-I’m-quitting” movement. He sent the message to every young ball player that if your coach (or leader, teacher, or parent) asks you to do something you don’t like, it’s OK to walk out on your teammates, friends, and family, with no regard for anything but your “hurt feelings.”

What’s next? Should an office worker be allowed to bring his child to work every day? And at what age? Eighteen months? Fourteen years? Newsflash: that’s why God made daycare and school. In the real world, such an action would never be considered by a rational person because of the sheer ludicrousness of it.

As a coddled celebrity, LaRoche obviously thought he was entitled to do as he pleased, and upon not getting his way, he quit like a petulant child. But what happens when people follow LaRoche’s example in a real world job, without the cushion of millions to make such a decision possible?

— Perhaps worst of all, we have Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. Just two months after signing a $36 million dollar contract (with $22 million guaranteed), he’s demanding a trade and telling the organization he won’t be attending the “voluntary” workout camps.

Why the outrage? Was he relegated to third string? Placed on the practice squad?

No. Much worse: The Eagles decided to select a quarterback in the NFL Draft.

Yep. That’s it. Despite assurances from the Eagles that he would, in fact, be their starting QB – and one would hope so, given the eyebrow-raising contract he was just given – Bradford threw a fit, causing needless disruption amongst his players.

Bradford is no Joe Montana, as evidenced by his underwhelming 7-7 performance last season. And his health has always been an issue, evidenced by this being the first spring since 2013 where he is able to practice at 100 percent. Bottom line: The Eagles made a sound business decision. (And since when is a little competition a bad thing?)

It didn’t matter to Sam that the Eagles are acting in the best interest of the team (and Sam) by preparing for all contingencies. Nor did it matter to Sam that his childish antics have been detrimental to team cohesion, with players wondering whether he will stay and be their leader, or is just buying time until he gets shipped off. Uncertainty leads to turmoil, which leads to toxicity. And toxicity always – always – kills any chance for a serious playoff run.

And just like that, the cautious optimism in the post-Chip Kelly era has been replaced by a wholly avoidable cancer. But instead of calling Bradford out for being a rich brat, and telling him to get his derriere in gear, the Eagles, unsurprisingly, are responding with fluff, and likely entertaining offers to trade him. And if that’s true, why sign him to such a lucrative contract in the first place?

All appeasement does is lower the bar for the next disgruntled mega-millionaire athlete to disregard contracts and jettison loyalty in favor of even more outrageous “it’s all about me” demands.

Pouting over things that are “unfair” (things that, incidentally, often teach children about life) is imbued in the young generation. They have been coddled by their parents so much that they don’t know how to fail. And since they haven’t learned how to fall, they can’t pick themselves up to try again. Instead, they are growing up in an artificial world of absolutes where everything must be to their liking – or they sulk away.

If we are to ever break the harmful cocoon into which we are placing our children, their role models must be called out when they act like privileged jackasses.

Otherwise, we might as well just punt because it will soon be game over.

Sad Celebrities Get No Sympathy

Andrew Jackson Defended

Andrew Jackson Defended

By Chris Freind Andrew Jackson Defended

Move over, Jerry Maguire.

When Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says, “Show me the money!” he means it. Literally.

Since changing who’s on our currency clearly ranks as one of today’s most pressing issues, Secretary Lew decided to boot President Andrew Jackson off the front of the $20 bill, replaced by Underground Railroad abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

So what prompted this move? And why now?

Let’s take a look:

1. Some will claim that race was the driving factor, with a former slave eclipsing a onetime slave owner.

If race entered into the equation, it shouldn’t have. Slavery was wrong, as we know. But do we condemn, for all of eternity, those who owned slaves – a common practice of that era? Do we disregard, and even whitewash from history, a person’s decent qualities and accomplishments, solely because of that?

If that’s the case, every monument to Thomas Jefferson – by far America’s biggest hypocrite on the slavery issue – has to go. The man who threatened to derail the Declaration of Independence if an anti-slavery clause wasn’t added was himself an avid slave owner. As a crusader against the practice – so long as he could keep his slaves – Jefferson is perhaps America’s most overrated “hero.”

But does that mean we should blast his face off Rushmore and dismantle the Jefferson Memorial? Should we close the University of Virginia, which he founded? Same for George Washington, who also owned slaves. And do we shutter the Ivy League’s Brown University, founded on profits from the slave trade?

Of course not. Hopefully, we are mature enough to discern mistakes from accomplishments, celebrating the significance of the latter while not endorsing the former.

Tubman trumping Jackson, while a bad idea for many reasons, has no place in the race debate.

2. President Jackson’s accomplishments – from defeating the British at the Battle of New Orleans, to founding the Democratic Party, to preserving the Union when South Carolina threatened succession – earned him a place on the $20 (perhaps the most widely viewed denomination, since it’s the predominant bill dispensed by ATMs). That honor should not be revoked, regardless of someone else’s accomplishments. One has nothing to do with the other.

3. In the same vein, Harriet Tubman’s courageous achievements obviously merit recognition. Fine. But do it in such a way that it doesn’t diminish a former president.

Build a monument in her honor. Construct a museum. Name a congressional wing. Or yes, place her on U.S. currency, but make it an original denomination, be it a newly minted coin or a $15 bill. But don’t denigrate her and that for which she fought – equality and fairness – by creating a controversy where there needn’t be one.

Both she and President Jackson deserve better.

4. Jackson’s fate was widely expected to be the same for Alexander Hamilton, who was slated to be wiped from the $10 bill. But credit for saving his portrait from the monetary dustbin is being given to – are you ready for this? – the Broadway play “Hamilton.”

Seriously?

It’s bad enough that the Treasury Department is meddling where it shouldn’t be, but to base a monumental decision – right or wrong – on a fleeting musical is crazy.

Secretary Lew certainly seems to have a lot of time on his hands.

5. At the risk of sounding conspiratorial, is it just coincidence that this news, heralding “women” and “diversity,” comes right as Hillary Clinton is about to be the first woman presidential nominee?

And the new bill design will be unveiled, to mammoth fanfare, in 2020, the year in which Mrs. Clinton may well be running for re-election. Another coincidence?

6. So long as we’re discussing fairness, how is it right to honor Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday – which he certainly deserves – by marginalizing George Washington and Abraham Lincoln? Sorry, but two of history’s – not just American history, but all of history’s – greatest figures each deserves his own special day. And while we’re at it, God spare us from the car and furniture companies’ “President’s Day” sale ads, which take desecration to a whole new level.

7. Perhaps most tragic is that so few care about this issue, especially the narcissistic millennials. Broad stroke of the brush, to be sure, but it’s nonetheless true that too many simply disregard our history with a cavalier shrug, despite the ease of learning that technology has provided. All the blood, sweat and tears that went into making America the greatest nation in world history is being whitewashed and forgotten, replaced by a gluttonous, I-don’t-care-about-that-stuff attitude. And that disdain doesn’t stop with history, as there is an equally glib antipathy toward such things as manners, correct grammar and common courtesy.

But so long as they can “like” the stupidest things imaginable on social media – while being incapable of holding a basic thirty-second human-to-human conversation — life is good.

Unless we cash in that attitude quickly and buy a dose of common sense, the problem will never be solved, no matter how many Harriet Tubman $20 bills we print.

And you can take that to the bank.

Andrew Jackson Defended

Donald Trump Open Letter

Donald Trump Open Letter

By Chris Freind Donald Trump Open Letter

Dear Mr. Trump:

From your business acumen to your sense of humor to your unprecedented ability to “tell it like it is” where others fear to tread, you are a man of many admirable qualities – qualities, not coincidentally, that are requirements for a successful president.

Which is why it’s so frustrating to watch you continue to implode – a feat entirely of your own making. Despite being firmly in the driver’s seat just a short time ago, controlling your destiny and potentially that of the nation’s, you now find yourself flailing, unable to regain your once-unstoppable momentum. Sure, you won your home state of New York, and will likely do well in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, but barring a miraculous finish, you’ll come up short, forcing a contested Republican convention.

Open convention or not, if you don’t get your head in the game quickly – assuming you truly want to win – not only will you be flushing your chances for the GOP nomination down the toilet, but with it, the hopes of many Americans.

And that’s unfortunate. Donald Trump will land on his feet, no matter what happens. But what about the millions who expended blood, sweat and tears fighting for you, and defending you when your antics were indefensible?

What will you say to those who, justifiably cynical for so long, had given up on representative government and succumbed to apathy? And yet, because of you, they found themselves daring to believe. They rediscovered hope.

How will you look them in the eye and tell them you tried your best when you refused to stop hurling insults and belittling all who oppose you, despite knowing that such behavior has been the major reason for your decline?

Given that your staff seems to be filled with “yes men,” and in spite of an apparent hearing problem that precludes you from listening to common sense, here are a few “Freindly” suggestions, on the eve of the crucially important Pennsylvania primary:

1. Stop whining. No one likes a chronic complainer, and to many (even some supporters), that’s exactly what you’ve become. Adding salt to the wound is that many of your outbursts are filled with considerable inconsistencies, which make you look eminently unpresidential.

Take the delegate situation. When you lose a state and/or its delegates, you typically engage in an insult-laden tirade (often on Twitter because you refuse to hold a press conference), whining about how you’re being cheated, and that the nomination is being stolen from you.

Yet when you win, as you gloat and call opponents third-grade names while telling the world that you have the nomination locked up, we hear none of those complaints. Which is it, Mr. Trump? Because it can’t be both. Granted, the primary system needs significant revision, but you should have known the rules of each state going in. You can’t pick and choose based on how well you perform in a particular state.

2. Be consistent. From the get-go, you had the resources to hire the best and brightest campaign strategists to navigate the labyrinth of rules, but given that Ted Cruz is outmaneuvering you, it’s clear you didn’t pull the trigger and put the proper team in place. Fine. That was a costly mistake, and there’s no such thing as a perfect campaign. Admit it, rectify it, and move on.

But blaming your delegate losses on a grand conspiracy by the party elites to defraud you is make-believe. The rules have not changed since you decided to run, so stop acting like they were. The fact that you got caught unprepared is no one’s fault but your own. Americans want humility in their leader, and will reward those with the ability to admit mistakes (as well as win, and lose, graciously). A dose of such humility would serve you well.

3. Take a lesson from the Boy Scouts: Be prepared. Every candidate makes gaffes on issues, and the American people will overlook them, so long as they’re about trade deal minutiae or the name of the president of Guyana. But stumbling on major issues, such as abortion and visas for skilled foreign workers, ostensibly because you were unprepared, is a killer. Right or wrong, the American people see those mistakes as the result of a cavalier approach to the issues. If you aren’t sure about an issue, saying the magic words, “I don’t know, but will do my homework,” works wonders.

Few expect (or want) their president to be an expert on every issue. But giving bush-league answers on issues that have been around for decades, and then taking multiple positions in rapid succession in a misguided attempt at damage-control is a recipe for disaster.

Learn the issues, and advocate with poise and grace, and you win hearts and minds. It’s late in the game for such advice, but heed it, because it will only get harder from here.

4. Stop playing the victim. The prevailing perception of Donald Trump right now is that of a nasty, mean-spirited bully who can dish it out like a champ, but can’t take an iota of criticism. Instead, he resorts to hurling insults, threatening lawsuits and boycotting people who have “offended” him.

Americans look at your ongoing feud with Fox’s Megyn Kelly and your refusal to participate in debates not to your liking as an ominous harbinger of a Trump administration. Will you walk out on China during trade negotiations because you don’t like a question they ask? Will you boycott media organizations that criticize you? Will we go to war because you refuse to employ diplomacy, tact and, God forbid, restraint when it’s warranted?

People won’t elect a president whom they view as unpresidential, and that will never change.

5. Finally, start spending your own money. Now. As this columnist wrote back in October: “Trump made a huge error by not spending $100 million on a nationwide ad campaign showing a kinder, gentler Donald Trump. Since he is the only one who could afford such a blitz, he could have defined the campaign, leaving his opponents powerless to respond. Incomprehensibly, he did the opposite, putting away his checkbook and accepting campaign contributions. In doing so, he lost his biggest trump card.”

No better time than the present, Mr. Trump.

The ultimate winner will be one who can appeal to a broad GOP constituency. Right now, that leaves you out in the cold. But if The Donald opens his wallet, stops hurling insults, demonstrates a firm grasp of the issues, and eats some humble pie by admitting his mistakes – all while being the only one on the national airwaves telling the Trump narrative – we could see the most exciting convention in history.

And who knows? You might turn out to be the best “Trump card” the Republican Party has had in a long time.

Donald Trump Open Letter

Selfish Bullies Cause Real Issues To Be Ignored

Selfish Bullies Cause Real Issues To Be Ignored

By Chris Freind Selfish Bullies Cause Real Issues To Be Ignored

Politics has always been a soiled business, but given the movements underway – both defending and pushing against laws governing which bathrooms transgender people can use – it’s gotten even messier.

So in an ode to the commode, let’s avoid a dirty scene and keep the bathroom debate clean.

It’s amazing that with so many problems facing Americans, from terrorist threats to astronomical college tuition, the dominant national debate recently has centered on which bathrooms adults can legally use.

Make no mistake: This won’t be relegated to an issue that will be flushed quickly from the headlines, but is in fact a steamy election debate that will lead to a judicial logjam as newly passed statutes – known as “religious freedom” laws – are dumped in the court’s lap. And given the Supreme Court’s current makeup, which side ends up in the outhouse remains to be seen.

While this may seem like a joke, it’s a debate that will result in serious legal precedents. The stakes are extremely high.

More than 30 states have passed or attempted to pass so-called religious freedom measures. These laws range from mandating that people use the bathroom corresponding to their biological gender, to allowing private business owners to refuse service on the basis of religious belief or moral conviction.

And they have come with a price. Big business, professional sports teams, Hollywood, rock stars and even other state governments have criticized them as discriminatory, with some pulling their business ventures from those states, and others threatening to do the same.

Like most issues, this one has devolved into the bowels of divisiveness because a small but vocal minority refuses to see that the law is rooted in common sense and safety, not bigotry. Instead of amicable dialog, many extremists are deliberately employing hateful rhetoric in the hopes of igniting a flashpoint, emboldened by the misguided support of well-known entities.

Those tactics are counterproductive, and serve only to divide, widening the gulf between those who have already shown themselves to be tolerant, from support for gay marriage to an ever-evolving “live and let live” philosophy.

But enough is enough.

Here’s a look at the broader context of the bathroom law, and why it is needed.

Critics cry that the bathroom law discriminates against transgender people, as well as anyone who “identifies” with their opposite biological sex.

First, a word about “discrimination.” Does the law discriminate? Of course! And it should, in just the same way that we “discriminate” – a dirty word in today’s society, but one that simply means “choose” – a thousand times a day. We discriminate about what clothes we wear, what toothbrush we buy, where we work, what car we drive, and what kind of latte we order. And yes, we discriminate, as we always have, about which bathrooms we allow each gender to use. It’s always worked before, so why the big controversy now?

Second, this law is, above all, about safety and security, especially for women. What parents in their right minds – Republican and Democrat, gay or straight – would feel comfortable sending their young daughter into the ladies’ bathroom where a man, acting on “feelings” alone, might be using the same facility? A father out with his 5-year old daughter can take her into the men’s room, but when she is 8 or 9, that doesn’t cut it. So what then? Will the father have to enter the women’s bathroom to keep a watchful eye on possible voyeurs, pedophiles, and other predators?

And what about locker rooms? While high school boys would love nothing more than legally accessing the girls’ locker room – after all, who can prove their feelings of “identity?” – it would create an environment of fear and anxiety in a place that should be private and secure. And while an assault or rape there would still be illegal, the liability that now exists should an entity willfully allow the opposite sex to access bathrooms and locker rooms would go out the window.

And how could such a regulation possibly work in the military? Or the workplace, for that matter? How can a woman who feels threatened by that creepy guy habitually inside the women’s bathroom file a sexual harassment lawsuit? Guess what? She can’t, because legally he would be entitled to be there.

But since extremists always push it way beyond common sense (and common decency) to prove a point and garner headlines, watch for them to do an end-run around these laws by lobbying for a third bathroom in public and private facilities. Crazy? Of course, but since the entitlement mentality sweeping America is in full swing – fueled by people’s silence in opposing such ludicrous political correctness – it will happen. If men and women can each have their own bathrooms, the transgendered community should be entitled to one, too, at taxpayer expense, no less! And let’s have another for bisexuals. And gay people. And pet lovers. And private bathrooms for those with a phobia of other people.

Is this debate for real?

Is this really why Bruce Springsteen won’t perform in North Carolina? This is why PayPal won’t locate there? Why some people think the NBA should never hold an all-star game in the Tar Heel state, or the NFL its Super Bowl? It’s too bad these people can’t discriminate between ignorance and common sense.

The beauty of America is the ability to choose. If those entities want to boycott North Carolina, so be it. That’s their right. But they would be wise to fear the much greater backlash that will occur when people see their blatant hypocrisy.

Is PayPal also going to “boycott” the millions of dollars its business generates from consumers in North Carolina? Will the NFL refuse to play its Super Bowl there – the same “morally conscious” league, by the way, that doles out stiffer penalties for steroid use (which affects no one except the user) than it does horrendous domestic assaults?

And Springsteen, self-proclaimed liberal man-of-the-people who derides the “disparity of wealth” in America (code-speak for taking money from those who work and giving it to those who don’t), conveniently doesn’t mention that he takes advantage of a New Jersey tax loophole allowing his 200 acres to be labeled “farmland.” What about the millions in property taxes he avoids that could help fund all those welfare programs? With a loophole like that, perhaps Bruce should be boycotting his home state instead.

No one is saying you can’t be transgender. No one is saying you can’t be transgender in public. All the North Carolina law says is that you must use the bathroom corresponding to your gender at birth (or currently are). That’s it. No bigotry. No hatred. No nonsense.

Just good old-fashioned common sense. If we used that a little more, we wouldn’t have such a mess.

Selfish Bullies Cause Real Issues To Be Ignored