Articles

A Few Words About America

September 11, 2019


Welcome back to the program. Vicki McKenna show, another break here on the program. I’ve been hearing a lot
since, basically, the Obamacare debate about various different organizations
that are out there looking to represent the interests of senior citizens,
particularly senior citizens with regard to retirement benefits, like Medicare,
Social Security, that are conservative alternatives to AARP. One of the ones that has gone kind of above and beyond some of the other groups out
there is an organization called AMAC – The Association of Mature American
Citizens, I think I’ve got it, I just call it AMAC. Bobby Charles is on the phone
with me, a spokesman for the organization to talk about it. A vigorously
conservative organization that actually makes sure there are members to lobby
individual congressional representatives as opposed to just, you know, raising
money, doing ads, and doing email campaigns. It’s good to have you on the
program. [Robert] Well, thank you very much Vicki. [Vicki] When you… when you say you’re
vigorously conservative as an organization what do you mean by
vigorously concerned, because you know there’s some other conservative
alternatives out there, but you guys you do tend to take it further? [Robert] Well,
I would say that AMAC really is the standout. They’ve got more than two
million members, and when they talk about being conservative… So, the reason
I’m working with them is that I worked in the Reagan White House and Reagan –
really, they always said Reagan was elected on six words. And those words
were strong defense, smaller government, lower taxes. Of course he had a great
moral compass and he also had a great self-deprecating sense of humor. And, so,
and then later I litigated for some years and clerked on the US Court of
Appeals for Reagan-appointee, and then and then I ended up on the Bush White House – Bush 41 – and later ended up working as the assistant secretary
for Colin Powell managing Iraq and Afghanistan issues and, eventually,
AMAC is sort of the next evolution in my thinking, because I think there are a lot
of organizations – AARP is one of them – that say, well, we represent older
Americans, and what do they do? They really have a twin agenda.
They do some things that are favorably disposed to things like
keeping Social Security solvent, but most of the time they’re off on a liberal
sort of, you know, a liberal direction, and what AMAC said is, look
there are some t hings in the world that really matter. Whether this country stays
solvent really matters. Whether the southern border stays secure really matters. A lot
of older Americans, over fifty, are veterans. I spent ten years as a Navy
Intelligence Officer. You know, my father and grandfather are buried at Arlington.
There is a strong disposition toward believing that defense of the country’s
sovereignty matters. In the generation that is, sort of – well, the generations
above fifty – a lot of them are also frankly, nine-out-of-ten over-f ifty still
have some affiliation with their faith. That’s not true in the lower age cohorts.
The lower down you go, the more people sort of separate themselves from faith.
And there are other issues. One of the things I find most interesting is
that older Americans tend to be very patriotic. So, what does that mean? It
boils down to advocating in Washington for the First Amendment, free speech,
freedom of worship, free exercise, that is, of religion, as well as association. The
Second Amendment, pretty straightforward, if you don’t have that one you don’t have any of the others. The Fourth Amendment, you know, which is, again,
you know protections against search and seizure, among other things. The Fifth, the
Sixth, the Ninth, the Tenth. And I think what happens is, Constitutional
Conservatives – we know what that means when we’re over the age of fifty. We have
a grounding in history. We know America is not a mistake, it’s not an accident. It
is the function of a lot of sacrifice and a lot of risk-taking. Some failures
and, ultimately, resilience and success. And this organization, AMAC, is really
about the idea of keeping those very fundamental aspects of being America, and
American, alive. So do they represent and argue for medical benefits? You bet they
do. Lower prescription prices, etc. But they also argue for fundamental
conservative thinking, which I think of as sort of all-American common sense.
[Vicki] I’ll tell you what, you’ve got people over the age of 50 who are
they’re saving room you can call me sir – Yes, sir… Yes, ma’am. – You can call me “sir,” that’s okay Bobby. My father used to
accidentally mistake me for my brother. – I apologize [laughter] [Vicki] But you’ve got people over the age of 50,
I’m 51, so Gen X. And we kind of look at what’s going on with the younger
generation and we say, what the hell? I mean, now, they’ve got various –
they’ve got Twitter, they’ve got whatever, in ways that they can organize
themselves and we really don’t. When you think of, sort of, mature Americans that –
we couldn’t necessarily say senior citizens, because that hearkens to
retirement age – it’s older Americans. It’s late
middle age and older Americans that we’re talking about here. How do you
organize the enthusiasm for first principles, as you were saying? How do you
organize enthusiasm for patriotism? And your an organi zation trying to do
just that? [Robert] Yeah, excellent question, and in fact, it’s an important question, because
the older you get – I mean, I’m 58. Actually, my mother’s 83 and she does
use social media, but most most folks in their 80s aren’t used to social media, so
how do you organize them? I think one of the most remarkable things is that there
is a hunger and Trump gets it, but a lot of people don’t get it.
There is a deep hunger for these core principles, the sort of natural law
principles that are embodied in our Bill of Rights, and the Democrats have largely
abandoned this fight. You know interestingly, this organization
organizes people in a sort of a simple local basis. Yes,
eventually they come to Washington and eventually they spend time talking to
members of Representatives, but they – at members of Congress – but they are also
in many ways, crystallizing what already exists. They’re putting the puzzle pieces
together and allowing older Americans to simply recognize in an interactive way,
everyday, with everything from – they’ve got a great magazine by the way, on top
of all the benefits, 40% off here and there, they have a quarterly magazine
that I also write for that I think is really spectacular, AMAC Advantage, but
they also have, you know, website, they have newsletters. They’re very
dedicated to whatever it takes to get to the American that still cares about
America, they’re going to get there. And I’ll just add a footnote by contrast. You
know, I write several columns a week, I write for Fox, I write for AMAC, and I just wrote one on this business about these two
congresswoman going over to Israel and just making a farce of their role, and I
argued – which i think is is quite accurate, having spent five years running
a committee on the hill – that there ought to be some kind of censure for the kind
of blatant anti-Semitism that they’re pushing. And yet, ironically enough, you
don’t hear any Democrats speaking up to say, yeah, we shouldn’t be doing that.
That’s really not – that’s not what we’re made of. And I think it
betrays something quite interesting and that is that this President, who of
course did stand up for Israel and has stood up for a lot of the early
principles as well as early allies and longtime allies, is slowly peeling off a
lot of the old Democrat coalition. He first went after the working class at
large, which Reagan did, incidentally, in the early 1980’s. He
completely realigned the Republican party so that blue-collar America lined
up behind him. I just saw a poll that says that twentypercent more Hispanics
favor Trump’s policies and would vote for him today, than voted for him in 2016,
and a similar number, twenty percent, in black America, and now you look at what
are the Democrats doing, they always tended to be the default for a lot of
the Jewish community in America for reasons that probably had to do with
social policy, but now they’ve kind of abandoned any defense of Israel and
who’s stepping into the gap, or the breach, and that’s the President. He’s
saying, look, we have our allies around the world and it may be Taiwan and it
may be Colombia and it may be Europe and it may be… it may be, you know, a
Scandinavian country or it may be Israel, and we’re gonna stand with our allies,
and we’re not going to back away from them, which is a return, very much, to the
Reagan-era thinking that there are core principles. And they
need to be defended. And they, if you don’t defend them, they don’t get passed
on to the next generation of leaders and they don’t get passed on to the next
generation generally. So… [Vicki] I’ll say this too… I also don’t see a lot of
just specific groups are out there and saying, we are for patriotism, we’re for
first principles, we are for classic American values – there’s different groups
and that’s great. You’ve got the NRA, you’ve got pro-life groups out there, you’ve got
these, you know, then they do their thing. But you don’t have someone just, kind of,
trying to coalesce all of these sort of basic American issues. Trump does
a very good job of telegraphing that. You know who doesn’t do a very good job of
taking that Telegraph and broadcasting it, and that is the
Republican Party. From time to time they get scared, so where do we go to sort of
coalesce our beliefs about first principles? This is one of the very few sort of holistic groups in that respect. [Robert] Yes, that’s right.
Well, I think what’s beautiful about this group is that they are what they say
they are and that leads – you know, authenticity goes an awful long way in a
world of plastic and mirror. And, I think one of the things this group is doing to coalesce is
they’re really, in a way – I’m trying to think of the right word for it – but it’s
like taking this diffused light and putting it through a magnifying glass
and illuminating certain, very specific issues and I think they’re giving
courage to others in the Republican Party and elsewhere, frankly, even conservative
Democrats. I think one of the things people forget, in working with
Ronald Reagan, they forget the kind of character he was and I saw it every day,
and I think one of the most remarkable things about him is that he was so clear in his
understanding of the core values of this country, almost like one of the founders,
that every time I watched him walk into a room, and speak, I really
thought that he thought that the people he was speaking to either already
understood the enormity, that the magnitude, the significance, the rightness
of what he was about to say, whether by the time he was done they would. And they
almost always did. And I think that if you approach things, as AMAC does, with
that sentiment, that notion that right is right and wrong is wrong and moral
relativism is wrong, then you’re going to bring people around you naturally.
They’re going to say what can I do to preserve that truth. You know, and
I’ll just say one last thing, and that is that truth is really what dialogue and
discussion and politics was always about at the founding. People didn’t criticize
each other for changing their minds, because they were in the pursuit of
truth. And that truth was embodied in the Bill of Rights and was made functional in
our Constitution. And if we walk away from that, we’ve walked away from the
very cornerstone of what this country is, and I truly hope – I truly wish – that every
generation, not just the AMAC generation, but every generation
understands that we are blessed beyond belief. This particular country is, in-fact, unique in the world. It is exceptional. We’ve gone to war twice
to save the world and, frankly, we’ve, in peripheral ways, dedicated our young men and women to that same purpose and I feel very proud every single day to wake up and work
with this group, AMAC, and I think most people would be to be members, and I
think most of us are to be American. [Vicki] You know, I think the idea of trying
to find a way to pass along the heritage of American exceptionalism – just
that on its own – is a noble and laudable cause, because I’m telling you, I
don’t know, when you have a – we in my generation, the boomer
generation as well, abandoned their kids to government schools, to indoctrination
process, and trusted that the government would somehow, you know, keep
the flame. An d then we woke up one day and it crept up on us, to be to be sure – I
remember Rush years ago called it Creeping Incrementalism – it crept up on
us one day and we said what the hell just happened? And now we have an entire
generation of young people – I just saw survey; 14% of them call
themselves Republicans, 23% of college students call themselves
independents, leaning-left, the rest of them call themselves progressives or
socialists, and that’s what we’ve- I don’t know how we let that happen,
but it’s good to fight back. [Robert] One way we reverse that is by being
courageous enough to boldly speak the truth and that’s true in our families
and communities. It’s true of those that have the courage to run for office.
I wrote a book last year, which I encourage anybody to get, it was written
in 2018 called “Eagles and Evergreens” and actually, if you do a five-year
membership to AMAC, you get a signed copy of it, but it’s a book about – took
ten years to write – it’s about the World War II veterans and their values and
how they pass them on in a small town in Maine, to me and my generation, which was,
sort of, two beyond them. And it’s the critical nature of this self-sacrifice
and selflessness. The risk-taking. The idea that it is okay to fail. Everyone
will not get a trophy, but you do better the next time, and
work harder the next time, with the lessons you’ve learned
this time, and it’s a book that is actually 45 stories – they’re real all
true stories – about all those things that make character in a way, growing up in a
small town and the values that actually remain timeless. I’d like to think a
thousand years from now most of the Bill of Rights and most of the values that
are taught – the best values that are taught today, and we’re taught to us by
that World War II generation, will remain values of significance. But they
only they only remain values of significance if we pass them down
intentionally and talk about them. As Reagan says, they’re not passed down
through the DNA. So, that’s what this group AMAC does and I’m very proud to
be working with them. [Vicki] And it also implicitly, does not take 50-plus for
granted like so many other political groups do. You know, we’ll just
pat the the senior citizens on the head and we’ll expect them, you know what
I mean, we’ll expect them to still vote for us. We won’t take their concerns
seriously either. But, again, it’s also not explicitly a group that is only saying
things that are relevant to people in my generation and above. So everyone should
check it out. If you haven’t already heard of the organization, I know Glenn
Beck is a big supporter of the organization, a lot of other people have –
I know Rush has talked about it. I just wanted to, you know, I haven’t
spent a lot of time talking about these these groups out there that are sort of
first principle groups. You know why? Because there aren’t that many of them,
so thanks. [Robert] No, AMAC is the – is leading the charge and thank you for doing what you’re doing. [Vicki] Thank you very much for coming on the program today, I appreciate it. Bobby Charles, on the show, I have to take a quick break, we’ll be back to wrap
this up in just a second.

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