Understanding America at the tipping point

Fox News Channel’s CEO Roger Ailes said some interesting things when he was interviewed recently by Peter Robinson of National Review and the Hoover Institute.

The Internet and twenty-four hour cable news has put us in continual flood stage when it comes to information. Important news and thoughtful commentary are readily available all the time on almost every topic imaginable. What we still seem to lack, unfortunately, is wise and effective leaders who can take advantage of this new information era.

Roger Ailes has become a historic figure by building the most successful cable news operation ever. He credits his success with understanding America:

“People say we’re a center-right nation. There is some truth to that. In the end, there are simple things that the American people believe in. It is the reason John Wayne is still one of the top five movie stars of all time. He has been dead for 40 years. You always knew about him. Do not touch my woman. Do not steal my horse. Do not ever draw a gun on me. Otherwise we are going to get along fine.

Americans are simple, but not simpletons. They are very smart. They love their family. They love their flag. They think schools have gone off the edge and killed American history, and they have. They think they ought to get to keep some of their own money. I mean, it is pretty simple stuff.”

Unfortunately too few of our Republican elected officials know what to do about the well-organized and politically powerful interest groups that drive policy in exactly the opposite direction. The taxeaters are effective in the arena – driving campaign contributions and grassroots troops onto the battlefield. However, when the pressure is on, even right-thinking Republicans fail to mount the counter-force necessary to defeat the political left.

Robinson asked Ailes about when he might retire – here is their exchange:

Roger Ailes: There are too many people who want me to retire. If it were only me, I would probably do it. I believe we are in the most difficult tipping point probably in our history.

Peter Robinson: You do?

Roger Ailes: Oh absolutely. We have to go back to understanding that we are Americans. The people, multiculturalism, diversity, and all those things are very good; but they do not trump the one word that should be taught in schools, unity. People came to this country from different countries, and backgrounds, and races to be Americans. We are American African. We are American Jewish. We are American Irish. We are American something, but we are Americans.

We have got to go back to that culture. We have got to teach it in our schools. We have got to understand it. We are making a difference in the world. The world looks to us to be strong. They look to us to be financially strong and militarily strong. In the end we are fair. Ultimately, we are the only guys who show up when there is trouble. Look at Haiti. That should have been a UN problem.

Peter Robinson: You cannot walk away from the mix of it?

Roger Ailes: I cannot walk away until I think that enough people understand how valuable and how important being an American is. That is a responsibility.

The good news is that more conservatives are getting off of the couch and getting into the battle. All available hands will be needed to stiffen the spines of those we elect so they’ll accomplish the enormous job ahead. It is a responsibility – it always was – and always will be.

©2010 John Francis Biver