Archived Story

Kicking the hornets’ nest

Published 1:42pm Saturday, September 8, 2012

Some people thoroughly look forward to the rush of adrenaline that comes right before doing something incredibly stupid, such as dropkicking a hornet’s nest just to see how riled up the hornets will get. For the rest of us, the seconds leading up to the moment of impact are filled with uncertainty and terror, enough so that we will typically try to avoid kicking it at all. I am not a thrill-seeker by nature and have no desire to see an angry swarm of hornets frantically search out the fool who kicked in their front door, especially when that fool is me. Sometimes, though, the nest just needs a good kicking.

I spent a fair amount of time watching the Democratic National Convention this past week, and I did so for a couple of reasons. First, I spent the previous week watching the Republican convention, and I really do try to hear both sides of the story. I’m pretty set on which party I think best represents my personal values, but I think many of us make the mistake of spending time only listening to those who affirm our personal beliefs and not enough time hearing those who would challenge them. I think we get more value out of listening to people tell us why they think we’re wrong than those who simply tell us why we are right.

Secondly, it’s impossible to have an intelligent debate on the issues if we don’t know the other side’s position. I can’t tell you why I think you’re wrong if I don’t even know what you think. And after three nights of listening to their speeches, I’m thoroughly prepared to tell you why I think the Democrats are wrong, at least on three key points.

First, it has become obvious to me that Democrats view an individual’s history of success and accomplishment as a strike to hold against them, not as a credential that qualifies one for higher office. Until the most recent presidential election, we would immediately disqualify a candidate if they lacked leadership experience in either the public or private sector. It would have been viewed as at least a minimum requirement to have been the governor of a state or chief executive officer of a successful corporation or the chairman of an organization as large as the Olympic committee. Today, someone with such proven experience is considered to be out of touch with the common man. Let me tell you, speaking as a common man, I don’t want someone who can truly identify with my situation to be President of the United States. I do want a president who cares about my situation, but I want someone truly exceptional, who has achieved success in almost every endeavor and can improve my situation, to be in charge. The stakes are too high and the issues are too complex for me to feel comfortable with Joe The Plumber at the helm. Give me the guy that has had to lay off a few people in his decades of experience running a successful business. Don’t give me the guy who has no experience running any sort of business at all.

Second, their assertion that it is time for the nation’s top wage earners to start paying their fair share of the tax burden is nothing short of class warfare. The facts are clear; the top 25 percent of wage earners in this country pay over 85 percent of the federal income tax. The top half pays over 95 percent. It is the people in these income ranges, are already burdened with footing the bill, who start businesses and create jobs and make payroll every week for their employees. It seems to me that before we tackle the tax code, we should have a serious discussion about what fair really means.

The third problem I have with what came out of the Democrat’s convention this week is the one that bothers me the most. As the lucky husband of a strong, smart, independent and successful woman and the father of an equally strong-willed, intelligent and capable daughter, I absolutely resent the claims made by Democrats that Republicans are opposed to women’s rights and their ability to earn fair wages or share in the same opportunities as men. I don’t know a single man, Republican or Democrat, who espouses that belief. In fact, I don’t know a single man, who would not fight tooth and nail in order for their daughters to be treated fairly, to be given equal opportunity, and to be paid according to the true worth of their work.

Women have struggled to earn equal pay for equal work. But that is the result of a workforce historically dominated by men, Republican and Democrat men, who until recent decades had not been asked to make room in the sandbox for their new female colleagues. Blaming Republicans for this discrimination, and therefore implying that Democrats didn’t participated in the construction of the glass ceiling, is not only a blatant misrepresentation, but also an obvious strategy employed to drive wedges for the sake of political gain. It is not just an unfortunate ethical lapse, but actually does further damage to the cause of equality in the workplace by leading young women to believe that there are obstacles in their way that do not actually exist.

We have pressing issues in this country that need solving today. Going on television for a week and telling everybody who will listen that they aren’t your fault isn’t a good first step towards getting it done.

I don’t delight in kicking the nest just for the sake of stirring up the hornets, although I suspect it won’t be long before I hear the sound of an angry swarm. But that’s okay. Because after a week of witnessing the Democrat’s national convention, I just felt like the nest needed to be given a good swift kick.

TONY CLARK is the general manager and advertising director at The Tidewater News. He can be reached at

  • Makalani

    RE: “… obvious strategy employed to drive wedges for the sake of political gain …”

    More partisan claptrap as if (Rs) are not guilty! LOL Abortion — a huge wedge issue — a mainstay of Republicanism!

    Speaking of “wedge issues and women’s equality ….”
    There were several paragraphs alluding to “the equality of women.” No sensible person would argue that women don’t deserve equality.

    But what could be more basic to women’s rights than the right to control their own bodies? The (D)(R) platforms are in stark contrast. But the (Rs) claim to the high-moral ground — “right-to-life” — makes their stance morally superior to the (Ds) “pro-choice” stance.

    (Rs)may champion women’s equality but women aren’t equal enough to make medical decisions about zygotes/fetuses inside their bodies. So mostly male (R) politicians pass laws circumventing/creating barriers to women’s access to a perfectly legal medical procedure.

    Never mind “the law of the land” as defined by the SCOTUS — as affirmed by Roe. V. Wade.

    As Barry Goldwater(R) candidate for Prez once said — “extremism in the pursuit of virtue is no vice!”

    Carry on!

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  • Makalani

    RE: “…The Democrats have taken the issue of whether or not abortion is actually and morally a murder and turned it into the imaginary “war on women”.

    Many pro-abortion (Ds) are not as concerned about the morality of abortion as much as they are concerned about getting elected/re-elected by pandering to one of their core constituencies — women — which includes many poor women!

    Conversely — many of the anti-abortion (Rs) are not as concerned about the morality of abortion as much as they are concerned about getting elected/re-elected by pandering to one of their core constituencies — religious nuts/so-called conservatives/the holier-than-thou crowd who want to impose their views on abortion on others!

    How can voters (D) or (R) differentiate between lying politicians who pander to and affirm their core beliefs as opposed to actually BELIEVING and LIVING the blather that they spout to garner votes? They can’t!

    But of course — if one is a diehard (R) or (D) — “their” candidate would never lie or pander to them just to get their vote! LOL

    Carry on!

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  • Makalani

    This piece may have started with a claim of “objectiveness” but the segue into shop-worn cliches and familiar anti-Democratic/President Obama rhetoric/blather soon belied that claim.

    The right-wing pundits on “hate”/talk radio and the Republican-leaning Faux/Fox news commentators who claim to be “fair and balanced” espoused some of the same assessments of the (D) convention noted above.

    Why should you or they claim “objectivity” when Ray Charles — who is deaf — blind and six feet under — can clearly see all parties referred to above lean Republican?

    Now for a genuine “objective assessment” of both conventions!
    1. Both conventions were filled with empty political promises by two lying politicians/candidates who will say almost anything to get elected.
    2. Other convincing liars embellished/burnished both candidates’ credentials to make theirs look good when compared to “the unqualified one!” LOL
    3. Still other charming liars from various walks-of-life espoused feel-good rhetoric — “smaltzy” personal anecdotes and assorted verbal garbage guaranteed to “warm the cockles/hearts” of both candidates’ partisans.
    4. There was enough hot air/empty political rhetoric coming out of both conventions to increase global warming by 15 degrees.

    AND a bonus assessment of both (D)(R) Presidents:
    Being disillusioned/disappointed/sickened by both (D)(R) Presidents — as a non-partisan/Independent — I don’t see one whit/scintilla of difference in (D)(R) Presidents once they assume power.
    1. Both as candidates promise to get deficit spending under control but as President — continue profligate — deficit spending while blaming the opposition party (with the exception of Bill “Slick Willie” Clinton).
    2. Both will go to war at the drop of a hat egged on by the generals/warmongers in the Pentagon who manufacture (Iraq WMD) or exaggerate threats (“domino theory” in S.E. Asia) to America’s “vital interests” (usually by/in some poor Third World country).
    3. Both direct their policies and energies toward their core constituencies /supporters:
    A. Republicans to whites — the “anti-entitlement” crowd — the rich and big business!
    B. Democrats to Blacks — other minorities — the poor — and those who receive “entitlements” (with the exception of govt. subsidized farmers).

    Both conventions were entertaining but the contents were/are to be taken with a grain of salt as are the contents of this article!

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  • dkh

    Well there goes the liberal media.

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  • employee2

    So very true, unfortunately, some voters only get their views from misleading, if not false political ads.

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  • independent

    All of your points are on target. Most successfulk people are paying in the very highest bracket and are unable to take advantage of any opportunities other than mortgage deductions. There are A HANDFUL of Gates, Buffets, or Romneys who only pay capital gains on interest income and I’m sure the taxes they pay could build a school or a hospital every year. There is no way to calculate the private contributions to charitable organizations made by individuals who recognize their blessings in life and give in their communities where they see the need. I don’t want government to tell me who needs my help even though I understand the safety net for those truly unable to care for themselves. But as someone said, we are guaranteed equal ooportunity, not equal outcome, and life will never be fair. There is no less efficient organization than the U. S. government and if the government would stick to building bridges and roads and schools rather than telling us how to live we would be better off today.
    Republican or Democrat, until we get inefficient spending under control, redistribution of wealth will not save us. Anyone meeting payroll has a completely different perspective on government than most. For the past 65 years government has created a very unlevel playing field by trying to decide who deserves what. Good ole supply and demand would take care of most issues without government interference. Through the centuries, people have risen up to make themselves heard.

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  • happycamper

    Thank you, Mr. Clark, for having the fortitude to kick that nest! Your comments are on target. There is a bit more I’d like to add to your points:

    1. Not only do the Democrats seem to think a candidate with experience is a liability, they continue this way of thinking into our every day lives. They seem to believe that any successful person is a devil who very likely came across his/her success illegally, or at least at the expense of others. It’s a form of “wealth envy” that permeates the Democratic platform. Recently, Mr. Obama, in his speech in Roanoke, took this envy to a new low.

    2. This wealth/success envy carries over into their position on taxation. Somehow, they feel that a successful person should carry much MORE than their “fair share” of the tax burden as laid out in the law. I’m with you. Let’s debate “fair”, then rebuild the entire tax code. Personally, I think the FairTax (a tax on consumption of goods and services with a prebate to all who are at or below the poverty level) is extremely fair.

    3. The Democrats have taken the issue of whether or not abortion is actually and morally a murder and turned it into the imaginary “war on women”. They seem to believe that if a person truly has a moral or religious stance that is firmly against abortion, then that person is against women. (Because they don’t think a woman has the right to decide whether or not murdering an unborn child is okay.)

    Keep up the good work. Maybe if enough people like you have the guts to speak the truth, the Wizard of Oz that is the Democrat Party will finally be revealed.

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  • Sinoptik

    I think both major parties are completely flat this year, they are so demonstrably polarized neither has the countries best intentions at heart, it’s all for the party and the power.

    The next four years will be pathetic, as you said the democrats eschewed taking any blame. They also made a mockery of a 2/3s decision. You must also admit though, that the republicans said nothing, lots of words, but no recognizable plan past claiming unobtainable end goals.

    I am also the father of a strong-willed, intelligent and capable daughter, but conversely, I am deeply concerned about the republican attitude towards women.

    In the spirit of fairness, I do challenge you to amend this article, which was devoid of many criticisms that could fairly be aimed at republicans, to add some of the stances of Gary Johnson, give him the once over as he is also on the ballot and you are a member of the media who is purporting to give information on this election.

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  • movingrightalong

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