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By Steve Hunley

The two campaigns drawing the biggest crowds as the presidential primaries approach are still Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.  The establishment in both parties is desperately trying to circle the wagons and figure out just what the heck is going on.  The answer is very simple: folks are just plain fed up, tired out, frustrated and mad.  Both Jeb Bush (once the unstoppable GOP nominee in waiting) and Hillary Clinton are nothing if not the establishment favorites of their respective parties.  Neither Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump conform to existing standards, which frankly appeals to a lot of folks.  Both Clinton and Jeb Bush know their ways around power and money and both have filled their campaign coffers generously from the well-heeled establishment in their own parties.  Jeb Bush just hasn’t excited anybody.  The same could be said of Hillary Clinton who doesn’t excite much of anybody outside of the establishment of the Democratic party.

Sanders and Trump both are generating a lot of excitement.  Sanders seems to appeal to those on the left who feel Barack Obama has been too conservative, not gone far enough in his agenda and has become too moderate.  Trump’s success certainly isn’t due to the far religious right, but more likely because he’s tapped into a rich vein of discontent, frustration and anger.

Take Trump’s recent visit to Knoxville; I watched the coverage of every local television station and read the Sentinel.  The only thing remotely resembling fair coverage came from WATE-TV.  The Sentinel slanted its coverage to highlight a few protesters and frankly the local news coverage is symptomatic of just why so many folks are mad and frustrated.  There’s plenty to be frustrated and mad about and the country is becoming more sharply polarized with each passing day.  You have Republicans who are more interested in people’s personal lives than they are about the economy.  You have Democrats who see no limit nor end to extending a taxpayer-provided living for merely producing offspring.  We have extremists on the left wanting to take away people’s wealth and spend it on what they believe to be fair, right and just – – – according to their own beliefs, while others on the right who are as devoted to corporate welfare as the left is to personal welfare.

What this leaves in the middle are those hard working folks who have only the number of children they can afford, who go to church on Sundays, buy milk and bread, and work hard to make ends meet and whose goal in life is to do the best they can.  Despite all the rhetoric on the far right and the far left, none of these candidates give a hoot about the middle class.  Despite the hatred for FOX News by most other media types, they ALL have a bias and point of view.  Not a single one of them are utterly objective.  The Sentinel and the local Chamber of Commerce is nothing more than the two-headed baby of the local establishment.  The difference is I put my viewpoint out there for all to see.  I’m not ever going to pretend I don’t have a point of view and as the publisher, The Focus has a point of view.

Donald Trump isn’t doing well because he’s saying outrageous things that appeal to Republicans; he’s doing well because there’s a huge number of people in this country fed up to the gills with the far left and far right telling us what we can do, how to live, what values to have, and what’s good for us.  Donald Trump doesn’t measure his words like an experienced politician and says things that make other politicians cringe – – – and a lot of other folks, too.  It seems like just about everybody in today’s society is looking to be offended by something, eager to be made uncomfortable by something so they can quickly take umbrage and howl about it to the heavens.  It seems Americans on the far left or the far right are more prolific in being offended than working or producing anything.  Americans have turned being offended into an art form that back in the day was merely considered being whiny.  It seems like every day somebody is launching a new social media campaign to decry some real or imagined slight.  People are ready and eager to light a match to highlight some new outrage or organize a boycott of something or the other.

The folks who complain the least aren’t the ultra liberals or the ultra rich; once again, it’s the folks in the middle who work for a living.  If folks think the people who made this country great in the first place are just going to roll over and play dead, they are sadly mistaken.  I can see a time when the old order is going to be swept out and a thing of the past and the people holding the broom may surprise a few folks.  Listening to the usual rhetoric, one would think the ultra conservatives have a monopoly on morals while the ultra liberals have a monopoly on compassion.  Neither is true and my own observation is extremists are about as useful to society as a lips on a chicken.

Now then, there’s likely something in this editorial to offend everybody except the vast majority of us in the middle.