By Dr. Jim Ferguson

We Tennesseans live in what is called a red state. You might find it interesting that the current color convention for politics was made popular by Tim Russet during the 2000 election cycle, and is obviously useful for television. Actually, blue has historically been more often associated with the Republican Party, and red more often with Democrats. The modern color scheme is merely a convention, and may only be important to identify certain areas of the country as unimportant and uninformed. Red states have often been referred to as “fly-over country” by politicos and “sophisticates” in the New York-Washington corridor and on the “Left Coast” (Los Angeles-San Francisco).

Tennessee is a conservative state and east Tennessee is perhaps the most conservative part of our state. By contrast, Oregon has a more liberal philosophy. A friend of mine traveled with us to Oregon to attend my daughter’s wedding. She asked a lady in the grocery if wine was sold there, and could it purchased on Sunday. The store lady said yes to the first question, but told my friend she’d never been asked the second. The store lady kindly reminded my friend that she was in Portland, Oregon and could even purchase marijuana legally.

My daughter, Emily, and I were were walking one afternoon prior to the wedding and she asked me, “What’s the deal with this Trump fellow, Dad?” Maybe she thought that since I’m a conservative I’d be a Trump supporter. On the other hand she knows that I keep up with current events, daily reading multiple newspapers and online news services, as well as watching cable news and listening to several talk radio sites. Actually, I had never heard Mr. Trump articulate social, economic, religious or national conservative perspectives prior to bursting upon the political scene.

Personally, I don’t find Trump very presidential at this moment, but we’ve had seven years of someone who can read a teleprompter and who promotes liberal-progressive policies that I believe are destructive to our country. Trump is like the valve on a pressure cooker. He is voicing the discontent of the majority who are being ruled by a minority of radicals. Trump may not last, but I believe he has done our nation a great service by voicing the anger of the country. We wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration, which some have labeled as an invasion, without Trump. And because Trump is fabulously wealthy, he can’t be bought by the usual lobbyists, money-PACs and politically correct bullies.

Bullying is a term most often used these days to describe inappropriate behavior of kids and teenagers. It is defined as the “use of force, threat or coercion to intimidate, dominate or abuse others.” An important component of bullying is the perception that there exists an “imbalance of social or physical power.”

I remember having to deal with two bullies when I was a kid. It was tough, but bullies must be faced, and I finally mustered the courage to defend myself just like Ralphie in the movie classic A Christmas Story. On our last day at Tyson Junior High School, my best friend asked me to accompany him to the boy’s bathroom. Guys don’t ordinarily ask other guys to go with them to the can, but my friend had apparently been unable to deal with the tough guys in our middle school. As a result, he had never seen the inside of the boy’s restroom in our three years there.

Fast forward to adulthood and ask yourself if the IRS qualifies as a bully. George Washington once said, “A free and independent people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which could include their own government.” Was he referring to our second amendment rights or was he encouraging people to be informed and get involved?

I maintain that bullies exist everywhere, even in adulthood. The two Black Lives Matter activists who took over Bernie Sanders’ political rally and prevented the other 2000 attendees from hearing the Senator speak are bullies. I may not agree politically with Bernie, the self-described socialist, but he should not be bullied into silence, nor should other Democrat presidential candidates, like Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton, be bullied and forced to recant their comments that “All lives matter.” The politically correct thought-police are certainly bullies.

It has been asked, “Are we losing the country?” Obama promised to transform America, and he’s doing so with an imperial presidency and a bullied Congress. In 2010 Republicans recaptured the House of Representatives, but nothing was done to stop the transformation that the majority of Americans do not want. In 2014 the Senate was handed back to the Republicans by the voters and nothing has been done to stop the Democrats and Obama. Actually, the Republican leadership is so focused on recapturing the Whitehouse they have surrendered to politically correct minority bullies and the media.

Illegal immigration is the “tectonic” fault line of our time. As I see it, the majority of Americans are on one side of the issue and believe if we have no borders and do not enforce our laws we have no country. The Democrats who want new voters and the Chamber of Commerce crowd who want cheap labor at any cost are on the other side. Remember, we are a country of immigrants; the issue is illegal immigration without assimilation. Vast numbers of immigrants came to America legally in the late 1800s and early 1900s. If you’ve never toured Ellis Island in New York you should do so and learn. Did you know that America drastically curtailed legal immigration between 1924 and the 1960s in an effort to maintain the ethnic balance of immigrants coming to America and to allow their assimilation as citizens? Again, the issue is illegal immigration and Trump has made everyone address the broken, corrupt system.

I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to come here for a better life and to become an American, just as my Burundi friends have done so legally. I believe we should help those who are suffering and metaphorically drowning in poverty. However, I learned in the Boy Scouts that I can’t just jump in to save a foundering person.

Yes, we are called to help, it’s called agape or sacrificial love in Greek. However, who is helped if we allow America to be destroyed by an invading mob?