tv Book Discussion on In the Arena CSPAN May 28, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
because aa little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and i feel i am learning about this, but i am troubled by it, and i would likei would like to know more what we can do comeau what you think all of us can do about these things rather than just increase our knowledge. >> let me respond to that. in a democracy it is the responsibility of the citizens to speak out when the government is breaking the law, doing things in their name that are not right. and so one thing, our government is -- certainly the congress is quite dysfunctional. they respond to pressure from their constituents which means that it is incumbent upon us to contact their representatives in any way we can, by e-mail, by letters, sitting in offices, by demonstrating and telling them that we do not approve of this program that is
continuing in our name. that means writing up ads in the newspaper. writing letters to the editor. those are not difficult to get published. he begged them to a particular new story or editorial. they count the number of letters from a particular perspective and will publish letters from that perspective. so it means demonstrating, first amendment protected activity, going to the drone base and protesting in upstate new york, going -- i know it is not convenient, but if you have the opportunity going to the air force base where the drones take off, working in any way that you can organizing and pressuring the government. that is the only way.
>> i think that is a wonderful question and comment to end our discussion because again, before i read this book -- i mean, i had gotten another book on drones. there are drones and things going on out there, someone else is doing it. it does not affect me. but then when you say,say, what is going on with these drones, what is happening? what is being done in our name? and then you see how horrible, as was said in the 1st chapter, these are a dark new weapon of war,, you know, a dark weapon, and we really need to realize this, how dark these things are. thank you so much for coming , and thank you for your questions and comments.
i do hope you will get this book. we have copies that you can buy. please fill out the evaluation form and say what you thought about this thing because, asbecause, as i said, this will strengthen the festival of the books. please lineup, if you want to get your book autographed thank you. [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> every year online bookseller amazon puts out a lista list of the 20 most well read cities across the us based off of sales data of purchased books,
magazines, and newspapers. seattle, washington tops off the list, home of amazon's corporate headquarters. portland, oregon comes portland, oregon comes in 2nd followed by the nations capital in 3rd place. san francisco and austin, texas round out the top five most well read cities. the list goes on with las vegas, tucson, denver, albuquerque, new mexico, and baltimore's number 11. to find out which other cities made the top 20 list click for the article on business wire .com. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> good morning, welcome to the heritage foundation. we,. we, of course, welcome those who welcome -- who join us on our website. for those guests in-house, we ask that last courtesy check that cell phones another noisemaking devices have been muted as a courtesy to our speaker. our internet viewers are welcome to send comments or questions simply e-mailing. of course, we will post the program on the heritage homepage for everyone's future reference. posting our event is doctored james j carafano. he is also our ew richardson fellow, graduate of west point and a veteran of the army and has served as a
visiting professor at the national defense university. he serves on the board of trustees at the marine corps university foundation and advisory boards for the west point center of oral history, hamilton society, and operation renewed hope. [applause] >> well, thank you for coming to what should be an extraordinary event. not only a great friend, but he defines the definition of a great american, graduate of princeton and harvard, but we won't hold that against him. he served in the u.s. army. right? another mark in his favor. three combat tours, right? >> three chores. >> three chores. extraordinary career in the public sphere including now working with fox news.
so having put his life on the line, i'm not really sure what possessed him to write this, but in the arena as courageous, dangerous, and politically incorrect, write a book about who we are and who we should be just seem something quaint and old-fashioned and distasteful to address anymore, but for those of us who have walked around the island and the potomac and walked by the roosevelt statue and seeing some of that close and remember not just his legacy but the legacy of those who think this does matter, maybe there is not a better time for this book and certainly i applaud petei applaud pete for taking it on and coming here today to share his thoughts. pete is going to talk, and then we will take you and i -- q&a. when we get to q&a, if you
would wait for the microphone so that folks that are listening online can here the question as well and state your name and affiliation, that will be awesome. sometimes we start late here , but we always end on time. please join me in welcoming the author of in the arena. -- "in the arena". [applause] >> well, thank you very much. i am grateful for this opportunity. you got the book early, reddit, engaged with it, offered to host. this feels like a family reunion basically. i think all of you for being here. so many wonderful faces, people i have known and worked with. folks online, thank you for sticking with us. my former colleagues make up a big bulk of the audience.
i am grateful that you are here. i wrote this book from four to 8:00 a.m. many mornings while running cba. it was what we did that was an inspiration for me and i think you will find that it is a call to action that is exactly the call to action that is the organization. it is a pleasure to work with you. i appreciate the work you do even my brother in the front row. i want to thank all of you. of course, kate palm right, also inspiration for me to write this book. she told me, you have got to write it,it, you need to write it. thank you for being here. i also want to thank my good college buddy who is here
and is acknowledged as well in the book. this book would not have happened without him teaching me how to think and write in argue in college and pulling me back from the brink of some absurd things i put in the pages of publications. content editor, and for good reason. thank you for your help on this project. and then so many others that are out here, my wife, our boys who i dedicate thisi dedicate this book two. yes. i always get laughs out of that. good southern names. my parents. my brother, a man in the arena one himself and i always want to recognize a good friend of mine, fellow traveler of vets for freedom and author himself. to the book itself, i carried with me a quote in a black frame, a durable black frame. teddy roosevelt's man in the arena".
it is not the critic who counts but the man who is in the arena his face is marred by blood and sweat and dust who strives valiantly, errors and comes up short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming but who does strive to do the deed, knows great enthusiasm, devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause, if he fails fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who no neither victory nor defeat. it is a famous quotation. this book aims to ask those questions. this book is not about my life. i am not audacious enough to believe i should be writing a biography at the age of 35. i am not a state senator from illinois. [laughter]
this book is also not about teddy roosevelt. it channels his historic speech, but it is not about him. i am aware of his progressive lurch and what he gave us in 1912 in his candidacy and the presidency of woodrow wilson.wilson. to say that he failed while daring greatly is generous. this book is not about me or roosevelt or litigating where he is on the political spectrum. it is a call to action and is meant to inspire, motivate, and remind americans of every generation. and some of us carried a rifle and many still do, you do not have to. it is our job to instill the principles that perpetuate what is an experiment in human freedom. you see, if the 21st century is not an american century, than the 21st
century will not be a free century. there are threats loaned them ideologies something up in the book is the phrase history is not over. all we have to do is look to western europe today to realize that when you decide to get your military to pay for your welfare state and you forget who you are you have a tendency to end up writing the way of history as opposed to shaping it. the guy who charged up san juan hill in 1898, simply great white fleet around the world, and you really was a chief agitator woodrow wilson declared peace without victory which would be quite difficult and be a difficult piece.
in many ways it was a century on the back of teddy roosevelt. why then, as i think about it, when i read the entire speech, that is when i woke up to the power of the quote. it is powerful. motivating. in some ways there is no value assertion. what is the arena? what does it mean? it is not yours or mine or you do you. there isthere is the arena for this exceptional american experiment gifted us 240 years ago and has to be perpetuated. we all know the quote, never more than one generation away from extinction.
a stark reminder and the more difficult reality of daily basis. just one of the larger speech. roosevelt gave it in 1910 in front of 3,000 french elites at the university of paris and sorbonne. when i read the speech for the 1st time after looking and never really thinking of the context, i was blown away. it is on pc before there was pc. it struck me as the roadmap of what we need in america today in order to restore the republic. why should we stand up and declare what i think the direction of america should be when instead i can channel a fantastic speech, historic speech that has timeless resonance today and reminds us of the very ingredients of republics required in every generation of matter what weather we have twitter or facebook or any other number of modern
developments, the ingredients, the basic seeds of the republic of the same. the average citizen must be a good citizen is great republics are to succeed. good citizens in a gritty, personal way and understand what it takes to keep and make america the greatest country in the world. good citizens are the only antidote to big government. as history shows us, good citizens who understand why america is exceptional and special our american
experiment truly is exceptional. not because we are proud of boastful but because we understand this american experiment when it was started was just that. europe laughed at us and said a piece of paper, constitution is what is going to stand between you and a tyrant? you are going to hand over power peacefully? there is a sense that it just wasn't powerful. our founders remind us that our rights come from a creator and not a government checking the tendency toward tyranny and ambition, understood freedom of religion as opposed to freedom from religion, understood amendments like the 1st and 2nd are indispensable the free peoples, the ability to articulate speech and ideas across the spectrum which roosevelt talks about powerfully. the second amendment to the right to bear arms and protect yourself and
understand that we are country of laws, not men. the men were angels, were angels, we would not need these type of arrangements. we talk about good citizens in good patriots. that is the breakdown of the book, and it is intentionally in that order because i talk a lot about foreign-policy in the military and national security. you cannot talk about american leadership until you talk about restoring and maintaining citizenship. if you do not understand what you are and who you believe that you can forget about attempting to be the leader in the world or attempting to project power in controversial and difficult places. need to shore up, you might say, the homefront 1st. not just voting for jury duty, not protesting necessarily. those are ingredients of what we do. of course all those things are good points out it is
the gritty, homely virtues, he uses the word efficient which is usually what we think about with lightbulbs and starting pitchers. his view is 1st and word. he uses the 1st principle is work, earnedwork, earned success, and willingness to keep her job and provide for your family. fight, strong and zero people, masculine spirit for men and women, strength, vigor, and power. we are awe are a bike helmet culture when we should be thinking about the barbarism of female subjugation in the middle east. we teach our kids to be wimps. we turnwimps. we turn our men into women and their women into men. we need to be willing to fight. the 3rd ingredient is large, patriotic families.
roosevelt wrote a lot about demographics. the anecdote i use often is of an afghan interpreter i spent time with afghanistan, not a radical young kid, in the united states today. he would risk his life for me and i for him command we were talking about faith, religion, christianity, islam, it is inevitable that islam will rule the world, the prophet foretold it.it. we are having ten kids, and you are having one. there was powerful poignant and that phrase. when you look at western europe, i mentioned that they are getting their militaries to pay for their welfare state, you forget who you are and don't demand allegiance and assimilation from populations that separate themselves and then have ten kids what you are having one, that is how london -- the most popular name in london becomes mohammed for newborn boys, and for us to think that things like that just goes
away his willful blindness. so western europe will look different, and that is not an anti- muslim phrase, it is aa reality that because they don't do integration, have not done that well, not the melting pot, there going to have massive cultural clashes as we have already seen, things like the migrant crisis only accelerate the problems we see, as many of you know europe is a preview. the 2nd chapter of the book is about france and all we can learn from france that was a formerly great republic that decided to give away at status by making intentional decisions at home, and america can learn from that. we have massive advantages, but it still a lot to learn. the aspect you can put 1st his character, whether it is faith believing in something greater than yourself,
george washington said religion and morality are indispensable supports were public. without faith and then wonder why we get what we get in our culture. i'm not talking about social conservatism. i am a social conservative conservative in many ways, both former ardent social conservative, you go to war, learned some things, see some see some things and realize there are other things in my mind that are more important priority. i'm not talking about pro-life issues. i think we have says over things like same-sex marriage, and it inhibits our ability to talk about the real challenges facing families, the real challenges facing parents and kids. then he talks about after you focus on yourself looking outward and equal opportunity which should be the lone star conservatives and republicans, the party
of equal outcome. if we are not the strident -- we don't strive daily to be the party of equal opportunity, then we will miss the mark, and it is fair to say republicans and conservatives have missed the mark for a long time talking about things like marginal tax rates of people's mindsets are different than they are seeing massive shifts in the economy and the way lives are lived all we have to be clear eyed meaning not just unburdening regulations and problems are pushing back against dependency for those at the bottom the making sure those of the top play by the same rules. the regulations, the tax code, the lobbyists the rig the system so that those of the top are able to game it to their advantage and in many ways block out those who would otherwise have social mobility. left talks about income inequality all the time.
we should talk about his social mobility, the ability to rise, the ability to have every opportunity that your parents or others had. you have to start with citizenship. he talks about what undercuts good citizens, and it is a citizenry focused on rights instead of duties, a citizenry the bluesman is perfected are perfectible and therefore you learn through utopia and utopian ideas, citizenship invested in moral relativism, there is no right or wrong. take something like the abu ghraib prison scandal which was terrible, but there is no reason why the new york times had to put it on the front page 32 straight days in a row. there is no home team in america. it is passé to say that america is good for passé to say that i am an american and therefore support the causes we undertake, even if they are difficult ones and
in many ways often controversial and open to dissent. and the 4th is class warfare. roosevelt talks about, he said the end of the republic is at hand in class warfare commences which is what we have seen in many ways. we have seen classes and genders pitted against each other which is toxic to the body politic and to citizenship. we start with citizenship because without citizenship you cannot create the good patriots or bewill be the good patriots on the world stage that you need to be. you guys have all seen -- i don't know if you have seen the bumper sticker think globally act locally. it is a popular environmental bumper sticker, and i think roosevelt would rip that often say think locally act globally. meaning remember who you are
and be willing to act globally in defense of those principles which are indispensable, america is good, worth fightinggood, worth fighting for, truly exceptional and has been a force for good in the world. and by the way, warning the wars we fight is a good thing. he talks about that in the speech. it sounds like a basic, simple question, but there are critical moments in the right in the book, the surge , and i see people hear , the line of freedom and tyranny is often decided is difficult moments when half the country or a lot of people want to take a politically expedient route. it has been difficult, controversial, costly, let's pop smoke and leave the difficult battlefield. the other half says this is the exact moment you need to be willing to double down
and take the fight to the enemy, and i have never been more proud than january 102007, did the right thing in the face of massive public pressure, double down to defeat a vicious enemy saying the future of our security depends on the battle. ask yourself today feels right? unfortunately, of course he was. it did work and was successful. largely defeated. by february of 2010 iraq was declared a great achievement of the obama administration. such a great achievement that he happened to visiting in four or five days ago with political chaos unfolding. he took for granted the stability and gains made through greedy decisions in a dark moment and assume they would perpetuate themselves without understanding how central defeating islamist iraq was
to their narrative and our narrative. always a paper tiger? only retreat from every difficult conflict? are we able to show the resolve of our forefathers and when the more, and that is not a call for endless nationbuilding but a recognition that the lesson we should learn from a rack is it was all work, not that all these middle eastern wars are terrible and let's nationbuilding home, fortress america, and the difficult part is the narrative in the republican and democratic party moving in the wrong direction, and what i basically do is make the case that the iraq war is a war we should learn from about what to do. and. and i think republicans and conservative should stand competently in every form
they can to hillary clinton and barack obama and joe biden obviously a more complex situation a lack of political engagement. we simply decided we were over it. today we have the 1st president in the united states considers himself 1st a citizen of the world. and roosevelt talked about it warning against those who see themselves as citizens of the world. in fact he said citizens of the world are usually the were citizens of their own country.
they.out humanity and the amorphous things we can do for the without focusing on what makes the country great i call his foreign-policy a coexist foreign-policy, another bumper sticker. does it does it make you throw open your mouth a little bit, to? that is an example of his mindset. coexisting is good to my but it is a means, not men's, just like engagement, but when asked about his doctrine what you have is a series of progressive elites who went to school at places like princeton and harvard, and a lot of us know little obama's, wonderful people the big believers in the state, humanity, what we can
accomplish if we build another international institution, except than they are eventually forced to emerge from their utopian ideological cocoons, safe spaces and trigger warnings and solidarity marches, and what happens when the world still does not want to coexist with the leader is progressive and culturally sensitive is obama? what if there chopping off the heads of christians or instead of wanting to honor a deal will cheat on it and soon have a bomb like north korea or the islamic state pushing game and off a building in iraq the same day the white house is lighting up in the use of the rainbow and solidarity? what if they don't want to coexist? what if instead of hitting a reset button the dictator in russia is redrawing the lines in eastern europe? at that point their mind reads does not compute
because they are not on campus anymore and the graduate student lounge, they are the commander-in-chief, and the things they learned on campus that were supposed to lead to perpetual peace, it turns out the bad guys aren't interested in coexisting for engaging. rather than calling out real threats and abject evil or heaven for bid confronting them obama, clinton, kerry, others look around for the mutual understanding mediation groups are global climate change solidarity marches a so eagerly and self righteously, except they don't work. they seek the impossible global consensus comeau work for piece agreements that have no attachment to military realities on the ground declare the need to negotiate without preconditions, unilaterally withdraw from wars without caring what happens. they dismiss growing threats
as the jv and unilaterally declare no boots on the ground, apologize profusely for past sins, sins nonlethal aid when it is the lethal stuff that is needed, seek the moral high ground by leading from behind and declare the use of violence of course just so 19th century, try to coexist and surprise it does not work. what do we get? and incoherent maze of intervention, nonintervention, surges, withdrawals, high state grades, and it is utterly incoherent and unknowable because they do not understand because they don't believe in america or the use of american power as a tool for freedom and security in the world. we get incoherence like the bin laden raid and then the bo bergdahl swap, a white house that the world simply does not recognize. so after seven years of obama what do we do?
we need to unapologetically lead, be willinglead, be willing to knowledge that without america there is no leader of the free world, and it does not mean we have to be a policeman in every corner, but we better be the sheriff for the big shiny badge willing to say our security and import -- our security is important to us. us. we will back up our allies and stand up to our enemies. we need to recognize they are a vicious enemy and the longer they exist the more vulnerable we are on every front, standby dissidents in the world who still speak for freedom command as i talked about before, be resolute and willing to talk about things like the iraq war. i went to afghanistan wanting to believe we could surge there. afghanistan is biblical times.
what you can accomplish is different. of course this administration cynically told us that was a good war and then searched never believing in the cause. which is aa moral sense, to send men and women to a battlefront you never believed in and never send the amount of troops are commanders wanted and when you gave the speech you told them you are going to leave. it would be a joke, but it is funny. we also have an electorate today seduced by the idea that american disengagement is what is necessary. there is difference of opinion across a spectrum, reason to be proud of what was accomplished even if the outcomes are worse.
i want to close by saying i used to say as it pertains to the book and everything else that i thought so my kids don't have to. that is just not true command i don't say it anymore. i serve knowing that my kids will have to. maybe they will carry a rifle or balance sheet of a capitalist or patriotic reporter or whatever it is, but every single generation will have to contribute at every turn. we are not cards and american empire. we are called to be engaged good citizens in an ongoing american. we stand at the foot that of another woodrow wilson to teddy roosevelt famously tangled with, a man who said on multiple occasions he was too proud to fight vicious enemies in the world. of course obama emanates the
exact same sentiment today. teddy roosevelt when he was agitating for american involvement, a friend called him the bula woke america. he tried to leave the roosevelt division to world war i which ultimately never happened,happened, but he wanted to lead from the front again. we must be awoken again today. our kids, families, to how critical that incubating capacity is, our educational -- and i have a policy chapter in the back of the book that talks about simple recommendations, not meant to be a conservative carte blanche. i did not write about every issue, but i wrote about citizenship, equal opportunity, and five simple things that i think we go along way and trying to to restore some of those things in our country. want to thank you for being here, being in the arena in different capacities. i see people engaged fighting for the things that america represents.
it is a difficult fight, it can be a demoralizing one with a lot of uncertainty, uncertainty, but i encourage you to go back to the founding documents, historical speeches like this to be reminded of what our country represents, the types of men and women who perpetuated it, had courage to do difficult things in difficult times. before you read the book go to the back and read the speech so that you can make your own judgment about the speech. trigger warning, it might urge you to ensure the arena if you are not already. thank you. [applause] any questions friendlier otherwise? >> thank you very much. i wasmuch. i was wondering if you could give us some ideas of your
thoughts about donald trump and his insistence that the war in iraq was a mistake? are you able to comment? >> sure. i commented about it on national television many times. i take issue with his characterization of the iraq war. i think that this book is a push back against that narrative. i do not think we should be falling in with the code pink moveon .org narrative. it may feel politically expedient to answer that way, but it is much more politically powerful and principled to argue that even if you didn't like how we got into the war ultimately finishing it properly is important and has massive implications, and george w. bush surged and had a successful strategy in this president give it away. if you want to look at the cons, point to the
abandonment which hangs on the neck a barack obama and hillary clinton. interesting, it has been difficult to campaign for a lot of people. very few moments when i have been proud of republicans on that articulation. i can only think of one. i remember just sitting there saying finally somebody won't cave in to that narrative. hopefully the reality is to over the next commander-in-chief is is willing to truly unleash total war on the islamic state. i take issue with the way people characterize carpet bombing or the willingness to unhand give the enemy, their focus is on doing whatever it takes to destroy
the islamic state not find a way to kill civilians. carpet bombing is if we know where the headquarters is that we are going to vomit. whenwe are looking at the fuel trucks leaving dead to turkey we are not going to bomb them with leaflets. it is a difference of disposition for sure. >> question. maybe there is some kind of obsession command i don't completely disagree with that.
it is kind of water under the bridge in a certain sense, but you mentioned the elimination of the white house, and i think that there is a certain sense of which the rest of the world does not agree with the united states on that issue. they look at the way that that is being litigated in court and the lack of magnanimity of the victors in the struggles, they are motivated to push back against us. when our foreign policy looks like we're going to be promoting those things against their will, it seems like we cannot ignore the social issues at home, especially in light of this. >> that is a really good peemack, and then out the hypocrisy of divesting from north carolina but had quartering everywhere else
in the world were home to for being a homosexual is illegal. my argument is more about the amount of focus and energy that should go to it here at home. in many ways whether you think it was lost her one it was lost in the culture. it culture. it almost feels like and is a dead horse the conservatives to be tempted to continue to be which prevents us from making far more legitimate arguments instead we are dismissed by the media, the left it just
affirms the absolute immorality of america. i don't think we should be imposing it anywhere braswell. >> you like that? >> it is fantastic. >> one of the things that a lot of us outside of the whole political by that we continue to have on the role of government, the iraq war and social issues, one of the things, troubled by the sense of breakdown of just
overall social cohesion in the country, too much time staring at the phones talking to your neighbors or whether it is just the sense in the schools that citizenship is not being taught. sometimes it is more than just voting or basics but it is also about engaging with the broad community in a way that says i care about my community. i care enough to want to know my neighbors. and one of the powerful things that i would love to hear, what got you inspired to talk about citizenship with where you grew up? >> as i was writing and researching and thinking about this i havei have never thought of my parents as inherently political politically involved.
they were not partisan. we partisan. we did not talk about the political party. in college is the 1st time i was introduced to ideologies, butideologies, but when i started researching and reading the speech in looking into it they always worked hard, never asked for handouts, never made excuses. my mom watch start the pta. i could not go to certain things a certain times because she was paying attention to those being taught in the classroom. in the book i do not impugn small families. i make the case for large patriotic families and they raised a family full of boys that they told to be competitive and dusted off and love your country. i absorbed a lot of that from basic civic rituals and
watching the vets walked down the wide main street. i get the chills just thinking about it. because it is a town of 500 the parade is this long, but the whole city stand, the whole city is there and then of course it ends at memorial park by the river because this is not veterans day. replicated anywhere across all 50 states they did not sit there and beat into me. it was just part of learning citizenship but it was an infused sense of what it means to be a productive contributor. and as much as i may have wanted to rebel against it
the reminder that there are things greater than you, that someone died on a cross to redeem you for the sins you will have something i carried with me and me humble and reminded me who i was. those are way more important than sending kids, making sure my kids get to go to princeton harvard which is wonderful and a great opportunity that will open tons of doors but the more important pieces whether or not they come out of childhood in school and everywhere else as good citizens. i am from a public school. i am a big believer in public schools, but i worry i will have to deconstruct. and so we find a way to pay a modest tuition to send them to a little christian classical academy where they
learn about patriotism and faith in civics and the classics and that may not have a great basketball team in football team, liberty not known for its gridiron skill, but i feel like they will be infused. the world is much different than the assumption that you will get infused with community values the way that i was. it has been captured by moral relativism i was even tempted not to include a lot about how you a few citizenship, how you teach the founding documents. different people at different ideologies control the curriculum, you can see it the sending quite quickly into a different narrative of citizenship.
founding documents, original documents, talk about reading the constitution, declaration, federalist papers, that's a great place to start. i also talk about homeschooling. one of the recommendations is making homeschooling more robust impossible. when i grew up in that homeschool kids and thought there were weird. that is weird. that is not the case. and as so many wonderful homeschool kids who have -- are wonderfully grounded, educated, and are amazing citizens in this country to land acommand a public schools are not an alternative because you feel like you are not being educated the way you want to then we should make things like homeschooling more possible, easier, more streamlined. and to me there is a lot that goes into the education of the formal nature of citizenship, more about what
roosevelt wrote about the gritty homely virtues of everyday life which are not sexy and may not be cool on facebook but are important. >> crowdfunding business loans. the last question about just how we influence culture i was going through marine corps training, at the height of the iraq war and there was very little sense of public awareness of the veteran community. four years in, but it seems like the families i know my view there is no one are there are ten cousins,
uncles who served. heavily influence the culture to keep that red-blooded americanism alive? >> i'm not a fan of something like universal service set think it devolves and eventually you are serving the things very disconnected, but i do talk about a more robust sort of decision point through selective service, the little envelope you sent back is actually meaningful so you're making a real decision. and here is the benefits, bernie sanders is running around talking about free college. plenty of ways to incentivize real service in the investment. it is honored. maybe you're not in the military.
add themselves to a list to make sure they stay physically fit. i'm prepared to go my country needs me. the step before the draft. a lot of people would do that. i think there is an interim step that will be an interesting way to type people more, but you talked about vets which obviously is a passion of mine. interest in washington and entitled crony classes protect what they have, and they prevent any meaningful change. of course a lot of the work i have done is at the department of veterans affairs command there is no better example of that crony status quo than the va.
the ongoing efforts, efforts that i was involved in are met by a brick wall, for those who are supposed to be for things that reform systems that are broken and here we are two years later and things are no better and in many places they've gotten worse. no one is being held accountable, and who is stopping it? well, the white house has no interest. the va is going to stifle reform and bob mcdonald has been an utter failure. you have government -- someone tweeted at me for my civil service reform,, well, you are damn right and it should be across government. what started the va. if they are not doing a good job they can be fired. that is a pretty basic principle.
unions have a grip on that. and that it is special interest. establishment this or that, special interest exists everywhere. and it is traditional veteran service organizations were unwilling to change you want to get invited to the white house cocktail parties and play nice with everybody at all times that stifle things like basic choice, accountability and then impugn an attack their opponents at every turn. they don'tthey don't have an argument. it is always another 5 billion that will fix it. what they do instead is attack you personally. personally. if you want fun reading read a 29 page document focus just on me by other organizations. they don't want to argue the merits of the issue or issue a report that lays out what real reform would look like.
that is why things don't change, and itchange, and it is hard to be a good citizen because it is easy to get along and you can take that example throughout every spectrum of government and every level of government and every place you will meet resistance. you will find critics. you will fail again and again, and all they want you to do is quit. at every level, the school board wants you to quit, the local government wants you to quit, the va wants you to quit, everybody wants us to quit because then we can all live our jobs -- all keep our jobs. they are ticked off because nothing changes and everyone over promises and never delivers. this will remind people that the fight is worth it. it is going to have to be the sustained iteration of the truth of what works and
the advocacy behind it as individuals and organizations and having the courage to believe in america, and what it represents, not cower from those who have a new idea of what it means, and the document like roosevelt speech is a great pathway. >> let me steal the last question. what is the thing that we as citizens could or should be doing? >> we talked about it here in this auditorium was before,, recognizing and raising awareness about issues facing the veterans community without stigmatizing them and making sure we acknowledge challenges facing that's the don't create the character that their ticking time bombs who are inevitably broken. it is empowering them through education, opportunities, small
business financing, recognizing that these guys are going to be the future leaders. they also been that arena that is highly controversial with the public that did not quite support them and found a way to get it done. i am confident that they in some ways provide the nucleus of the types of folks that will get out there and make sure the 21st century is an american century as well. i used to say this on the defend freedom tour, it is not going to be your neighbor who is out of the basement. they are going to do it. they are literally not.
they are sort of just existing in this country without a sense of where it comes from and why it matters. it will have to be those of us who do. if we do so tepidly then we will get funerals. if you don't educate and remind yourself what makes this place special then you will get funerals. education upfront is the beginning. i think obviously they have shown that courage. >> before i ask you to join with me in thanking the author of "in the arena", there are books available outside. thank you, again, for coming. please join me in thanking the author. .. ..
it is great to be with you, what an amazing read. this book is so critical and timely. >> thank you. >> sleeping giant, explain. >> so sleeping giant, the definition of a sleeping giant is something that has not reached its full potential. so it is really a nod to the political power of today's working class. i think you're seeing the sleeping giant is starting to wake up and rise in the fight fo