‘Put some skin in the game’

I recently received via snail mail a “Trump Agenda Survey” sent out by Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. At the end of her four-page letter of explanation, she gets around to the real purpose of the survey. She is counting on “folks like you to put skin in the game” by making a contribution of $35, $50, $100, $250, $500 or $1,000 within the next seven business days.

The letter was dripping in hypocrisy, with accusatory statements about Democrats and their unwillingness to work with Republicans, specifically President Donald Trump. Cleverly and purposefully omitted from the letter was the fact Republicans are unwilling to work with the Democrats. McDaniel just tossed more fuel on an already out of control partisan firestorm blazing under the soundproof dome of Washington, D.C.

She mentions Trump needs you and me to weather the storm of toxic partisanship. No mention of Trump’s partisan attacks at Democrats. She says liberals lie repeatedly, not mentioning Trump’s many documented lies. McDaniel says the poll numbers are “phony,” but does not mention Trump’s support of poll numbers when they are in his favor. She states that there is a “massive, well-funded Liberal coalition” that is certain to spend even more in the next two years, yet asks me for money while not mentioning the massive, well-funded conservative coalition.

Then, McDaniel blames the media for “falsely” proclaiming a majority of Americans want Republicans to compromise with Democrats. Well, folks, I must be in the minority, because that is exactly what I want and fully expect from our federal elected officials: to work together, to understand that politics is messy and seldom does one side get all they want, and that compromise is not a bad thing when the ultimate goal is doing the work of the people.

Now, that survey could have gone into the trash, joining most other political mailings wasted on me, but, when I read on page four of her letter that Trump was counting on you and me to “put skin in the game,” I was outraged.

I am a proud independent, not tethered to the hypocrisy of the two major parties that seem to me to be two wings of the same bird. They both place party above people, evident by the inaction on so many important and critical issues facing America today.

So, when one (or both) parties ask me to put skin in the game, I want to remind them I already have plenty of skin in the game. I also want them to know this is by no means a “game” to millions of Americans who all have skin — not to mention blood, sweat and tears — already invested into their stupid little “game.”

First of all, we put skin in the game by getting up each day and going to work to support our families. We pay our taxes and collectively send more to Washington every year, despite the politicians’ inability to manage all the money we send them as they — Trump included — insist on not only spending our money, but borrowing nearly a trillion a year from our children and grandchildren who will have to pay for their insubordination.

We put skin in the game by supporting charities that actually funnel the money to needy causes. We put skin in the game by supporting through our taxes the schools, law enforcement, and first responders. It’s our skin in the game that builds roads, bridges, and water and sewer projects. It’s our skin in the game that supports our military, our national parks, and the overpriced under-performing members of Congress.

We put skin in the game to pay for Social Security and federal health care programs like Medicare. We put skin in the game to support Americans who need a helping hand when it comes to feeding and housing their families. We put skin in the game to help clean up toxic spills, restore our rivers, and protect endangered species.

And we have put skin into the game by sending off our family members to defend our precious nation, many of whom never return.

So don’t be asking me to put more “skin in the game,” when the game you speak of is partisan politics. Americans give plenty, and this is certainly not a “game” to us. It is our future.

Readers, do you think you have enough skin in the game? Yes or no. Share your thoughts with me at gregawtry@awtry.com.

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at gregawtry@awtry.com.