ST LOUIS — I'm the guy who never answered the phone when caller ID said "Number Unavailable." I don't want every opinion, every perspective, and every trend to be visible to those who would mold public opinion. I am suspicious that had the power brokers in Washington known what was coming, they'd have found a way to get Hillary Clinton into office. I didn't want that. I'm fed up. Enough is enough. I want my country back. This is supposed to be a government of the people — not of the banks, lobbyists and foreign donors.
I am one of an endangered species called the American middle class. An aging baby boomer — one of the last generation, it seems, who inherited a future brighter than his parents. I grew up in manufacturing in the Rust Belt, and embraced the application of new technologies for innovation. My career spans more than four decades at companies like John Deere and Boeing and Emerson Electric. I have worked in many jobs from laborer to vice president of operations. I've lived and worked all over the world.
I am not an enthusiastic Donald Trump supporter. In fact, Trump was the very last candidate among the Republicans I wanted to see in this position. He was boorish, inarticulate and ill-informed. He has been crass, bombastic and coarse throughout the campaign, in ways that made me physically wince. How I wish we could have selected someone with Newt Gingrich's command of the facts, Sen. Marco Rubio's eloquence, Mike Huckabee's character, Sen. Ted Cruz's deep love of the Constitution, Carly Fiorina's clarity of thought and Ben Carson's humility and gentleness. Perhaps we'll get some of these things in President-elect Trump's Cabinet; I hope so.
But in the meantime, I am hearing some of you pollsters lamenting that you missed me in your polling, and wondering how almost all of you got it so incredibly wrong. Astonishingly, filmmaker Michael Moore, with whom I disagree about almost everything, got it right. I am angry, and I am frustrated.
Since Ronald Reagan, I have not seen a politician deliver on his or her promises to the American people; not Democrats and not Republicans. George H.W. Bush told us to read his lips, there would be no new taxes; but of course there were. President Obama promised that if you like your health-care plan and doctor, you can keep your health-care plan and doctor, and your costs will go down. We couldn't, and they didn't. He and his surrogates, including Sen. Claire McCaskill, D, here in Missouri, promised back in 2012 that there would be huge infrastructure projects, producing thousands of "shovel-ready jobs." They never materialized. Hillary Clinton said the events in Benghazi were caused by a video. They weren't. She also promised that she'd never handled any classified material on her private server, though she had.
The leaders in both parties thought I'd forget, and just continue to let all this slide. They thought I didn't understand how they have been lining their own pockets by funneling the money through devices like the Clinton Foundation. They thought I would accept their push to move American governance under the umbrellas of international agreements, alliances and trade deals designed to enrich a few corrupt politicians at the expense of American workers. They thought I would voluntarily remain impotent as the median U.S. household income declined, illegal immigrants continued to enter the United States and the sovereignty of our borders was shredded. They thought I'd just get over the way the Internal Revenue Service was used to target conservative organizations, and the way the Justice Department simply ignored laws like the Defense of Marriage Act that were disliked by the current administration.
Election cycle after election cycle, we sent politicians to Washington to fix these things, and cycle after cycle they failed us. In fact, they betrayed us. When Rep. Paul D. Ryan signed on to President Obama"s latest budget, I finally realized that it isn't just the Democrats or liberals in general that are the problem. We desperately need to clean house on both sides of the aisle. We need term limits for all members of Congress. We need to return government to sane, responsible adults. We must stop pandering to the tiny minority who would throw away every vestige of our heritage and our religious underpinnings. We must renew our commitment to the principles that made us the greatest country humanity has ever known.
But you, the pollsters and the incredibly biased "mainstream" media, wouldn't listen to me. You have been too busy promoting your own poisonous agenda. You did everything you could to brand conservatives as homophobic, xenophobic, greedy racists. You focused on spurious issues like genderless bathrooms and celebrity sex changes. You rebranded "pro-abortion" as "pro-choice." You rebranded radical Islamic terrorism as "workplace violence." You have continued your Machiavellian spinning of information and public perception, purposely drowning the voices of reason in your wake, year after excruciating year.
America is not intolerant, it is kind and welcoming and insists only that people follow the rule of law and assimilate if they come here. America is not dull; it teems with innovation and invention and productivity at levels unmatched by anyone in the world. America is not evil; in fact, it remains — even with all its flaws — the single greatest force for good in the world, as it has since the early 1900s.
I know, because I — the normal, faceless American citizen — am the heart and soul of this country. You fail to understand this because you are listening exclusively to America's worst critics; people who believe only in tearing down the traditions, perspectives and governmental foundations that made us great. You were trained up by liberal professors, most of whom have seen little of the world outside their classrooms. And now, you scratch your heads, wondering how you could have been so clueless. You spend endless television and radio hours interviewing not the typical Americans like me, but one another — asking what happened.
How would the person seated next to you in a New York City television studio know? Seriously, you should get out more.
*Duncan is a technologist and writer who lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri.