Are There Any Issues The Country Can Unite Around? – With George Barna: In a time when the country is so polarized, are there any issues that could unite us? George Barna says his recent survey shows there may actually be six things. Tune in to find out what they are!
Air Date: 02/10/2021
Guest: George Barna
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
Let the torch of freedom burn. I love the theme music for WallBuilders Live. If you want the torch of freedom to burn, then it’s time to do your part. And it starts with education right here on WallBuilders Live. We are looking at the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective, so that we can learn truth, seek truth, learn that truth, and then fight for that truth, stand for that truth.
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We appreciate you being a part of the program. I hope that you’ll visit our website today at wallbuilderslive.com, that’s where you can learn about us, the host here on the program. I’m Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator, and America’s Constitution coach. And I’m here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. And Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders.
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Alright, fellows, it was so shocking yesterday to have good news from George Barna. No offense to George, but you know, he just reports what’s going on in the culture. And frankly, the polling in the culture has not been good recently. But yesterday, it was great, we had so much good news. We’re going to have him back later today, because he also found some very common issues that would unite the country.
How Often Does 80% of the Country Agree?
And David, I’ve heard you say over the years, you get 80% of the country to agree on something, that’s highly unusual, because 20% are going to be just against whatever it is. And he found six issues where people are in that 75-80% range. And so we’re going to find out from him, you know, what are these things that could actually unite the country?
Yeah. And this is an amazing thing, because given the polarization that occurs right now in America, given how far each side appears to be from the other, given how far Republicans and Democrats seem to be from each other, and there appears to be no middle ground, for him to find six issues where that essentially 70-80% of Americans are agreeing on what they want. That’s amazing. I’m really looking forward to seeing what those six are, because I can’t imagine what they would be.
I just, you know, off the top of my head, I don’t know, we’ve joked about this before. But this goes back to an axiom that that is attributed to Robert Kennedy, where he said that 20% of the people oppose everything all the time. You know, 20% of the people don’t agree the sun comes up in the east and goes down to the west. So I don’t know what we’re going to get 80% of Americans to agree on that they won’t politically.
Yeah. And to give George Barna a little cover too, the reason that we joke with him sometimes that it seems like when we have him on it’s always negative or pessimistic, is because he’s reporting conditions that reflect human nature. As he does polling, it’s like, no, here’s what people say they believe, here’s what people say they value, here’s where their morals are. And it does not always reflect the biblical morality that we would hope is more infiltrated into culture and society in America that is wider spread, and it’s not always there.
Six Positive Trend Shifts
And so yeah, guys, as you pointed out, having six things where there’s going to be some positive trend shifts, or where the majority of people agree on, if we were just speculating, right, what could you get 80% of people to agree on? Well, I would like a bigger paycheck. Yes, I think 80% of people would agree I would like a bigger paycheck. Like, yes, if it came to monetary possessions, sure, you probably can get people to agree on that.
But if it comes to philosophy, or morals or values or direction of the nation, it’s interesting to try to consider what would it be the things that the majority of Americans would agree on. And based on the fractured climate that we live in politically, where people have absolutely tended to choose their sides that they’ve discarded, oftentimes based principles in favor of their side winning, it’s very much in contrast to what George Washington said in his farewell address, where he talked about don’t let the love of party cause you to lose the principles that you need to be supporting. It seems that we have become more of that situation in America.
And so for George to indicate that there are some areas where Americans have found a lot of common ground and agreement, I am very excited and very curious what those are going to be.
Alright. Well, George Barna back with us today. If you missed yesterday, by the way, it’s on our website right now at wallbuilderslive.com, you can grab that program any time. Stay with us, we’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live
A Moment from American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. After the final victory at Yorktown, the Continental Army awaiting the outcome of peace negotiations with Great Britain, Pastor Israel Evans, a chaplain in the army proposed to George Washington, but they build a structure where church services can be held during the month of waiting. Washington approved the plan, and urged his officers to ensure that the soldiers attended service.
Pastor Evans further knew, if we were to secure the liberties they had fought for, sound education would be crucial. He declared, “Every parent and every friend of the freedom of his country ought to be attentive to the improvement of our youth in the principles of freedom and good government; and then the people will stand fast in their liberty for a long time.” Our schools today need to return to teaching the principles of freedom and good government in order for America to survive and prosper.
For more information about Pastor Israel Evans and other colonial patriots, go to wallbuilders.com.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Yesterday, George Barna was with us and had so much good news about the survey on socialism, and that finally moving in the right direction in terms of public opinion in America, that we said we got to do a second day with him. So George, thanks for coming back and doing the show again, got more good news for us today.
Oh, you’re [inaudible 06:23] for punishment, but I’m happy to give it. So yeah.
They have a “Mandate”?
Well, yesterday, we talked about the trends in the view of socialism in America, and for the first time in a long time, those numbers went down in a big way. You also found in this survey that there were actually some key issues that would actually unite us, not just the rhetoric from the president, while he attempts to impeach the former president and shun half the country. Instead of just using rhetoric for unity, you actually found issues that would unify and create a super majority. Tell us more about that.
Yeah. I mean, the whole idea here is, you know, you’ve got the Biden administration with Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer and others running around saying, oh, we have a mandate, we have a mandate. Well, I mean, let’s be honest here, there’s no such thing as a mandate when you win an election by three points, just you won it by that, and you lost 25 seats in the lower chamber of Congress, and you only got a 50/50 split in the upper chamber of the Congress when you had 34 seats up for grabs. So I mean, certainly there’s no mandate.
But if we look at what the American people are dying for, what is it that they’re saying? This is what we’re electing the government to do? We don’t know about the lackey agendas that everybody’s splitting for, is from both parties. But here’s what we are putting you into place to do on our behalf, as it is a Republican supposed to represent us. Here’s what we’re asking for.
And we found that if you take this political notion of a supermajority, which depending on who’s defining it, it’s usually thought of as maybe a 60% or 67% majority or more asking for something. We found that there are a half dozen prescriptions for policies that the American people, regardless of whether they voted for Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden are coming together and saying, yeah, we really want that.
What Are the Issues We Agree On?
And so if all this language about, oh, we’re going to bring unity so the country is meaningful, if it’s not just a marketing blues, well, I believe that this is the direction for initiating that kind of unity. Because these are the kinds of policies that Americans want to rally behind. This is what they’ve put these people into office to do, regardless of what party people come from, regardless of who is being voted for, this is what America wants to see in the future.
Man, George, I would not have even thought in this environment that you could find a single issue that 80% or more would agree on. You know, I thought, man, we are just truly split all the way down on every issue. So this is really good news. So what are some of those issues that have that type of agreement?
Well, some of them and this was one where we had 83% of Americans, 87% who voted for Trump, 84% who voted for Biden say they want the government to aggressively increase the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States. That’s going to have, of course, far reaching effects on our foreign policy, our economic policy, our taxation, policy, all kinds of things. But people are saying, yeah, that’s fine. Let’s go forward. We really need that to happen.
Another example. Investing heavily in restoring the nation’s infrastructure. 81% of all Americans are behind that, including 83% of Trump supporters, 84% of Biden’s supporters. These are kind of no brainers. It’s like okay, let’s get busy. Another example. Making Social Security and Medicare financially solvent.
Who Is Going to Pay?
Again 8 out of 10 Americans, including 78% Trump voters, 86% of Biden voters saying yeah, why would we allow those programs to go bankrupt? I mean, there’s a long and sordid history behind how we got to that point. But people are saying, alright, let’s get over it and let’s fix it. And now’s the time to do it.
And you’ve got more than three out of four people, regardless of who they voted for saying they want to reduce the federal government debt. So you’ve got all these calls for yeah, let’s give away more money, let’s keep printing as far as the presses can go. And Americans say wait a minute, somebody who’s ultimately going to pay for that, that somebody who’s going to be us. We prefer to see some fiscal restraint here. Let’s rethink what it is that we’re doing.
You know, and George, that one would be one where you could reconcile that with the previous ones, because I can’t remember who said it. But basically, the phrase was, let’s keep the promises we made and stop making promises we can’t keep. So they’re basically saying, hey, make these past promises solvent with Social Security and Medicare, but don’t keep adding up debt by making new promises and creating new programs, reduce the federal debt.
Well, that’s interesting too, because when you look at the things that everybody is saying, yeah, we really want this, they’re not saying, I want more handouts. They’re actually saying, I want a job. I want to be able to earn money. I want to feel good about myself. I want to be productive. I want to add value to the nation and to my community. And they’re saying, and by the way, I have to live with this full restraint. I expect my government to do the same thing.
The Manufacturing Job Question
Just because somebody’s got votes in an election doesn’t give them license to take my wallet and do what they want with it. They need to structure the government the same way that I need to structure my household.
If I could back up a minute on the manufacturing job question, was there much of a deep dive there in terms of what that means, in other words, what jobs that would actually include? I don’t know what that word means to people nowadays.
Yeah. And the truth of the matter is on all of these things, it was not a deep dive. We were asking them what they want the new incoming administration to prioritize? One of the things they want them to focus on and to really get busy work.
And so in my industry, there are different kinds of questions you can write in a survey. There’s a kind of question that’s called a costless question. These unfortunately, would be considered costless questions, because we didn’t say, would you like to increase manufacturing jobs if it meant that we don’t have trade with Japan or China or you know, whatever?
I mean, given the other side of the coin. That was not part of this. That’s the next level down that needs to be done to figure out okay, how do we make this happen so that we’re doing what some people say we need to do but we’re doing it in a way that’s most intelligence and efficient?
Manufacturing Jobs And More
Yeah, and the reason I went there is because of what you were describing, you know, that people are saying, I’m not wanting the handout. I want to be able to go work. And of course, I immediately started thinking about the tens of thousands of jobs lost with shutting down the Keystone pipeline, and then that’s technically not a manufacturing job.
But there’s a lot of jobs there, and it’s similar to manufacturing jobs. You are manufacturing of a pipeline, you’re putting that in across the whole country.
So anyway, I just started thinking, I would think that those people that want the debt reduced, and they want to be able to work and they want to restore the nation’s infrastructure and that sort of thing, they were probably not supportive of the tradeoff that you just described.
But we wouldn’t know that without diving into it, the tradeoff of, well, if I want the green new deal, then I’ve got to give up all these jobs with the pipeline and low cost of fuel and all these other tradeoffs. So that would be really interesting. But I can’t let you go without the last two, because these are two of my favorites as well, reducing federal income taxes, that was almost three-fourths of the country 73%?
We May Be More United Than We Think
Yeah, and there again, you’ve had more than 7 out of 10 people who voted for Joe Biden and about 8 out of 10 who voted for Donald Trump, saying that they wanted to see that done. So you look at the dominant media narrative, you would be led to believe there’s never anything we’re going to agree on, we’re just going to have to push forward to make something happen.
Turns out that’s not the case. If you do the work to figure out what are people really thinking, you find out, you know what, we’re probably more united as a country than the media narrative wants us to believe and then many politicians want us to believe, because then they don’t have as much power.
The power is supposed to be invested in the people. And so when we look at these kinds of things, we realize, you know what, we really do have that power. We even have the power of unity behind us. We’re just not wielding it very effectively because we’ve been lied to about the fact that we’re not united. We are still the United States and there are still ways to move forward.
So good. I will close out with my favorite one, this a passion one for me. Increased school choices. I was so glad to see this number, so huge, 73% Americans want to increase school choice and give parents more choices. That might surprise a lot of people out there right now thinking that only Trump supporters would have supported that and not Biden’s supporters. But you found it to be almost equal.
Changing American’s Minds About Education
Yeah. And you know, this was frankly, the one that surprised me the most of all, I think we had about 24 policy prescriptions that we were evaluating. And to find that three quarters of America says, yeah, they want to increase school choice for parents. Well, you know, we started digging back and trying to figure out why would they do this? Where did this come from?
And I believe it’s largely related to what’s happened during the last year or so because of the pandemic, with almost all parents haven’t get much more heavily involved in the education of their own children. And as they’ve learned a lot of things about the education system that they didn’t know. They’ve experienced it firsthand.
And so we now know from other research that’s being done that, for instance, homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds across the country, not because parents fancy themselves as teachers, but because when they saw what was taking place with their children in public schools, they thought it’s probably time for us to step up and take on more of this. So I think a lot of this is in response to the pandemic and what it’s done to people’s understanding of how education works in America.
Well, you talk about a major silver lining there, George, because in my opinion, school choice is one of the key factors to actually saving the country. And my goodness, this is such, such good news that if out of this pandemic chaos that one issue could move to these numbers. I don’t know that I would say it was worth it, but maybe, maybe long term to see 72% of Biden’s backers saying that they want more school choice. I mean, that’s huge, huge, huge.
Cultural Research Center
So I hope all of our legislator friends out there that are listening are hearing this. Because we’ve got states where those numbers have been good in the past, and we haven’t been able to get school choice through including my own state of Texas, and it’s so frustrating. So I’m so glad to see these numbers move the right direction.
And I think you’re exactly right. I think the pandemic has a lot to do with this. And I hope that our legislators will capitalize on that and give these parents these choices. So much good news, George. Thank you so much for the work that you guys do best place for folks to follow you and the research and the releases as you send them out?
Culturalresearchcenter.com is where we put all of these studies, they’re all free, you can download them, send them. If you want to sign up, it’ll alert you when the new ones come out. And I’m hoping that people will take these and use them in their communities, in their churches, and with their government leaders so that we really do get the kind of governance that we want and deserve.
Good stuff. Culturalresearchcenter.com. George Barna, thanks so much, man. Appreciate your time today.
Good to be you, Rick.
You’ll stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. And thanks again to George Barna for our two programs this week. And we’ve got links today at our website for both of the results on the studies, the one we talked about yesterday with regard to socialism and the positive trend right now where fewer and fewer people are supporting socialism, which is a very good thing.
And then today, just all of these issues, all six of these issues that the American people 75-80% roughly agree on and some have more than 80%. So David, Tim, any of these issues really surprised you guys?
Well, I want to hit them again real quick because they were amazing. 83% wants the government aggressively to increase manufacturing jobs in the US. 81% want America’s infrastructure restored.
80% want Medicaid and Social Security financially solvent. 76% want to reduce the national debt. That one just floors me. 76% want to reduce the national debt. 73% want to reduce federal income taxes. That also floors me. 73% want increased school choice. That one also floors me.
I mean, Rick, you said upfront, you didn’t think there’d be this many issues people agree on. But here I think is where the difference is. All of this stuff is really great objectives. But if I tell you, hey, let’s drive from Washington DC to LA, let’s make a cross country trip, the disagreement is going to enter when we start talking about which route we’re going to take. Do we want to take I-30 or I-40?
Which way are we going? We’re going to take the southern route that goes down I-20 to I-10. Now let’s take the northern route that goes I-70. And so we’ll get disagreements on that.
The Costless Question
And so, you know, here’s the things I was thinking. And as George said, he asked these questions in what pollsters call a costless question. I’m just asking you for the end result, I’m not asking you how you get there. I didn’t ask you what the cost is. So I can see people wanting to reduce the debt.
Now, here’s the question. One side says let’s reduce the debt by cutting police and cutting the military, and the other side says let’s reduce the debt by cutting social programs and welfare. That’s where you’re going to have trouble getting 76% to agree let’s reduce the debt.
I love the fact that people want to get out of debt and want the government out of debt and want less spending. The question is, what cost are you willing to pay to get there? And I think that’s where the polarization comes in again. Is on which road we’re going to take to get to these objectives?
You know, there’s so many that I saw on infrastructure. How do you rebuild your infrastructure without increasing debt? How do you pay for more roads and bridges? And how do you get that done and at the same time you want to reduce the national debt? And I’m not sure what the answer to that is.
But I think it’s great to be able to have some common goals. And just if we could get leaders in Congress and elsewhere, talking about, hey, these are the common goals people want to get to, it becomes a lot easier to pressure Congress to make some concessions to get to those goals when you know that you’ve got three-fourths, or four-fifths of the people pushing for those objectives.
If Americans Budget, So Should Their Government
And also recognizing that that a lot of Americans really are rational people and understand there’s a give and take in this process. And so if you have your idea list, well, here’s what I think we ought to cut and somebody else, well, here’s what I think we ought to cut, most American people are willing to navigate, negotiate, because that’s how we budget our lives every day, there’s certain things we want.
Well, I can’t afford to do that right now, so I’m going to do this over here. This is just part of being an adult, and making big boy and big girl decisions, right? We put on our big boy pants, or big girl pants, and we just get the job done.
That’s very interesting to see that that trend is there. It will be now interesting to see if Congress feels pressure in any of these areas to do these things. Because even though that’s what polling might indicate, we know that a lot of Americans aren’t very outspoken, are willing to be outspoken about a lot of their positions, because they’re afraid of repercussions that might come and they don’t want to get cancelled, and then the pushback that might come. But this is where it’s kind of a fascinating thought to think that the majority of Americans might be on the same page in many of these issues.
Now, dad, as you mentioned, we might have different ideas of how we accomplish that end goal. But the fact that we’re all trying to achieve the same thing, this is what can really help restore some of the fractures in the nation, is recognizing that we do still have some very similar and common objectives.
Well, I think it’s going to be a kind of a test, if you will, for Congress on one issue out of the six particularly. We talked yesterday about how the American the support for socialism has plummeted since Biden has been in office and I’ve seen things that I did know socialism looked like, that wasn’t what I was thinking it was, that didn’t meet my expectations.
The one thing on this list that I think will be the first thing that really kind of becomes visible, it’s not going to be stuff like school choice, because the government hadn’t been doing basically anything on school choice to speak of. There’s always a difference with the President. Because when the President comes in, he says, well, I want school choice back in Washington DC, or I don’t want it. That always changes from Republicans to Democrats. Republicans say let’s do school choice in DC. Well, that’s 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 students. So we never see it go nationally so people don’t notice that.
But the fact that you have 73% that want to reduce the federal income tax, I’m going to be real interested to see if Congress can get through this session without raising income taxes, because that will be something that everybody does notice. And if they raise income taxes, it’s going to be kind of like the wakeup call they’re seeing with socialism, hey, that wasn’t what I was expecting. And so the fact that you had such high percentage of both Democrats and Republicans opposed to income taxes, I think that may be a real trigger point in this legislative session to again, wake people up to this is not what I was expecting.
Well, it’s such good news that there are unifying issues and that some of issues, I mean, we’ve been talking about on the program for years like school choice and, and lowering the federal debt. I mean, these are big time issues and to have that kind of a number. I mean, 73%, 75%, 80% on some of these is just phenomenal. I mean, that’s really good news for folks.
Are There Any Issues The Country Can Unite Around? – With George Barna
It tells you that our God is right on these issues, right, the things that we would like to see happen when we look at them from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective, we know what the right position is. And now we’re finding that more of the country agrees with us on those things than maybe we thought when you look at some of the things coming out of Washington, DC. So very good news today from George Barna.
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