Feb. 24, 2021

Be Part of the Solution, Not a Silent Part of the Problem – with JR Penry [Ep. 59]

Be Part of the Solution, Not a Silent Part of the Problem – with JR Penry [Ep. 59]

Are you frustrated with government policies? Do you feel like elected officials ignore your needs? Do you wish they would listen to you and not just to violent activists or media pundits? Do you ever feel helpless to bring about positive change? If so, then be sure to listen as Linda interviews JR Penry from National Write Your Congressman (NWYC), a non-partisan organization dedicated to providing tools for constituent voices to be heard. Learn ways to impact policy so you can become an effective part of the solution, not just a silent part of the problem. Your voice matters. Use it effectively! 

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Linda J Hansen: Thank you for joining us today.  In this ever changing political climate, you may be wondering what you can do to help bring about positive policies that will help your family, your business, and your community.  As you know, I seek to help people be informed, involved and impactful and to provide information and resources with that goal in mind.  Today my guest is JR Penry.  JR is a legislative researcher at National Write Your Congressman.  National Write Your Congressman is an organization that gives small businesses a voice in American government.  As the nation’s largest privately held, nonpartisan membership organization made up of small businesses, National Write Your Congressman is dedicated to the delivery of constituent opinions to representatives in Washington.  Since 1958, NWYC, as it is known, has provided small business owners and operators the tools necessary to connect with members of Congress and a platform to let their collective voice be heard.  NWYC’s team of experts provide unbiased, nonpartisan information and research on top issues and pending legislation relevant to small business owners today.  NWYC presents both sides of the issues so that members can form an educated opinion and let their opinions be heard.  

So with that introduction, I welcome you JR.  Thank you so much for joining us today.

JR Penry: Well, thank you so much.  I’m honored to be here.

Linda: You also have a website: westandforfreedom.com.  We’ll talk more about that as we go along, but I know you started that We Stand for Freedom and that’s what we’re about in all that we do.

Tell us a little more about National Write Your Congressman.

JR: Well, very simply, we were built for the busy person.  We discovered that most people do not want to become political activists.  They know that you can march in the streets and start trash cans on fire and that will actually get you television coverage, but it doesn’t actually push forward positive change in legislation.  And so we’re actually, like I said, we’re built, not just for business owners; we actually have people that are W-2 employees who are also constituent members.  I say that because they are constituents of their congressional districts, but they feel like it’s important to have the facts at their fingertips.  Most people this day and age just want to know the truth.  Just tell us what’s really going on.  But they’re conditioned, the majority of the population is conditioned to pay attention to what’s being said by the talking heads, whether it be media or political pundits, instead of paying attention to what’s actually taking place behind the scenes.  So the advantage that we have and what we provide for our members is very simple in a three-step, threefold process.

First of all what we do is we have the back door access into what’s taking place in the committees so that way we can see as they’re crafting legislation what they are actually talking about, what they are putting in writing.  I tell our members, “Don’t pay attention to what they’re saying; you’ve got to pay attention to what they’re doing.” And what they’re doing is putting words down on paper which becomes the legislation which impacts us.  

Now here’s another thing that you need to remember.  We don’t just pay attention to and monitor legislation; we’re monitoring regulations as well.  So we monitor the EPA, IRS and OSHA for any pending regulation changes that will have a dramatic impact which would affect the bottom line of most business owners.  

So once again, the system is very simple to use, very user friendly.  You can either use a computer or we also have a phone app—that’s a free download from the app store or play store, depends if you have an android or an Apple product.  You can literally from the phone app; you can dictate the letter through the microphone of your phone into a letter form that directly goes to the inbox of your elected official, whether it is a state senator, national senator, representative, so on or so forth.  It’s a very impactful and powerful tool; but once again, it’s just a tool.  

Once again, let me just reiterate.  We do not hold a position; we do not show partiality towards any political candidate or party.  So therefore, we have no agenda when it comes to telling people what to think or how to vote.  So we are not a lobbying organization.  There’s the confusion.  We are considered something totally different.  We are a watchdog/research firm.  So once again, we are able to be neutral.  We want you to be able to vote and think based on the facts.  So the first step, the foundational process, is getting the truth into your hands and then you determine how and impactful it will be to you.  

Many times people are asking, “What can I do to make a difference?  Where should I start?”  I always tell people to [unintelligible (5:59)] start close to home.  Your state issues—you know we are the Unites States of America, so our state issues sometimes have a quicker, more relevant impact on us moving forward than the national issues.  Now they do impact us, but once again your state representatives are cognizant of what’s taking place in your own zip codes. So that’s what is really important to you there.  So once you get those facts, you’re then able to before they actually vote after they craft the legislation, you can actually weigh in on those pieces of legislation before they vote.  So no, they don’t have to pass the law so we can find out what’s in the law.  It’s out there.  They were just too lazy to read it themselves, I guess.  But we make it possible for you to see.  What we present to you is pretty much laymen’s term version of what the bill’s say.  But if you want to do the deep dive, those are provided as well.  But once again, we’re built for the busy person who doesn’t need to know how to build the clock to be able to tell time, per se.  They just want the facts to move on.

Linda: That’s really great.

JR: Yeah and most of us are busy and building and chasing our own American dreams.  If we wanted to be in politics, we’d run for office. Most of us don’t want to go there.  But here’s the problem and you have to think of it in a very common sense scenario.  If you own a business and you hire somebody, you don’t just put him to work, turn them loose, and never inspect their job.  You need to be able to inspect what you expect to be happening.  Yet we have an entire legislative body that we put up there and we never inspect what we expect to happen.  We don’t inspect their votes.  When do we the people normally hear about decisions in Congress or even at state levels?  After they’ve already been voted, correct?  Too late to fix it.  That’s by design on their part.  They used to teach what I’m sharing with people in eighth grade.  You couldn’t have gotten out of eighth grade civics without passing that test—knowing how our constitution works, how bills are made, how they’re passed, all those different things.  They don’t teach it any more.  I guess they want useful idiots instead of informed constituents.  But we’re flipping the script.

Linda: Yeah and flipping the script is what I try to do with Prosperity 101 as well.

JR: Exactly.

Linda: Really helping people to get that information that they didn’t get in school …

JR: Correct.

Linda: …or maybe they got it so young it wasn’t relevant to them and they just need almost a refresher course.  So whether it’s in my book or my online course or through the podcast, I really try to help people understand some of these basic constitutional freedoms and how they can pay attention to policy to protect their freedoms and to protect their livelihoods.  And again, some of my guests will have strong opinions about certain issues, some don’t; but I just feel like this particular organization is great to bring to everyone on any side of the fence because it provides a fantastic resource that is nonpartisan but it allows someone to take a dive into the issues.  Like you said, it’s almost like a Cliff Notes (chuckles) of the issues …

JR: Correct.

Linda: … and people can have more information if they’d like.  

JR: Right.

Linda: I notice on your website there’s crime and law enforcement, abortion, environment, taxes, labor and jobs and pensions, immigration, guns, civil rights, and within those categories there’s more as you dive into it.

So when someone goes to say your website or downloads your mobile app and say they want to look at taxes, tell me what they’ll find.

JR: Well, once again, it depends if they want to look at a national level or a local level.  But they could look at every bill that was related to taxes whether it was at a state-issued bill or a federal bill.  Not every state has income tax, but some do.  We are a nationwide organization so we fit the person where they’re at.  So everything’s triggered off of their zip code on their personal information as far as how it’s channeled to them.  Now, you can do deep dives.  We have the research available to all sorts of legislation.  We have over 50,000 pieces of federal legislation that they can look at and see what action was taken, who sponsored it, exactly everything going on about it, or they can just, like I  said, once again, just get the layman’s terms to make an opinion on it.  

But as far as those types of issues, like I said, they can do as deep a research as they want or they can actually request research help from our research department.  We’ll actually do some extra research for them on their behalf and let them know if there are certain things that are constitutional or not constitutional, all those types of variety of things.  

It really comes down to what the desire is of the individual.  So I have people that are highly engaged at political levels across the board, whether it’s councilmen—I even have mayors of cities that are some of our members.  I’ve been able to visit with people now across the country since the pandemic hit.  I’ve not been able to do my normal routine of just going out visiting business owners, civic organizations.  That’s why I created the website: westandforfreedom.com.  It allows someone that is curious that can actually go to that website and see if they agreed with those precepts and our fundamental truths about our country and then contact me so I can have a conversation with them.  That’s what the whole thing is really about …

Linda: Right.

JR: … to have that tool available.  I clearly want to have a conversation with those who want to have a conversation with me. I don’t have to go out and be a part of an organization or part of an environment that they’re not friendly to it.  There are some people that are hostile to doing anything political.  That’s what’s so sad; you don’t have to be political for politics to affect you.  So you know…

Linda: How that’s so true.  You know, people shy away sometimes, especially in the workplace; they will shy away from anything “political”…

JR: Right.

Linda: … but policy is driven through politics …

JR: Yes.

Linda: … and policy affects every one of us every single day.  It affects how much money we make, how much money we keep; it affects our level of freedom. It affects our local government, like you said.  It affects our garbage pickup.  It affects every bit of what we do and so it’s important for us.  Like you said, often times we send people there to be our employees, sort of.

JR: Or our ambassadors, yeah.

Linda: Right, but we do not check in with them.  We don’t follow up with them.  We don’t let them know what we want them to do and how we want them to do their job even though we hired them as we elected them.  It’s very important for us to be informed.  People, like you said, if they wanted to be in politics they maybe would run for office, but most people want to be able to be a dentist or a doctor or a teacher or a manufacturer. They want to be able to know that they can do so in freedom.  

And helping through this resource, they can look at the issues that are most important to them, find out who’s for them, who’s against them.  They can find out a little more information about each issue and where they can gather more information.  But then if they want to write to their representative or give their voice to their representative or their elected official through your website or your app, you provide fantastic tools.  It’s almost like prewritten if they’d like it, but they can personalize it; they can adapt it to how they feel about the issue, and it can go in instantly to the elected official’s office.  It’s really fantastic.

JR: It really is.  It takes very little time to actually be impactful.  You don’t have to—it’s not a full time job by any means.  It’s literally fifteen minutes a week on average is all it takes to have the facts at your fingertips and be the smartest person in your county.  So that way when people are having a conversation at the local café, and somebody has it 180 degrees of where it really is, you can say, “You know, hold that thought,” and you can pull it up on your phone and say, “This is what they are really talking about,” because they do have a tendency to twist words from time to time in the presentation.  So just real quick, where the rubber meets the road, I normally ask this one question, “Go ahead and name for me one aspect of your life, Mr. Citizen, Mrs. Citizen, that is not impacted by either regulation or legislation.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.”  And they—you can’t do it.

Linda:  No.  There is no area of our life that is not impacted.

JR: You know the old sanctum, “There’s one thing in life that’s for certain is death and taxes; well, now there’s taxes after death now.  Ok, and that’s another thing that’s become a big issue for a lot of people.  They’re trying to protect their legacies to be passed forward.  They want everyone to start from scratch and build their own except for them.  They don’t mind protecting their own legacies and setting up their own families.  You know, there are a lot of things to be irritated about, but here’s the good news: we still have the Constitution.  It is still written in our favor.  It still says, “We the people,” and our country’s gone through very harsh and trying difficult times and have overcome.  So what I find as I visit with people across the country is that most of us have more in common than we do in difference regardless of how we wear our hair or the style of clothing we wear or the doctrine that we want to participate in in our religion.  [Crosstalk]

Linda: or the color of our skin.

JR: Exactly.  

Linda: Exactly.

JR: All of that is protected by our Constitution, but it still is up to us to use that Constitution as our shield.  Now our weapon that we use is truth.  Truth will set you free and we have a duty to speak truth [unintelligible (15:11)].  So the people who I engage with on a regular basis should understand this one simple fact.  It’s more than just a privilege and a right, but it’s actually our responsibility to hold them accountable.  They are not our leaders.  That’s what they call themselves.  They’re not leaders though; they are civil servants. It’s what they should be and it’s up to us to hold them to that.  So, it’s very simple. We’ve let the tail wag the dog at this point.  It’s time to turn that back around.

Linda: Absolutely.

JR: We will get what we tolerate, so here’s the simple truth.  We currently have the very government we deserve because not enough of us have locked arms and held them accountable.  National Write Your Congressman provides a tool to make that happen because politicians have a tendency to talk one way to get elected, but they vote something entirely different.  That’s one aspect of what we provide.  Whose responsibility is it to hold them accountable?  Well, it’s ours.  Well, we show you the day they vote on issues how they voted, send you an email, have you click on one little icon on your phone or computer to see how they just voted, but the best part is we actually encourage you to vote along with them on those issues so it’ll keep a tally moving forward from a percentage stand point.  So when it’s time for them to run for reelection you don’t even need to listen to the speech.  You’ll know you have the right person representing you or not, and if not, that’s when you can hold their feet to the fire.

Linda: That’s excellent.  That is another resource that NWYC provides and that is that voting record.  People, I think, forget about checking back on voting records, but those voter guides that different organization put out and what you provide is so essential to being an informed voter.  You bring up a good point.  They are not really our leaders, in a sense.  They are our representatives.   They are our employees.  It is our money that pays their salary and we need to hold them accountable.  We are their boss.  They are not ours, even though they like to flip that script.  So holding them accountable is so important, but we can’t do that unless we are informed.  

JR: That is correct.

Linda: We need to be informed and we need to be involved and your resources help people to become impactful, which is what I always say that we need to do, become impactful.  But we can’t be as impactful if we don’t have truth . . .

JR: That’s true.

Linda: … and we don’t have both sides of the story.  Right now this is such an essential resource because, like you said, the media does not always provide us, especially in this cancel culture era; we can’t always get the full truth readily available through media.  I’m so thankful for many different outlets that are pushing truth out and helping people see all sides of a story and see what truth can be, but it makes it very, very difficult for people who have little time.  Like you said, we’re all busy running our businesses, taking care of our families, living out our American dream, in a sense, and especially in these hard times with Covid, I mean, it’s even harder to make a living so people feel a double pressure with their time.  This provides a fantastic resource.

So how would someone become a member of National Write Your Congressman?

JR: Well, we actually have representatives like myself all across the nation.  I just may have made it easier leveraging technology.  I can’t speak for everybody else out there but I’m honored to talk to anybody, anywhere, at any time that wants to know how to be engaged, because it’s not about me.  It’s bigger than me.  It’s about getting them plugged in.  So one thing that I do is I spend a little bit of time with everyone that I work with and enroll to launch them.  It’s kind of like the old bicycles scenario.  I’m holding the seat and telling you to pedal, pedal, pedal, and once you’ve got it, I turn the seat loose.  I also make myself available every night until 9 o’clock CST and on the weekends.  I do face-to-face zoom meetings if they want them or I’ll just visit with them over the phone.  I know the application so well I can actually be talking on my hands-free, driving the car, and walking you through the website.  It depends on what’s important to you but typically once you get engaged, it’s so user friendly that, as we say, even a caveman could do it.  I haven’t tried that yet; I haven’t found a caveman.  But anyway, the point is it is a simple process to utilize it.  The key is getting started off in the right direction.  That’s why I spend a little more time up front engaged with each new member to make sure they understand the process and how to use this tool because it’s like every tool in the tool box, if you don’t know how to use it correctly you might as well not even have it.

Linda: Correct.  Correct.  This is such a user friendly tool.  I’m on the website right now and the homepage is very intuitive, in a sense.  It says, “We give your voice power on Capitol Hill.”  It has a spot to choose your issue [and] strengthen your position so you can learn more about those issues and make an impact and that way you can contact your elected officials right through either the website or the app and there’s testimonials in there from members of Congress and other elected officials.

JR: Yes. [Crosstalk] Let me just add on to what you’ve just said.  A lot of people ask me from time to time, “Does this really work?  Does it really make a difference?”  And I can take the little bit of time to show them some major victories that we’ve had that the media will never share and a lot of politicians don’t want you to know either of how [unintelligible (20:19)]  Let me just tell you one simple truth about our organization.  We are the only organization that’s invited into Washington, D.C., when the freshman congressmen come in for their orientation.  They invite, by invitation, they invite our president and his staff in to teach those new congressmen and women what their roles and duties are according to the Constitution, how this process works.

Linda: That’s great.  That’s really great.

JR: We’re actually, because of the input of our constituents, we are the single largest source of direct constituent engagement with Congress of any other organization.  We’re the largest single source and we’re seeing the difference.  We’re seeing it disrupt the status quo by using this technology.  Remember we’re in the information age.  This is the important thing to remember.  Information has an expiration date, so it’s only valuable to you if it’s timely, accurate and relevant.  That’s our three promises we’re making to you—that information will be timely, accurate and relevant.  Now it’s up to you as how you use that.

Linda: That’s so important—timely, accurate and relevant.  That is really impactful when it comes to making the difference in being on time.  People hear about different issues in the news, but like you said earlier, sometimes we don’t really know what that issue was or what was decided about it until it’s too late and we hear that they voted on something.  We think, “Well, I didn’t like that,” but we didn’t even know they were voting on it.  It’s up to us to stay informed.  You make that so much easier through this organization and these resources.  

You mentioned earlier how you have “back door” access to committee hearings and things.  I think that’s a really important thing to explain to those who don’t know what that really entails.  Could you explain a little bit about that because being aware of what happens at the committee level is so important to tracking the path of legislative priorities and what the bills are going to be?  It’s such an important role that not many play.  So we really appreciate that you do that for the average person.

JR: Right.  Well, the reason that’s so important is, once again, it is critical to be able to present the truth.  Many of the legislators out there depend on us for the research we do actually in the field.  Just a personal story I have for you.  My personal state senator, when she made the connection—she connected the dots of who I was and who she was having a conversation with.  It was like the “aha” moment and what started to be a 20-minute polite conversation, very light hearted, turned into two and a half hours of her drilling me, giving me a list of things as I’m in the field talking with business owners, farmers, and ranchers.  She wanted to know about specific issues and in a two-and-a-half-hour time frame; she gave me this litany of lists, but she—Here’s my take away from that meeting. She said, “Jerry, I wanted to assure you, I personally read each and every piece of correspondence from your members for three simple reasons,” and she doesn’t hand them off to a staff person there.  “You’re the only organization I do this with.”  She said, “One, I know they’re always well informed; they’re not misinformed.  Second, she goes, “They’re very sober-minded and intentional as to why they’re reaching out; they have a reason.  She says, “The most important thing is it helps me do my job.  She tells, “When I come down; I have to go to Austin to deal with the people down there that have differences of opinions.  She goes, “It helps bolster her arguments.”  She said, “They’ve actually questioned her integrity, saying, ‘Oh, your members can’t be thinking that or your people, your constituents can’t be thinking that.’”  She’s like, “Hang on a second.”  She’ll open up her laptop and show them.  

Mike Burgess—my national representative, US congressman, Michael Burgess—he told a very similar story to me, same take away.  But he said basically when the TARP program had come out a couple of years back, he was in that committee and he actually gave this interview also over the radio.  He said that, “Before we’d go into committee, he was getting a phone call from ex-Vice President Cheney which struck him as odd and unusual as to why he was getting a call on this.  So he called back down to Texas to his staff people and he said, “Tell me.  Are we getting any input from this? From our constituents and he was able to go back into committee and then return the phone call to say, “I’d like to help you out, cowboy, but …” and he said it just that way, “But this is an issue our constituents are actually weighing in on, and for every ‘yes’ I’m getting, I’m getting 7,000 ‘nos.’ I cannot help you.”  So, it’s very simple.  If we don’t care enough about the issue to weigh in, why should they?

Linda: Exactly.  Well and it’s true that if you contact your elected official at your state level or even at your local level, they often think that a hundred people think the same way.  They look at it as the weight of a hundred people in this district feel this way.  If it’s at the national level, I believe it’s a thousand.  Right?  Don’t they think at least a thousand people…?

JR: Typically.  And Ted Cruz told me personally.  He said, “Jerry, when someone identifies himself as a business owner in those five zip codes that I work in on a predominant basis,” he said, “I take that opinion time ten thousand.”

Linda: Wonderful.

JR: So that’s how powerful it is.

Linda: Yeah and they’re job providers and business owners …

JR: Exactly

Linda: … are job providers.  Legislators who understand that are going to be much more powerful in terms of service to business owners and to the employees they serve.  We cannot provide jobs when our businesses are strangled to death through over regulation or over taxation.

JR: Correct

Linda: Being able to be alert to what’s coming down the pipeline that might hurt or help your business is so important.  So we’ve talked about writing against certain legislation but it’s so important to write for things, too…

JR: Absolutely

Linda: … and say, “We really want you to support ‘X’ because it’s going to help my business.” They want to know.  They want to know how it will hurt and how it will help.  It’s very, very important.

JR: Well, and this is ironic.  I’ve got a couple of personal stories, feedback I get from constituent members that tell me, one in particular said that they at one time had asked for a face-to-face meeting through a phone call.  Let me just hit on this one high point.  This is so important.  You know, Ronald Reagan when he would give a speech would pound the podium.  He would literally say, “I need you to write your congressman on this.”  He never said, “I need you to call.”  He said, “I need you to write,” because he knows that when you put it in writing, it carries more weight.  It’s more impactful and it becomes part of the permanent record.  Phone call—they might acknowledge it.  I can’t speak to all of them, but pretty much I look at it as your hash mark on a chalk board.  It’s not personal.  When you take the time to—you don’t have to get a wordsmith.  We make it easy.  We provide talking points.  Just click on it.  It drops in the message.  Once again, there’s no reason not to have the courage to take a stand and speak your beliefs.

Linda: You brought up a really good point, that writing is so important.  It is great, those times when we’ve all called on issues and we shut down the switch board and they know that the constituents are up in arms, but we become, like you said, “a hashtag on the chalkboard.”  But when we can actually write and use our own words and they see our name.  They see our opinion.  It has much more weight and it becomes a part of a permanent record.

JR: Right.

Linda: So that’s so important.

JR: I teach people how to word their salutation’s correctly in the right way to actually get a response, because when you get a response in writing, now you’ve got something you can hold their feet to the fireSo there are certain power-trigger words you want to use, certain phrases, but always be respectful.  Brevity is best, but if you really have some solid facts that you think they need to know, hit them with it.  There are certain techniques that are more impactful and effective than others.  But anyway, this person had alluded that they had asked for a face-to-face meeting and never got it through the switch board.  The first time they wrote through our conduit, they got a return call and an appointment the next day.

Linda: Perfect.

JR: That’s powerful.

Linda: You know it is powerful.  I think I shared with you in one of our earlier conversations that when I was a young mom and just getting involved in politics, I was involved with Concerned Women for America.  They had a program, “How to Lobby from Your Kitchen Table,” and it was really helping people to know how to write impactful letters to your elected officials and so I did that.  I was raising babies and we didn’t have the internet back then so I’m giving away my age.  I wrote all the time and it was great because when I did call or I did meet them, I had clout, in a sense.  They knew that I had written them twenty letters on something and I had some of them tell me that I was more informed than anyone else in the district.

JR: Right. And that’s powerful because now that you can show your influence because you’re going to talk with other people of like mind.  That carries more weight.  I do want to take a moment to give you kudos on your book which I finished reading last night.  

Linda: Oh, thank you.

JR: I’m going to recommend that on my website with a link with your permission, but I’m going to recommend it to all your listeners.  If they haven’t read it, get it, but also get an extra copy or two.

Linda: I do hope that employers will provide it to their employees because it’s another nonpartisan resource that really just helps people understand how policies affect their paycheck and helps them understand that they can have a voice about that. It also helps employers to be able to have a little more freedom to speak about the issues because, especially in this toxic political climate that we have right now, I think a lot of employers are afraid.  And honestly those who oppose freedom and freedom of speech want us to be afraid.

JR: Correct.

Linda: But that’s the worst thing we can do is be afraid.  We need to stand up.  We have the First Amendment.  We have our rights.  We need to stand on them and we need to speak up and be a voice and help empower others to be a voice.  For those who don’t really understand, we have a great opportunity to just gently inform them.  

JR: Right.

Linda: We don’t …

JR: You don’t need to be militant.  You don’t need to be abrasive.  You just say, “You know, here’s the simple truth.”  And if people would just take a minute, take one step back and realize right now the winning through intimidation is at the front line. And you don’t have to succumb to the intimidation; you can actually stand up and say, “Well, that might work for you, but you can’t substantiate what you say, and I have the facts at my fingertips.  It’s time for you to take a seat.”  Because once again, they still only get one vote if we do this correctly.  That’s what most of our constituents right now are upset about.  They want to make sure we have voter integrity regardless of which position or way you vote.  It’s only right and fair that we have free, fair, transparent and honest elections.  So yes, every legitimate vote should count, nothing but legitimate votes, meaning you’ve got to live in the district, you’ve got to live in the zip code, you’ve got to …

Linda: You’ve got to be alive.

JR: You’ve got to be alive.  That helps.  That helps.  And you should only get one vote.

Linda: Exactly.  Well…

JR: Simple little things we should have learned in kindergarten, because nobody likes a cheater.  Let me just choose an example.  You remember when Lance Armstrong got his medals ripped from him merely from using performance enhancing vitamins.  They weren’t even synthetic, but because they weren’t on the approved list, they excoriated him for cheating.  Nobody really likes a cheater.  So why is it now being condoned?

Linda: Right.  I understand and this is one of the things that if people understood a little bit more about election law or what the Constitution says.  This is one thing that’s been a silver lining in a cloud of this past year is that the Constitution has been a little more in the forefront.  I’ve had people who’ve never been interested in what I do politically or what I’ve written.  I’ve maybe given them my book and they’ve come to me and said, “Oh, my gosh.  Everybody needs to read this.  How come I don’t know this?”  I mean, I have one lady who’s a lawyer and she called me and said, “I’m a lawyer and I didn’t know what’s in your book.  This is amazing!  How come I didn’t know?”  I said, “Because we don’t typically read the Constitution.”

JR: Well, the big question is, “Have we been educated, or have we been indoctrinated?”

Linda: A good point.  This is something for parents listening.  This is a great resource for you to help educate your teenagers especially—your children, but your teenagers—and as they grow into adulthood to help them understand that they can have an impact in their country and it doesn’t have to be through rioting.  It doesn’t have to be through name calling.  It doesn’t have to be through social media posts that are negative or positive.  It can be through the legislative process …

JR: Yes, ma’am.

Linda: … through our constitutional process; that is where it truly impacts.

JR: I love to give analogies.  So many people are visual learners so we’re using words here today that people are listening to.  But paint this picture in your mind.  Rioting is just a grand scale of the four-year-old throwing a tantrum in the grocery store because they can’t have that piece of candy.  Now what’s the appropriate action to take as the parent when you see that four-year-old do that?  It’s not to give them the candy because you’re creating a monster.  

Linda: Right.

JR: Because after the candy, it’s going to be something else

Linda: It’s a slippery slope when we do that.

JR: Yes.

Linda: We’ve seen a slippery slope in America in the last several years, and especially in 2020.  We’ve seen a slippery slope of our freedoms being slowly ebbing away and it’s like we wake up—I’ve told people for decades that Americans are like a frog in a pot of boiling water, that there’s this whole plan really to make us into a socialist nation, which a lot of people still don’t see, but if they looked at what our Constitution says versus what’s actually happening and also what has happened in other countries that were once free versus where they are now.  Take Venezuela, for instance.

JR: Oh, just look at Sweden.  When they first dipped their toe into the level of socialism, they had the most productive, wealthiest nation on earth at that time.  It didn’t take long that people were taking sick days and not performing work and because it doesn’t matter because they all received the same allotment or stipend.  You lose all incentive to do better.

Linda: You do.  You do and it really enslaves people in a sense because we’ve become dependent.  I’ve always told people, “People come to America for opportunity and freedom.”  If we take away the opportunity and we take away the freedom, where do people go?  America is that shining city on the hill.

JR: It is.

Linda: And I know Ronald Reagan said that if America falls, I mean, there’s no place left.

JR: We’re the last hope.  Where can you go to?  There’s nowhere to go.

Linda: Right.  So for the sake of freedom for America and our children and grandchildren, but really for the world, a strong America makes for a strong world.

JR: It does.

Linda: So that’s where we need to really put our energy.  We have a wonderful Constitution that provides a basis for constitutions around the world.  I mean, many of them have adopted several things.  I—just through Prosperity 101—I’ve been reached out to from people in Canada, in Kenya.  I know that my books have been taken to Russia.  They were taken to Russia to teach entrepreneurism and capitalism.  I just feel really blessed by that.  It’s amazing to me that people in other countries are so thirsty.  They’re just so thirsty for what we offer here in America and they want to learn.

JR: Yes.

Linda: They want to learn how we operate our government and how we impact our government.

JR: Well, if people really want to know.  There’re enough immigrants here from the ex-Soviet bloc countries that would tell them what socialism really is.  But, see they don’t use the word “socialism” in most of those circles.  They talk about a utopia that doesn’t really exist.  It’s all in the mind, of what could be.  “If you just let me make all the decisions, I’m going to make all the right decisions for you, but I get the biggest piece of chicken …

Linda: (Laughs)

JR: … because I’m so smart.”

Linda: Well, some of my…

JR: That’s what it amounts to. 

Linda: Right.  Some of my past episodes—there’s one that was about—it’s about direction, not personality and that was with one of my neighbors who actually, she and her husband, emigrated from Ukraine and were born and raised in Soviet Russia.  Her story and her concerns for America—but then more recently I interviewed a gentleman who runs a nonprofit to help keep alive the memory of the Holocaust in the sense that people would never forget.  They work to support and help the survivors of the Holocaust and those who are known as the Righteous Among the Nations so that their needs are met.  The Righteous Among the Nations are those who risked their lives to protect the Jews during the Holocaust and in a timeframe where many people are taught that the Holocaust didn’t happen or they’re just rewriting history about that time.  It’s so important to get the stories out about these survivors and what actually happened and what led to that.  You know, it’s like the Nazi regime and everything didn’t start with the concentration camps.  It really happened—it was a slow slide into…

JR: The Hitler youth is what he worked on first.

Linda: Right and it becomes… [Crosstalk]  It becomes this thing of fear and intimidation and all these things are used.  So in America, we just have to look and protect our freedom and we can do that by becoming informed, involved and impactful. Your programs through National Write Your Congressman really help people to do that.  

I know our time is coming to a close here, but is there anything else that you’d like to add for employers, or employees, or just regular citizens who would like to have a better impact and see better freedoms for America?

JR: Well, we all understand that the one thing we don’t get back is time and so if you’re going to spend your energy, your mental focus—we’re not talking about money.  Money can be made in many different ways.  Money’s just a currency, an exchange, ways to do business.  We’re talking about your time and what’s really important to you.  So whether it’s your faith, your family, your finances, or those fundamental freedoms that you hold dear—the things you get to do in your discretionary time.  Those should be important to you.  But here’s the thing.  They’ve all been under attack.  And so if you want to do something to help preserve that, moving forward; if you really want to do the right thing for standing up to be a true patriotic American, let’s have a conversation.  I promise I’m not going to talk you into or out of something you won’t want to do anyway.  That’s not the point.  The point is just the awareness of what you can do.  I want to hopefully instill a little bit of hope and give you the courage to go ahead and step out on faith and do what you know is right because most people know the difference between right and wrong.  

But the most important thing is, just think about it.  There’s not a single person of us that’s mature, that’s alive today, that hasn’t been lied to and taken advantage of at some point in their life.  So pause for a minute and ask yourself, “How did you feel when the realization hit that you were taken advantage of, or you were lied to?”  Isn’t that insulting? Isn’t it demeaning?  Isn’t it disrespectful?  See?  So if you tolerate it then you condone it.  So I look at it this way.  It’s not so much what the bad people are doing; it’s what good people aren’t doing.

Linda: Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.

JR: That’s right.  That’s right.  It’s not going to take all of us.  It’s just going to take enough. You know only 4% of the citizenry fought in the Revolutionary War, only 4%. Ok.  So it doesn’t take all of us; it takes enough.  We do have too many of what I call freedom freeloaders.  Those that will put their hand over their heart and say “The Pledge of Allegiance” or sing “God Bless America,” but they still don’t put any skin in the game.  And I raised my sons, and I live under the precept, “If you have the ability, then you have the responsibility.”  It’s just that simple.  Here’s the good news.  You’ve met me and I’ve shown you the solution.  Now here’s the bad news.  You’ve met me and I’ve shown you the solution.

Linda: Now you’re accountable.

JR: The choice is yours.

Linda: Exactly. And now you’re accountable.

JR: Real simple.  Either you’re a part of the solution or [Crosstalk]

Linda: Part of the problem.

JR: There you have it.

Linda: Part of the problem.  And that’s true; as Americans we are part of the solution or part of the problem.  We don’t want to be complacent.  We want to be informed, involved and impactful.  And so I really thank you for your time.  So if people want to get to you, they can reach you through nationalwriteyourcongressmen.com or nwyc.com or can also go to westandforfreedom.com.

JR: Yeah, that’s actually the easiest way to directly connect with me is westandforfreedom.com because there is a connect button that alerts to me the best time to reach out to you and how you want me to reach out to you, whether it’s by email or phone, something of that nature. And then we can have a conversation as brief or as short as you want it to be or as lengthy as you need it to be to get up and running.

Linda: And someone does not have to be a business owner to contact you or to be involved. [Crosstalk]

JR: No.  They just have to care and want to. 

Linda: Right.  Right.  And I know when I started with the introduction it was really about the federal level legislation and things, but you do provide information for people at a state level as well.

JR: Yes, ma’am.  That’s just as impactful.  Matter of fact, the top facts I always have people look at first is what’s happening in their state.  I get that saying, “I didn’t know.  Oh, my gosh.  I didn’t know.”  Now you know. (Laughing)

Linda: Well, and it’s great.  You provide a wonderful resource for busy people, like you said, and help people maximize their time, but also to be aware of what’s happening that’s impacting their family, their business, their community.  And so thank you.

JR: Thank you so much.