RUSH: Let’s go to Rick Pitino. He’s on CBS This Morning having a discussion about his book, The One-Day Contract: How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life. He’s the head basketball coach at Louisville, and Norah O’Donnell said, “It’s a great idea, the one-day contract, kind of living out every day, trying to live it to the fullest, if you will. But you can’t coach a team that way, can you?”
PITINO: I talk about the trap of technology. My players admitted the other day that they spend a minimum — now, they’re gonna understate their hours to me. I said, “How much do you deal with social media per day?” They said four hours each, one person said the whole day. I said, “Could you imagine if you took two of those hours and got in the gym and worked on your trade, how good you would be?” Four hours, and none of it impacted anyone’s lives. It was wasting time.
RUSH: These are his charges. These are his players. He said, “My gosh, how much better would you be if you just spent a couple of additional hours working on your talent?” He continued with this.
PITINO: You go to a dinner table and everybody starts taking out their phone, when they should say, “You’re the most important person in my life. You have my undivided attention.” Instead, they’re texting underneath the table. So we just don’t allow that with our team. I’ll have some recruits, and the parents, we’re having great dialogue, and the kids are underneath, texting.
RUSH: So he’s talking here about recruiting trips, and potential players at Louisville are texting during these recruiting dinners while Pitino’s left to talk to their parents. Now, I find it very interesting the way he views himself here. He said, “You go to a dinner table,” meaning him, “you go to a dinner and everybody takes out their phone, when they should say, ‘you’re a the most important person in my life right now.'” Meaning that’s how he thinks they should be receiving him. He’s the head coach at Louisville. He’s on a recruiting trip. He may offer this kid an opportunity to play college basketball at Louisville.
So in Pitino’s world, back in his day when the head coach of a major program showed up, that was the most important guy in your life that day. He said he’s not being treated that way any more. The recruits are tweeting and texting under the table, and he ends up having a conversation with the parents. The kids are underneath the table texting. “What does this have to do with anything, Mr. Limbaugh?” I want to remind you, I have been one of the early and only voices issuing concerns about all this social media and stuff, and not the time spent on it. That never was my concern. People have always found time to do what they love. It is why they’re there, the psychology of all of it that has always been worrisome to me. And again, folks, just so you know, maybe I shouldn’t care.
You know, my whole — how to phrase this — what I usually say is I want a great country. And I realize that a great country’s made up of individuals. A great country’s not defined by its government. It’s not defined by programs and safety nets and stuff. It’s defined by the greatest number of people possible pursuing excellence; the greatest number of people possible really trying to accomplish things; the greatest number of people possible trying to improve themselves. And it’s always mattered to me. ‘Cause I know what it is that makes this country great, and it’s us, it’s the people using the freedom that’s been acknowledged that we’re born with. And when that gets squandered and taken for granted and nothing special is thought of it, no good can come of that.
Look at the World War II vets. Now, I know generations change and it’s a dangerous thing to start comparing static things from generation to generation, because their dynamics are profound here. But in the case of World War II, we weren’t involved in any of that until the Japanese attacked. We were not hankering here to sign up, get involved in the military and go kick butt all over the world. We really had to be dragged screaming and kicking in, but when that moment came, guess what happened? The greatness of this country came to life, and it was personified and exemplified by those people who then rose to the occasion. And they rose to the occasion because of cultural values and education and morality, sense of right and wrong, decency, understanding that there were things bigger in life than themselves. All of that was factored.
Now look. I’ll tell this story again, and it’s just an illustration. I’m not attaching any real criticism to anybody here. I just observe. Shortly after the war in Iraq began, all-volunteer force. After 9/11 I found myself in Miami on a weekend with some friends, and they wanted to take me to the Versace mansion. Remember this story, Snerdley? So I said, “Well, okay.” We went to the Versace mansion, which was not owned by Versace at that point. It was actually owned by a guy in North Carolina who was a big cable TV magnate at the time. I think he just sold it, in fact. But regardless, this place was populated by people the same age as those who had volunteered and who were in Iraq and who were in Afghanistan, and the people at the Versace mansion, the same age, couldn’t have cared less what was going on in Iraq, couldn’t have cared less what was going on in Afghanistan. They were into pure hedonism.
I looked at it, and I’ve always had a great appreciation for the military, particularly now when it’s a volunteer force, people that volunteer to do these jobs. That’s why I’ve always cringed when the media or the Democrats say, “Yeah, well, they volunteer ’cause this country’s run outta opportunity for ’em, or they’re stupid hicks from the South and that’s all they’ve got.” Why diminish people who volunteer for the Armed Forces?
Why do that?
Why insult them that way when they’re doing a great thing? When I took my troop visit to Afghanistan, I asked, “Why are you here?” They were doing it to defend their country after 9/11. These were National Guard reserve troops. They were active duty military. They were there to defend our country, and the same time this is going on, people their age all over the country were out having fun pursuing hedonism, educations or whatever. It ran the gamut.
The point is that when that was necessary, we had the right number of people. We had enough people that were willing to volunteer and go put themselves in harm’s way. Now, I said, “I’m not criticizing. Don’t misunderstand.” I’m not criticizing the people I saw at the Versace mansion. I stood there, I watched it, and I had an immense sense of pride, and what a great country we have with such diversity. To hell with skin color diversity. The diversity I saw was just on display.
Within our population, we have enough people who, for whatever reason — and I choose to think that they’re honorable — volunteer for the Armed Forces to go defend their country, to represent and defend their country, while others didn’t. It was such that there were enough who did, that the ones who didn’t want to go didn’t have to. Now, where I’m going with this is that during World War II when this happened at the moment of truth, we got dragged kicking and screaming into it because of Pearl Harbor.
Whatever had happened culturally and societally, everybody got on board. Everybody. We went all over this planet to defend freedom, and I think for that to happen it requires a certain kind of culture, values and so forth, morality in society. That’s what concerns me about when I hear Rick Pitino say that when he goes out on a recruiting trip — and he’s right in a sense. The kids he’s going to talk to they ought to be looking at him as the biggest day in their lives.
You would think that they would be devoting full attention to impressing him, making a good impression and hoping to be chosen for the Louisville Basketball Team, but they weren’t able to put the cell phone aside, and their parents had to do the talking. Now, again, I’m not saying the country’s finished or over in that regard. But, folks, look at it. It’s different. Half the country, 90 million Americans are not working. Ninety million are not working, and the vast majority of them want to.
A very sad number also don’t want to. Ninety million people are not working. Work is crucially important to self-worth, individually, to the economy, any number of things. So the society and the culture is changing, and what worries me is that the lowest common denominator aspects of our culture are now the focal point. It used to be that institutions and employers (I think it is still in their case) wanted the best. Politicians, political parties appealed to the best people.
Now the Democrat Party is content to appeal to the lowest common denominator and provide whatever is necessary to get support from that group. The Democrat Party has sought to make the low-information/casually involved/ not very aware the majority of their constituency. That’s who they play to, and so they’re not shooting for the best. They’re not tailoring a message designed to enlighten or inspire. That’s why I think if the Republicans would do that, it might be one thing that could be done to shake up this status quo that exists.