Why football and Donald Trump give me hope for America

Cadets from the U.S. Military Academy fly a banner depicting President Elect Donald Trump prior to the game between the Navy Midshipmen and the Army Black Nights at M&T Bank Stadium on December 10, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Cadets from the U.S. Military Academy fly a banner depicting President Elect Donald Trump prior to the game between the Navy Midshipmen and the Army Black Nights at M&T Bank Stadium on December 10, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.

As a former professional athlete, businessman and fierce competitor, my sports background has made it tough to deal with the new American philosophy of embracing participation over winning, all in the name of being politically correct.

All that does, in my opinion, is promote mediocracy.

Over the weekend, I proudly watched Army overcome Navy for the first time in 14 years, and I couldn't help but feel proud to live in a country whose foundation was based on winning. The land of opportunity is just another way of saying the land of winners. When President-elect Donald Trump says he wants to "Make America Great Again," he's simply saying let's get back to the winning principals in which America was founded. That goes for all races, all sexes and all religions. This means we must get back to prioritizing accountability, competition and celebrating winners.

"So when did accountability, competition and winning become bad words?"

Hopefully, the days of putting a political correct America before a winning America ended on the night of Nov. 8, 2016. As critics frown at cabinet picks who have been industry leaders and wealth generators, it reminds me that some of my fellow Americans have either forgotten or have never been taught the winning mentality.

So when did accountability, competition and winning become bad words? Well we can again just look at sports. Youth programs and sports leagues across our country are now teaching young kids that you compete without keeping score and no matter how good or bad you perform, no one loses. For a former pro athlete and a business-deal junkie, this is a head scratcher. Through coaching my three kids, this has been an extremely hard pill to swallow over the last 15 years. It's also a direct correlation as to why we are now living in a country where political correctness has overwhelmingly started to drive public policy. Well, that was before Donald Trump.

A win-first attitude still comes with a dedication to sportsmanship and fair play, but that should all be done while you are battling for a victory. I read a story this weekend from the Washington Post that suggested that "the American Dream was collapsing for young Americans." The article referenced a study that showed the likelihood that a kid will earn more than their parent has dropped to 50 percent, which is down from 90 percent in past generations. The one constant theme from this article and numerous other reports on these findings all pointed to a regular politically correct theme of the year: income inequality.

I'll be the first to admit, some sectors can handle wage increases, but the facts remain that if you raise wages in some sectors you will have job losses and more unemployment as companies search for ways to replace people with technology. So do we point to income inequality as the sole destroyer of the American Deam? Well my answer to this problem is simple, let's get back to winning!

Jack Brewer, The Brewer Group
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Jack Brewer, The Brewer Group

It baffled me that I read this same reasoning in numerous articles and I watched several media outlets continue to point at income inequality for stripping young people of the American Dream. Most articles and news shows didn't mention other real reasons why the American Dream has been lost, nor did they give a game plan to get our youth back to winning.

Let's start with education.

If you look at the time periods in America when kids where most likely to out-earn their parents, those same kids lived and learned in an America where their education system ranked No. 1 in the world. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years, this ranking has struggled to remain in the top 20 globally.

This means our kids are just not as advanced and they are just not as qualified as they were during the heyday of American history. Unfortunately, politically-correct philosophies have penetrated our public school system while stripping accountability, competition and winning philosophies from the public school teachers and administrators who have the difficult task of educating this new generation of children.

As a matter of fact, a teacher who outperforms his or her peers and produces students who excel has limited opportunities to receive advancement or additional compensation for their job well done. At the same time, subpar teachers are often protected by their union as well as a non-competitive work environment. Public school compensation is based on the time that a person is employed and able to show up for the job, otherwise known as tenure. This is not how you win.

And let's not forget that we have forced crippling standardized tests on students and created a Common Core system that has essentially stripped our children of critical thinking and discouraged millions of children from nourishing their creative minds.

Oh yeah, and school choice — that's not a reality for some of the kids in our underserved communities that need It the most. I guess politically-correct-minded people believe that these tragedies in our education system have nothing to do with why our kids can't thrive in an ever-changing global economy. Let's hope that Trump's new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos ends Common Core and brings the winning mentality back to our school system.

The winning mentality is the only thing that can help bring back the American Dream for the deserving youth of America.

Commentary by Jack Brewer, a former NFL safety who played for the Vikings, Giants, Eagles and Cardinals. He is also the founder and CEO of the Brewer Group. He has a master's degree in sports management from the University of Minnesota. He serves as an ambassador for peace and sport for the United States Federation of Middle East Peace at the United Nations. Follow him on Twitter@JackBrewerBSI.

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