Today, I watched a fantastic conversation on YouTube featuring Joe Rogan and Jocko Willink. Rogan is a UFC commentator with a background in martial arts. He currently hosts the most popular podcast in the world: The Joe Rogan Experience. He invites celebrities, comedians, pundits, authors, and other podcasters to have 2-3 hour long conversations with them.
What’s remarkable about Rogan is his ability to be non-partisan. If he has the right-wing Ben Shapiro or Bernie Sanders on, he doesn’t engage in heated debates to try and one-up the other side. Instead, he paces their reality and makes an effort to understand the other side. In turn, his listeners get to understand the other side, too.
His podcast is arguably the most valuable commodity in this era of partisan politics and social media divisiveness. People tend to go for more simplified news sources (i.e. newspaper headlines and 5-second video clips). Also, pundits are forced to narrow down their positions in bite-sized chunks when they go on Fox or CNN. On a podcast, they’re given the leeway to relax and incorporate more detail in their discourse.
Sitting down and listening to Rogan takes a conscious effort (even moreso than watching a talking head on television). The effort is quickly rewarded, though. There’s so much info and perspective to glean from these 3-hour conversations.
His most recent episode featured Jocko Willink, a fellow podcaster (Jocko Podcast) who covers leadership-related topics and his experiences with the Navy SEALs.
Having the martial artist Rogan and Jocko the SEAL on the same podcast is a match made in Masculine Heaven. No one’s had this much testosterone in one room since they filmed the first Predator. Speaking of masculinity, that brings me to the elephant that wasn’t in the room: Dwayne Johnson.
Dwayne Freakin’ Johnson. The Rock.
Get this: Jocko opined that Dwayne would make an ideal President.
I know, I know. My initial reaction was the same as yours right now. But Jocko actually made a compelling case. First of all, nobody suspected that Trump would get elected…and he did. Whether you support Trump or not, you have to admit that the President is capable of doing things that most people cannot do: the ability to follow a grueling schedule, and get. Things. Done. One of the reasons Hillary lost in 2016 is she couldn’t follow the onerous event-driven lifestyle of public officials. She got complacent and started slacking off in the months leading up to November.
Trump has that “can-do/will-do” attitude. I’ve seen up-close in business environments how rare that mind set actually is. I once did a “pyramid scheme” job that involved door-to-door sales and a management training program. 6 months into the job and I learned that 99% of employees will simply not make the cut, build their sales team, and open up their own offices. You either have the draw and energy, or you don’t. It’s as simple as that.
Back to The Rock. The Rock operates a movie production studio (Seven Bucks Productions), and has accomplished many side-ventures (successful entertainer in WWE, actor in Hollywood, writing a best-selling autobiography, etc.). If you think about it, he has the energy, charisma, and work ethic required to take on the job in the Oval Office. You never know.
I should stress that this is Jocko’s position, not mine. I’m not sure where I stand on this, but the argument for The Rock is certainly a compelling one. Plus, we’ve been speculating this for years so it’s only a matter of time before Johnson takes a crack at politics. If he does, then he’ll get at least half the American population hating his guts. What’s his position on abortion? Gun control? He’d have to answer that eventually, and it’ll come at a cost.
The main reason Jocko brought up Johnson is the need for a unifying figure to bring the police and public together in these dreary times. Anti-police sentiment is at its dangerous zenith. Social media platforms have become echo chambers of leftist opprobrium. Jocko posits that Dwayne Johnson can be the figure we need right now. Johnson is biracial, has universal appeal, and has been seen supporting police officers.
But only time will tell.
In my mind, the most valuable takeaway from the podcast was Jocko explaining how the American military had to interact with Iraqi civilians after Saddam was overthrown. General Petrause didn’t want the Army to project an image of strength and dominion (doing so would fuel internal dissent and the rallying cry of the insurgency). The General knew we needed to present ourselves as the Iraqis’ allies. The Army was ordered to go around the residential areas and interact with Iraqis as though they were their neighbors and friends (“speak softly and carry a big stick”).
The problem with modern police officers, Jocko explained, is they’re not going out of their way to form relationships with the urban populace. They’re not showing the citizens their side of things and proving to them they mean no harm. “Put the kids in the cruiser, and drive them around town”, he suggested. If the Army is required to do that, why aren’t the cops doing it?
He also suggested periodic psychological screening. Being exposed to the dark side of humanity can take its toll and erode your empathy for others, Jocko observed. That seems to be what happened with Derek Chauvin and George Floyd: there was an alarming lack of compassion in the minutes leading to Floyd’s death.
However, if you weed cops out, you run the risk of not meeting the quota. The needed quantity of police officers is much higher than that of soldiers and Navy SEALS. The Military can afford to be strict with its recruitment. Police Departments, not so much.
(I should point out that I, a deaf, 150-pound guy, was able to procure a private security license. I’ve seen mall cops that either weighed 300 pounds or only 90. Some even went by on mobility scooters. The farther down the law-enforcement ladder you go, the looser the restrictions get. It makes sense, if you think about it.)
Anyway, the episode was great and they covered a lot of material over 3 hours that can’t be covered in a single blog post. It’s hard to do it any justice, if I’m being honest. I strongly recommend you check it out.