Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On Public Discourse

Last week I had to go to Atlanta, twice. Depending on traffic, the trip from my house to downtown can take anywhere from 70 minutes to three hours. Thanks to a fast trip home Thursday evening, my average time (one way) was about two hours.

Music--mine or whatever is on the radio--gets old. Listening to talk radio makes the trip go faster. My preference is something on National Public Radio (especially Fresh Air). If NPR is not an option I'll switch over to 95.5.

With luck The Clark Howard Show or Dave Ramsey Show will be on. As a personal financial management educator, it's interesting to hear what people are asking about. Sometimes I even learn something.

Other options are less enjoyable. The absolute worst is Neil Boortz. I don't object to his politics so much as his style. Last week he went on a rant about all the people who will blindly vote in 2012 to re-elect President Obama (all federal employees, anyone in a union, and all women--especially single mothers because they need the federal teat to survive). The only surprise was that he left gays off the list.

A listener called in to object, saying whatever Neil Boortz was paid was too much because he added absolutely no value to society. I happen to agree. Boortz blew up and said the caller was a low-wage-earning idiot, called him a communist, and made several other less-than-flattering remarks about the man's character. The caller never got a chance to defend his character--that's not how these shows work.

On the trip home I got to hear Mark Arum. I don't know who he is or what his claim to fame might be. Steroid use by Barry Bonds was the topic when I listened in. Arum suggested everyone would take a shot of steroids if it would enable them to reach a life-long goal. As an example he asked who wouldn't take steroids if it would guarantee winning the lottery.

Never mind it's a stupid comparison. When folks called in saying they would never cheat to get ahead, Arum said they were liars. Clearly he would do anything if it made him richer or more famous. Again, anyone who disagreed was called names without being given the opportunity to defend their position.

The next topic on Arum's show was the disappearance of a Muslim woman who turned up in another county and didn't want her husband to know where she was. Somehow, the fact she was Muslim made a difference. The majority of callers said horrible things about her based entirely upon her religious beliefs. Most of these hateful rants ended with a plea for her to find Jesus. Yeah...after what you just said I want to be more like you...NOT!

Sadly, this kind of one-sided ranting is what now passes for debate in our country. We should be ashamed. Intolerance, and prejudice are the tools of the ignorant and uneducated. I'd call them dumbasses, but you expect more than name-calling from...

The Crotchety Old Man

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