Saturday, November 20, 2004

Real emotion on the radio

Very rarely do you hear real emotion on the TV or radio. When you hear it, you stop. Listening almost feels voyeuristic. When real emotion is tied to an articulate argument it brings a depth to the argument that is palatable. It becomes more powerful and persuasive, not simply an exercise in logic. For an example, see the clip of Jon Stewart talking to Tucker Carlson on Crossfire. Yes, Jon had a clear point of view, but you could also see, hear and practically feel the strong emotion behind it, when he pleaded with them, “Please do your job. When you don’t do your job you are hurting the country.”

I think many liberals and progressives, by our very nature, are more empathic and thoughtful than many on the right. Empathy for the poor, the sick, and the disenfranchised makes sense to us. Call it a personal understanding of the golden rule, call it Christian compassion or call it secular humanism. Whatever you call it, it is at the heart of many liberal and progressive ideas.

Therefore it is mind boggling to us when people gleefully support and encourage acts that are anti-compassionate, anti-human and anti-environment. And to see those attitudes and emotions to become not only ACCEPTED, but LIONIZED makes it seem like that our fellow humans must have gone insane. What kind of person would make excuses for torture? Who would revel in hate and discrimination?

Following a very close election, Democrats are casting around for lessons to learn and directions to take to get their ideas accepted and their leaders elected. For some people to suggest that “if you want to win you need to associate and become like these people who embrace the dark side of human nature” is simply repugnant to them. They hear the cleverly developed rationale supporting cruel policies and thieving programs and are disgusted with their fellow man. They wonder, “How can a human being turn off their sense of compassion and craft arguments to support so many barbaric acts?”

The day after Air America Radio’s broadcast of an interview with a rude and dismissive Sean Hannity on the Majority Report Radio show I heard the following response to a critical letter written to Janeane Garofalo from a listener named Kathy.

Listen here:
Real Media (For broadband -big file- 4 megs)
Windows Media (smaller file 560k)
Time 3:30

Janeane: Yeah right. So going back to the idea of the guy who pushed me through the turnstile and Sean Hannity pushing his way in here, and Sean Hannity is indicative of a certain mind set. My father sometimes has it, Ann Coulter has it. Many people who voted for George Bush have it; many of the economic hit men who work at the IMF have it.

Now there are letters I get and I got one again last night that almost makes me, I'm going to start crying. Where again someone has written me a letter saying, "I have to stop condescending to the red -I'm sorry I'm crying-stop condescending to the red staters. And they were saying, "That's the problem with the democratic party."

No it isn't the problem with the Democratic Party. The problem with the Democratic Party is we don't run the media. We don't have the finances. We have the DLC nerds who are trying to make us like Republicans. And we don't have authoritarian personalities per say although sometimes I do and sometimes you do but at least it is for the left.

But I would say this, it is NOT the problem of some Democrats quote unquote looking down on some red staters, and by the way, there is every reason to be contemptuous of bigots. There is every reason to be contemptuous of people that support the Bush administration that supports torture. They support the disenfranchisement of black voters. They support the shifting of the tax burden to the working poor and the middle class. They have restated the global gag rule. They have rolled back the freedom of information act. They do not believe in internationalism. They have lied to us to get us into a war.

So if you, Kathy who wrote me that letter, and everyone else who writes me these letters, if you want to make common cause with those people, you do that. I'm not going to do it. In the same way that I wouldn't expect anyone to try and make common cause pre-civil rights act when the Republican party and the Democrat Party split over allowing black people and white people to attend public school together. To have black people enter the front of hotels, things of that nature. And I will not make common cause with those people and I will not make common cause with gay bashers and with people who think that the end of the world is nigh. I won't do it.

And I'm sorry that I'm crying, but I'm sick of all the mail of people claiming that the reason that George W. Bush is in office is because Sam and I are sitting here and thinking that it is ridiculous that there are some people who think that the end of days is nigh, and that John Ashcroft is afraid of calico cats. Which he IS.

Janeane: No I know, and this letter from Kathy wasn't completely un-positive, but let's remember the Republican Party for the last 40 years has made it their stock and trade to condescend to Democrats. How do you think that the word liberal got used as a pejorative on par with pedophile? How do you think that news anchors with a straight face can say something as preposterous as, "Gee, do you think John Kerry's wife is too liberal?"

Without liberals and progressives there is no forward motion in this culture there would be child labor. There would still be slaves, women wouldn't vote. We would have no birth control. So if the right had not been condescending... the "Looney left", the conspiracy theorists, "tin foil hat time". So don't give me this crap about a) making common cause with these bigots and b) and that WE are the problem because we think that it is small minded to be bigots, because it is.

Janeane is one of the most big-hearted, smart, funny and passionate persons in the public progressive movement. We share similar backgrounds and even family dynamics. It would be presumptuous of me to say I know how she feels. But I think I do. If I ever got a chance to talk to her I would tell here how much I admire her courage and understand her frustration. The last time I transcribed a Majority Report segment I found that some of the wingnut blogs linked to it to support their view that the guest was already biased against George W. Bush and his opinion shouldn’t count. My thought was, “His opinion was based on observable data! He has a right to his opinion that George W. Bush was a terrible student!”. If some of Sean Hannity’s listeners find this page and want to use it to support some negative view of Janeane, I ask you to first examine your heart and ask yourself just how humane is your attack or how responsible is your support of cruel policies, programs and arguments. If you don’t feel that you need to do any of that, since self-examination is anathema to who you are and what you stand for, then I say to you, “Bite me!”


ellroon said...

OH HOLY COW!! Wonderful find, and am sending this passionate love of the liberal mind on to my captive email audience. Thank you! Keep up the excellent work!

4:40 PM  
spocko said...

Thanks! I appreciate it. You can't listen to that segment and not feel her frustration and pain and desire to not succumb to the appeasers and to do the right thing for her fellow human beings.

I actually transcribed the whole segment, but decided not to put it all up. There were more comments about Hannity that I decided to leave out. I do think I'll put up a sound clip some of Hannity's rude dismissive comments on the show. He was a jerk to Sam.

6:28 PM  
Sarah Grimke said...

Thank you for the marvelous link. It was nice to hear real sentiment, wasn't it? I had no idea she was so articulate. Very inspiring reminder that we are not alone, and that our horror at what is happening in our government is felt by *many* others.

I must say I agree as well with her sentiments in refusing to find a 'common ground' with bigots and homophobes. There is no compromise in this.

11:00 AM  
Liberal-at-large said...

Thanks for posting Janeane "at her best!"

No one -- NO ONE -- does it better than My Hottie to express the pain & deep angst of the prog/libs.

Bravo, Spocko!

Liberal-at-large (Majority Report bloggie)

2:29 PM  
spocko said...

Sarah and Liberal-at-large, thanks for posting!
Janeane is so great and it pains me that she is judged by some idea that she has to play male debate games with the likes of Sean Hannity. And if she and Sam don't want to live in that world of debunking the lies and pointing out the hypocricy they are somehow "letting the left down". Not everyone has that Skill.

On the MRR show where Sean was on did you hear how uncomfortable Sean got when Sam tried to point out that the political ideas he pushed WERE personal? These people want it all to be at the abstract level otherwise their bigotry and hatefulness would come out for all to see. Then, when it does, they spin it as a good thing, a necessary thing, for the good of society and the status quo. They disgust me.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous said...

Do you lovers of JG's brand of liberalism realize that pretty much every fact she states is a lie?

Do any of you research anything she says?

it's the blind leading the deaf.

10:47 AM  
spocko said...

Yipee! My first troll! Second milestone reached!
I've finally arrived on the radar of the radical right! Gosh I hope you aren't my brother. That would be kind of sad.
If you are my brother then give me a call I talked to Dad the other day and he is worried about you.

I figured if I said something unpleasant about Sean Hannity you would find me. Ah! A "fact lover" in my readership! Now I can say, "Oh yes, rightwing nutballs LOVE my blog. They read it all the time. And they post! Take that you blogs with no readers who don't allow posting! Of course you do know that I know your IP address and I can block you at anytime, but what the hell any publicity is good publicity.

Zippidy do da zippidy day my or my what a wonderful day.
Plenty of troll bait plenty to say. Zippidy do da Zippidy yeah!

11:18 AM  
Sarah Grimke said...

Your first troll! Good job! :-D You must be doing something right!

12:40 PM  
spocko said...

Sarah: I know! I was sooo excited! I should have thought about how Al Franken got so popular. Just dis the wingnuts hero's and you raise so much controversy that your own side notices you. I wonder if people listen to Sam and Janeane to get all out raged the way the left listens to Rush and Hannity?

4:02 PM  

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