After 35 years hosting a talk radio show I?ve become habituated to being labeled as everything but a child of God. Offensive? Certainly, sometimes. Insensitive? You bet! Guilty as charged. Life is insensitive, so is the truth. I don?t hide from either.
Well, this column ought to certainly stir the puddin?. I wish to make an observation that I dare say most of you are going to find both offensive and insensitive. I really don?t expect to make any friends here, but I may just cause a few people to think for a few minutes.
One day in the late 1970?s I asked my listeners to call and tell me what they thought was the most important thing that they had learned listening to talk radio. At some point during that show a caller turned the tables. He asked me to share the most important thing I had learned hosting a talk show. My self-editing mechanisms were on the blink that day ? not an unusual situation ? so I immediately blurted out the first thing that came to mind. I told the caller that the most amazing thing I had learned was how truly stupid the American people are. Sorry folks. It?s was just the first thing that came to my mind. Maybe it would have been better if I has said ?obtuse? instead of ?stupid.? At least then the truly stupid ones wouldn?t have understood, and I might have kept a few listeners.
Well, sad to say, not much has happened in the twenty-something years since that particular program to change my opinion. While it?s no longer true for the bulk of talk radio listeners, I?m afraid it still stands as true for the rest. The majority of Americans can?t tell you who the vice president is. Not two out of ten Americans could tell you the name of their two U.S. Senators and their congressman. Examples are plenteous. Most Americans, for instance, actually think that the United States is supposed to be a democracy. It?s not. New Mexico, by the way, IS a state.