He told me, “you know what I am really thankful for? The Obama Administration.”
I was a bit perplexed and asked him to explain.
He said, “they give me so much material and issues to talk about on their air. Every policy or proclamation lights up the phones. It’s like Christmas every day for me. It’s like getting new presents to unwrap every day…anything they do or say lights up the phones like a Christmas tree!” He was quite giddy about it.
I was stunned for a moment. And then I had to blast him.
“It might be fodder for your show, but bad policies hurt and affect real people. Don’t you ever think about that?”
He got quite defensive. I knew this discussion had the potential to escalate into an argument. So for the sake of our professional relationship, I dropped it and switched to some small talk.
But days later, it is still bothering me. Let me explain:
I know that to some people who work in talk radio (or talk television), political talk is like the WWE- a lot of barking, bluster and fakery. There’s a lot of showmanship. But that does not mean that these issues should be treated like a punchline.
I will be the first one to admit that I often get quite passionate about the issues I talk about on my WPHT-1210 radio show. But the reason I get worked up is that behind every issue or policy are real people who get impacted by decisions our elected officials make.
Every day, on the air and off the air, I hear stories and accounts from listeners who struggle because of policies, regulations and laws imposed on them by politicians in Washington right down to the state and local levels. They are difficult to listen to.
- A family is dropped from their longtime health insurance…or they face a spike in the cost of their premiums.
- A small business owner choking in regulations, fees and taxes, with no relief in sight. Despite the fact that they create jobs, their government only sees them as an ATM machine.
- A man loses his job because his company decides it is cheaper to outsource the work overseas. Welcome to the “new normal.”
- A mom is exasperated because she knows her daughter is not learning. The child is clearly bright, but a broken education system is failing her.
I could go on for hours with even more examples. Every day I hear these issues and the struggles. The issues that people face are real.
This is not pro wrestling. The struggles and impact are real. It’s not merely fodder for a radio show. Unlike my out-of-town colleague, I take it very seriously.
I am thankful I have a 50,000-watt microphone to give people a voice and help amplify their struggles. Politicians of both parties count on voter apathy. They either try to sweep their legislative votes under the rug or hope people will quickly forget, particularly when Election Day rolls around again.
So when I hear the struggles and challenges many people are facing, I am particularly grateful at Thanksgiving. Here are a few other reasons I will be giving thanks:
- I am thankful for my listeners. From the first time I stepped behind a microphone, they have been loyal and supportive. I have the best job in the world, and I owe my career to my listeners. Thank you!
- I am also thankful to those listeners who disagree with me. Yes, you heard right: I am grateful to have listeners and callers who challenge me with different viewpoints. After all, three hours of all-agreeing talk radio would be BORING! The fact that they clearly disagree with one or more of my viewpoints, yet still listen and call in is a great compliment.
- I am very thankful for our military and their families. They defend our country and our freedoms with unmatched courage, all the while enduring hardships and sacrifices we cannot even imagine. We can never say “thank you” enough. The holiday season is particularly tough and stressful for families who have a loved one who is deployed and serving. You can express your thanks by reaching out to these military families and offer your support and friendship.
- I am thankful we live in a country that has freedom of expression as one of its foundational rights. All of us, regardless of our political persuasion, need to exercise that right and protect it. Of course, it is important to practice that right with respect, responsibility and civility.
- And finally, and on a lighter note, I am VERY THANKFUL Roe is not interested in starting Black Friday Christmas Shopping on Thanksgiving night!
My best wishes to all of you…have a Happy Thanksgiving.