Tuesday, January 12, 2010

They Can't Say I Didn't Try It

Every once in a while, the van I drive at work to make my flower deliveries needs to be serviced. On those days, I use the boss's car. It's a nice car, and it works out well as a stand-in delivery vehicle. But, every time I turn it on I am treated to something—however briefly—that makes my spine tingle, and not in a good way.

The radio in Bob's car is always tuned to our local 500 million-watt, conservative, AM talk-radio station. Now Bob's a really great guy and more than fair as a boss, but he does present a minor challenge to my liberal-leaning, City-by-the-Bay type mindset. Not because he amuses himself with Rush Limbaugh and the EIB, or as Rachel Maddow might say, the Excellence In Bullpucky network, but rather because I'm afraid our political differences will one day come between us.

The way things are these days can be described as a sort of ideological dètente, wherein Bob and I quietly agree to disagree about whether or not all illegal aliens should be kicked out of the country, or about whether President Obama really is destroying America with his "socialist" agenda. But truthfully, I think Bob cares more about my not screwing up any deliveries than he does about which end of the political fountain I drink from, which is as it should be.

Today I had to use Bob's car because the key to the van broke off in the ignition. (Yes, it was that cold.) When I noticed the radio tuned to its usual 'conservadial' position, I thought to myself, Oh just listen for a few minutes—it won't kill you.

Well, it didn't kill me, but it wasn't long before I was reminded why Public Radio is the only thing I listen to while I am driving around delivering flowers. The question of the hour was, Should the detention center at Guantánamo Bay be closed? Caller One: "No. They should keep it open. And they should keep torturing those terrorists in there for as long as this war is going on—even if that's twenty-five years." Okay. Strike one. Caller Two: "The president should not close Guantánamo. In fact, they should keep it open just so that Obama can go down there at night and fluff their pillows for them when they go to sleep. Why not? He's doing nothing but coddling them anyway." Now we're getting somewhere. Strike two. Caller Three: "Look, if they are not wearing military uniforms, and they try to kill Americans, then they are spies and they should be shot!" Strike three! NPR here we come.

Ten years ago checking in with conservative talk radio for an hour or so just to see what conservatives were thinking wasn't all that unusual. Back then, Rush Limbaugh's ego hadn't quite imploded yet. But nowadays, El Rushbo has gone over the edge and is colluding with other ultra-conservatives like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and others to annihilate whatever is left of the moderate and constructive forces of conservatism. Even conservative writer David Frum has pointed out that Mr. Limbaugh's language is not that of politics, "it is the language of a cult."

Maybe Bob hasn't noticed that I tuned one of the presets on his radio to NPR  When I am finished for the day, I sometimes forget—unintentionally on purpose, of course—to change the station back to WTPN (the Tea Party Network). Who knows? If Bob happens upon it, maybe he'll even give Public Radio a listen for a few minutes. As for that that bumper sticker I got the other day that says, I'm In Love With Glenn Beck, But I'm Not Gay, I've decided to hold off on affixing it to Bob's rear bumper. That would be dangerous. I kind of like my job. And besides, he is after all—the boss.

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