The Southern Progressive

The Blog for "Progressive Politics: Tennessee Style" Radio Show!

June 24th, 2012: Episode #14 “ALEC And The Larger Plan” (Part I) and An Apology To A Caller


I wish to publicly apologize to one caller (Jay: New York) on our episode today.

We had a very animated and thoroughly (for me, anyway) enjoyable discussion about, among other things, voter suppression tactics across the nation, and especially within the discussion of the 2012 Presidential election. Caller Jay wished to discuss the high improbability of voter suppression having a greater negative impact on what is a minority of the population. We spent the show discussing everything from voter registration in general, to voting habits among particular voting population segments. The one thing that I personally feel I did NOT do was to give the caller reasonable access to response to his questions.

It is not my native intent to disrespect anyone, ever. I came away from the discussion with this caller highly frustrated. My frustration was with myself. I believe the caller got his point across, had valid questions, “played nice” and came prepared. Those are our rules on the show. Perhaps there should be at least a couple more. Rules that should be directed to the show host, in fact. I’m going to work on those this week.

To the caller (Jay): I apologize to you for any word or action on my part which made you feel as if the points of view you were offering were not heard, and understood. I apologize to you for interrupting you at all, much less the several times that offense occurred. I do appreciate your calls, and I do hope you will continue the dialogue. I’m not sure that MY response is necessarily required to your questions and/or convictions, positions, or opinions. I think a better longer-term solution might well be to listen carefully to your point(s), reiterate them to you on-air to let you know that they have been heard, and how  I understood them. Then, perhaps a better response would be :“Good questions, Jay. Thank you for asking them. Let’s see what our listeners have to offer as a response.” I would then offer the opportunity for callers to agree with your points, and explain why, or disagree with your points and explain why. If you are willing, I’d like to give that a shot. I will do so with our very next episode, in fact, regarding the points you were attempting to make. My staff wanted to know why I gave you so much time on-air today. Fair question.

I read an article regarding the approximately 120% voter turnout in one Wisconsin metro area–and much more specifically, the comments that article received. Page, after page was given to those who either wanted an immediate investigation into voter fraud, or felt the opportunity to literally “slam” everything not ultra-conservative in the State itself.  The over-arching question the commenters never addressed was: “How is it possible that 120% voted?” Inaccuracy and incompetent ignorance filled page after page of dogmatic dishonesty in those comments. That is one thing this show does not allow, from any side (including my own). My reading significantly pre-dated your call, but I was both surprised and encouraged by the questions you sought to answer. My enthusiasm may well have gotten away from me. I am willing to say that it did. I give you credit for hanging in there, and continually asking the question that you (I believe) honestly felt had not been addressed. I sincerely appreciate you as a listener. You play by the rules I set, even when I did not. I hope you will continue to listen, and call, and question.

It is perfectly permissible to have your own opinions. It is just never okay to have your own facts. I found it interesting that both the caller and I were, in fact, eyeballing the same statistics, yet came away with such disparate “results” to those facts.  And, this is the point of this particular stream of the show. I could not have made a better case for today’s thesis if I had tried.

To re encapsulate Jay’s posit: “How can it be voter suppression against such a significant minority in Wisconsin (Blacks equal approximately 6% of the population), for instance, when so much of the State’s population is, in fact, NOT Black? If you disenfranchise one Black voter, doesn’t that necessarily imply that you are, by the same suppression tactic, suppressing the voting rights of many, many more non-black voters? How then do you propose, Progressive, that Voter ID laws are created, designed, or implemented specifically for the purpose of disenfranchising “your” voters, and not also “our” voters? 

First of all, Jay, look at where the concept of the law originated. It was not an act of the Wisconsin State legislature’s originality, nor was it based on a perceived need by either the electors or the elected of Wisconsin due to some heretofore unseen degree of voter fraud. (Not even in the battle-worn areas of Kenosha or Milwaukee!) The voter fraud, if such existed in this or prior elections would much more reasonably be expected to come from the elections offices themselves, if past or recent history were to be the measure. There was no outcry from the citizens of Wisconsin to somehow mitigate or even end some pervasive voting fraud. It didn’t exist. So, where did it come from? And, more importantly, why? Furthermore, at what financial and other costs, and to whom? What, if anything, were the consequences of passing this legislation in the Wisconsin State House, and to (or upon whom?)

These are, I submit, questions that are at least equal to the validity of the questions you have posited to the show. I believe that a reasonable person, with what might be referred to generally as an average intellect, would find both sets of questions (if one were of a mind to do so, for whatever reason) at least valid, if not entirely legitimate. I encourage your examination and investigations of these questions: all of them, as I have done. Then, please feel free to report back your findings to me, and the listeners of the show upon what you have learned from them.

Secondly, why was it that some thirty-three different states, within the same legislative session, proposed virtually identical bills for consideration and passage? How did that happen, and much more importantly, why? Do your homework. (Clue #1: Begin with the Indiana State House. I did, and so too did the organization which lies at the fundamental base of the answer.)

Thirdly, why must it now fall to the individual states to redress the federal government for the preservation of the federal constitutionality of a law that the legislation’s designers and implementers fully knew, and openly admitted to be most likely overturned in court, before the “proposed Model Legislation” was even introduced?

Let’s stop there, for now.

Let’s give my hypothesis a fair run-through, shall we? Your questions are hereby stated. If I have misrepresented them, in any way, I hope you will contact me here and let me know how the questions I have posed in your name are not reflective of the questions you asked. I will admit to you that, after listening to the show three complete times, I did directly transcribe your questions above. But, hey! Even I can make a mistake. 🙂 Mine are the questions to you, highlighted in Blue. I’ll write my answers here later this week. You answer your quesitons, as you feel most honestly. Then, on next week’s show, we’ll open up the discussion to our listeners, and see if they can perhaps shed just a bit of further light on either position, yours or mine. Is that fair?  I think so.

Let’s see what our listeners think. We both might be surprised.  Tune in on Wednesday’s Blog, when I’ll respond to your questions, and mine. Feel free to do the same with your comments. Tell me what YOU think!



One comment on “June 24th, 2012: Episode #14 “ALEC And The Larger Plan” (Part I) and An Apology To A Caller

  1. ethics crusader
    June 26, 2012

    Hi Bud, My internet connection would not allow me to hear your radio show, so I probably should not make a comment. However, please let me offer my views as a newly converted Tennessee progressive. For years I listened to right wing radio and lived among the Religious Right, as in white Tenn,. churches, being a conservative Republican is a critical tenet of the faith, and being a Democrat will send you to hell. I’ve noticed that Tennesseans on the left tend to want to act more “Christ like” than those on the right. Tenn. lefties are more sensitive to the feelings of rabidly right wing extremists who are warring against the most helpless and fragile humanity among us. They don’t want to offend persons who are trying to kill thousands of people by removing their healthcare from them. They are very concerned about being kind and fair and taking a higher moral road. I admire that. However, among the right wing radio hosts, they just insult the folks they disagree with and punch the hang up button with a “SHUT UP YOU IDIOT!”. As right wingers tend to work zealously to inflict suffering and even death upon so many weaker persons, they will bully you and take advantage of your civility and Christian deference to take over YOUR radio show. I see this a lot. I’m not saying you are meek. But please remember that the Jesus that Tenn. progressives model (better than evangelicals do) got ferocious towards powerful oppressors and greedy profiteers. He did not let the religious leaders take over his preaching time. I don’t think you need to apologize. You have the moral superiority because you defend those whom the Bible favors. Don’t let those loud, mean, Nazi bullies take over YOUR show. They have hundreds of hours on prime radio stations. You use your very limited time for your message. Thanks for your courage and faithfulness.

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This entry was posted on June 24, 2012 by in Episode Wrap Up, PPTS.
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