One of the things most worrisome about last week’s English Only special election was the effect that anti-immigrant right-wing ideologue mouthpieces Steve Gill, Phil Valentine, and Michael “It’s Delivery Not” DelGiorno, would have on the outcome. Let’s face it, two hours a week of us presenting reasoned and well-rounded interviews and opinion opposing the referendum versus 11 hours a day of them presenting bratty fear-based lies, half-truths, and accusations had us a little worried.
Not anymore! Last week’s election showed that we should have more faith in our listeners, the power of the grass roots coalitions, well-reasoned debate, and civil dialogue.
It’s not just Eric Crafton’s English Only that was defeated on Thursday. The brand of name-calling alarmism practiced by the three mouthkateers (can Tom Negri, General Manager of Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, or Rev. Jim Lawson, civil rights icon, really be defined as “liberal-wackos”?) was also given the smackdown by facts, figures, and the intellectual optimism practiced by a wide coalition of business, community, and spiritual leaders.
At this point, Gill et. al. should be frightened. Although they would never admit it, they know their fearmongering has both limited appeal and a limited shelf-life. Which is why hanging on to it while the rest of the country strides ahead is bad for business. Those boys say that they are giving people what they want, but our show – which with only 2 hours a week on a non-commercial station and engaging, reasonable guests, helped to defeat a city-wide referendum – clearly shows that they are so not. These emperors have not a stitch on.
The arguments against the Fairness Doctrine or the viability of progressive talk radio are red herrings use to deflect what DelGiorno, et. al. are really afraid of – that in these times, the majority of people in Middle-Tennessee would rather do what we do – discuss how public policy, elections, and elected officials can best serve the people of Tennessee – rather than what they specialize in – fear-based and divisive bombast (cue tax! abortion! immigration! gun! discussions). And they have no earthly idea how to adapt.