…..I nominate Howard Stern for the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal of Freedom. The result of his contribution, whether intentional or not, to that highest of aims, the aim of freedom, may not be realized in his lifetime, but there is no doubt he deserves to be honored today.
For the record, I don’t listen to satellite radio, much less Howard Stern. In fact, I get Howard Stern and Howard K. Stern confused a lot. I did catch Howard on the tube once or twice when he had a syndicated TV show. The usual shock jock, juvenile banter stuff, I thought, though occasionally a nugget could be mined from the dialogue.
I did not therefore catch this on the air but saw reference to it on the ‘net, and I gotta tell you, after listening to this tape, there oughtn’t to be a dry eye in the house, on either side of the aisle, because this is some sad, sad stuff folks. But as well as sad, it ought to be angering. It ought to be a clarion call for a push to get the less fortunate among us, whether black or white or some other shade, off the plantation, off the reservation and into the daylight of freedom.
Now, this man-on-the-street stuff isn’t new, it isn’t scientific, and it probably was done just as much for laughs as it was a wake-up call. One can never tell with Howard and his producers and his faithful sidekick Robin. But I nominate them for the Congressional Medal anyway. Unless the ignorance they exposed is widespread and rampant, you might even say characteristic , you cannot otherwise explain this. You cannot randomly walk up to people on the street and get these kinds of responses to your fabricated premises, even if you spring it on the interviewees in a hurry, unless it’s just, well….there. Off the cuff responses, first impressions, are absolutely telling. Howard’s team captured the beat on the street. No nuance required.
The begged question is, then, if you proceed from this widespread ignorant, uncomprehending pool of basis for thinking, acting and voting up through the various stages of having a clue, how many levels do you go through, how many millions of people are represented before you get past the clueless electorate to the thinking, discerning and well-intentioned electorate? When you get up to the high-school dropouts, do you have a group of people who are awake enough to know that Romney is running instead of McCain? When you get to the level of people who have a job, support a family, absorb as much news as they can with their limited time and resources do you have the model citizen voter? And does it drop off from there as wealth and education increase to some level of ideologues and fame and influence seekers strutting their soulless, purposeless stuff in political theater? What is the curve? I don’t know, but I do know something similar was shown in the man-in-the-street interviews with the Occupy Wall Street people, just in a different milieu.
In other words, why is this presidential election even a contest? Why are the polls, even with their bias and suspect weighting, even close? The answer can be found in the product of Sal and Richard, Stern’s street guys, with the resulting inferred (by me) conclusion that such things as welfare, pass-through promotions, affirmative action, coddling and pandering, bribery and cultural rot, not to mention the harangue of propaganda, have so impeded civics in this country, have so dumbed down America, have so held back the huddled masses that the most incompetent, the most two-faced, the most disingenuous and at the same time the most candidly socialist holder of the highest office in the land in history could conceivably be awarded a second term as President.
Forty days out from the election, all of the dies have probably been cast. If it is as close as the published polls suggest, then the decision will be made by those at the median points of our imaginary curve of ideal voters. Which should bode well for Romney. But regardless of the outcome, those compassionate patriots among us still in the game after November 6 must reach out to, must hold up as role models and must include in any spoils-sharing those who have pulled themselves up and out of the morass of involuntary servitude and have a true comprehension of freedom. Many of them have been celebrated on these pages in our dispatches and dissertations, and as we remark on the solid 47% here and the solid 47% there , we realize there comes a point where these people will have to step up, and some of us who think we are indispensable may have to step aside for a moment and let those who maybe can reach those suffering in their ignorance and delusion give it their best shot, as we anticipate building a concensus toward a return to traditions of all kinds. In short, it may be that the long-term fate of the country rests in the hands of the Ken Blackwells, the Star Parkers and others because we just don’t have enough free people, enough informed, knowing people right now to get us over the hump of Progressive Socialist hegemony. It’s a pretty big hump.
I think the stark reality exposed by the Stern people, that so many in this day and age are so ignorant, whether blissfully or not, is infinitely more scandalous than that so many are supposedly poor, or obese, or any other bleeding-heart proposition we hear all the time. Knowledge, as well as competence, is freedom and everyone deserves that freedom.
Howard Stern and Co. will be condemned in some quarters probably for the portrayal of the folk in their interviews, but in their support, we remind the adage that if freedom is the goal, truth is the best way to achieve it. And the truth is often shocking, so the shock jock is perfectly suited to bring it. This one’s for you, Howard.