Caryn Marshall Wilder: Let’s get back to the music
The morning started out on a happy note. Our friends were scheduled to play music on the sidewalk in front of the new Cake Bakery as part of a membership drive for local radio station KVMR.
Before we started the day’s chores, we decided to take our new puppy for a short socialization outing, grab a treat from the bakery and listen to some beautiful music.
Quite a crowd had already gathered, blocking most of the sidewalk. I said a brief hello to my friends and scanned the area for a good vantage point. I spied an open space near the door of a business that wasn’t open yet.
An older man with long, dirty, unkempt hair and worn, filthy clothes was standing there, holding a paper coffee cup. I believe in never judging a book by its cover, so I headed for the corner while my husband stopped to chat with some friends. The man smiled, showing rotten, tobacco stained teeth. He asked if he could pet my puppy and I smiled and said, “Of course!” After he admired my fur baby, I turned to enjoy the crystal clear voices of my friends.
He asked me what the event was all about and I explained it was a fundraiser for KVMR, to which he replied that he didn’t like KVMR. I wanted to ask him why he was there if that was so, however, I stifled that remark and instead asked, “Really? What’s not to like?” He replied that the station was too liberal and he was definitely not a liberal!”
Trying not to fuel his fire, and thinking quickly of a non-inflammatory response, I noticed he was holding a KVMR program schedule. I cheerfully told him as I pointed to the program that he was in luck, because KVMR had heard that complaint and done something to address it by working on bringing more conservative content to balance their programming and perhaps he’d enjoy listening to their new station.
I was becoming very uncomfortable, as not only was I unable to listen to my friends singing, I was talking throughout their performance, which I consider to be extremely rude. The man appeared to not have listened or cared about my solution, but squared his shoulders, puffed out his chest, looked me directly in the eyes and declared that “In fact, he was anything but a liberal” — as if I didn’t get the message the first time. I replied that he was entitled to his opinions, however, I didn’t share them.
Animated now, the man told me he was born in Yugoslavia and because of the circumstances of his birth and subsequent immigration to America, he knew it was absolutely true that women in this country regularly conspired with their doctors to give birth and murder their newborn babes. Exasperated, shocked and irritated by such stupendous ignorance, I scowled at the man and said, “Oh, come on! You don’t actually believe that crap, do you?” I couldn’t keep the flash of anger from my eyes. I was missing my friends’ performance for this? My mistake. My retort emboldened him and he began faithfully reciting the conspiracy theorists’ playbook.
What I want to know is, why are so many people in America so gullible? Are they so unhappy and bored they rely on Fox News and Alex Jones for a daily jolt of incredulousness just to get their blood pumping? All cable services packages include Fox on every package. If all one can afford is the cheapest bundle, Fox will be your only national news source. Why? Why are our airwaves allowed to broadcast outright lies that can be proven as such 30 seconds after they’re shouted?
Have we become a nation of such ignorant, lazy and angry people, some of us are willing to accept as facts wildly bizarre rants and opinions from often unstable and mentally deficient people whose own lives aren’t anywhere near the virtuous, holy, and upstanding affairs they expect from the very people they’re publicly excoriating?
Just because the Kool Aid is being served in furious tones by glamorous women in low-cut blouses and clean-cut men in thousand-dollar suits doesn’t mean it’s safe to drink. The time has come, Americans, to stop blindly assuming that the words uttered by some who’ve been given a public pulpit are true facts.
Follow the money and understand who profits and otherwise gains from such rhetoric. Then, let’s get back to the music.
Caryn Marshall Wilder lives in Nevada City.
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