Monday afternoon I was on an NPR panel for Tom Hall, of the Baltimore NRP affiliate, along with two other guests. It was an hour long show, with call-ins. You can hear it here.
Obviously the topic is germane to the John Oliver post. I have to apologize for posting that while flying around and being buffeted by speaking obligations. I never dreamed, silly me, that the simple assertion that Americans, as well as non-American comics, should follow a tradition of two century’ duration and give a new president-elect the respect due the office, and the chance to live up to the crushing responsibilities of the office before heaping abuse on him. After all, we would want the same. It is a tradition that ennobles the country and democracy, and should be regarded as an absolute ethical requirement, the least a new President deserves. It is also beneficial to all, healing the wounds of the campaign, and binding the country together. In short, every ethical system supports this basically decent conduct. I did not expect decency, fairness, respect and patriotism to be controversial. Trump shares responsibility for the reaction the post is getting, but it is still depressing.
A couple of brief notes on the session:
1. Tom Hall did an excellent job, I thought, though it was frustrating, because some more back and forth with the other two guests would have been enlightening.
2. I didn’t know I was going to be the Designated White Anglo-Saxon Male on the panel.
3. If I had one more reply before we ran out, I was going to say that a woman dismissing an opinion as “the result of male white privilege” is a despicable and unethical tactic, appealing to bias, and assuming that I can’t be objective or perceptive because of my color and gender. It is sexist and racist tactic, and those who wield it should be called on it, hard.
4. I want to apologize to The FIRE, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which I mentioned in the discussion. Shockingly, nobody knew what it was, and I couldn’t remember what the acronym stands for. FIRE is the wonderful organization that fights college speech codes and other censorship of expression and basic rights on campus.
5. The panelist who didn’t say that I was cognitively handicapped by my race and gender did come very close to saying that freedom of speech can ethically be restricted (hate speech, you know) as long as the government doesn’t do it. Again, I didn’t have to respond. This individual heads two ethics organizations.
6. The callers were disappointing, but modeled well the prevailing anti-Trump mood. I desperately wanted to point out the fallacy of the caller who said that a Trump voter could be either ignorant or racist, but had to be one or the other. This is part of the whole “half the country just told women and minorities and immigrants that they aren’t valued narrative. After all, why else would someone not vote for Hillary Clinton? What possible reason could there be?
7. I really have to write about the “people are scared” argument.
I probably won’t have a chance to reply to comments until I get back to DC, late tonight. I’m sorry.