As many of you know, a week and a half ago the largest broadcasting company in the world, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), came to visit us. The reason for the visit was to broadcast one of its radio programs, Outside Source, from our office. The purpose was to get a sense of how we feel about President Trump a year after having been one of six newspapers in America to endorse him. It was an experience to remember, to say the least.
Nuala McGovern, the radio host and frequent television news anchor on the BBC, was not only a genuine professional, she was a joy to be around. So were Arja, Chris and Mark – the producer, marketing guru and technician pro. If not for the accents, one could imagine each of them fitting in well here despite what various views of the world we all might have. Although each resides in London, the BBC team is from Ireland, Finland, London and Scotland, respectively. Common was their kindness, interest, hospitality and openness to all of us. I learned a lot in the 24 hours they were here and, as I told each of them, will remain grateful for the opportunity to add four new friends to my little world.
The BBC, most would agree, is a left-leaning organization. As such, there was plenty of intrigue about how we, worlds apart from the BBC geographically and politically, feel about not just American politics, but about how the country is doing with Trump at the helm. So as to provide a spectrum of opinions, and ‘spectrum’ is putting it mildly, we chose 10 readers to join us in the live, two-hour broadcast. Despite moments of intense face palms, we survived. For the most part, I am thankful for those who participated and for the way they handled what, for some, was a nerve-racking, scary kind of experience.
There’s no secret about how we, The Daily Light and Midlothian Mirror, see the world politically. Knowing we endorsed Trump speaks volumes about our view just as endorsing Clinton tells you the political position of say, the Dallas Morning News, among others. Our view, like any media outlet, should never be subject to a need to please any group. It should simply be authentic, real and representative of how we feel. Ours was, and always will be, I assure you.
The radio program covered a variety of hot-button topics. Ranging from politics to racism to gun control, we had a lot to discuss. Most of the discussion was energetic, healthy and open. For me to hear the views of those on the left who don’t see Trump as I do was good and beneficial. To hear views on racism, either real or the sensationally created kind, was as well. While the vast majority of thoughts expressed were based on some level of research and knowledge, some views expressed were troubling. Since the show is broadcast live and around the world, it was particularly disheartening to hear what I found to be outlandish claims that the KKK has a presence in Waxahachie, that Trump is a racist, that more gun control is somehow a remedy to mass murder and that the current version of healthcare is a good thing.
Free speech is sacred we can all agree, but to spout off in an emotionally charged way to people, whether on a radio program or at the local diner, with incoherent nonsense has a price. The KKK isn’t alive in this community no more than Trump is a racist and the suggestion that guns should be controlled more than they are is proof that some people just don’t care to be informed. Instead, they simply want to be heard … logic and truth be damned. As for the healthcare mess suffocating the country, continuing to tout Obamacare as anything but a disaster is looney bin material — if you ask me.
Based on call-ins to the show and responses I’ve received since the show was well-liked and entertaining. My hope is that well-liked is true and that entertaining means enjoyable. There is plenty of diversity in our community about how Trump is doing and what the impact of his governance is having on the American people. I can deal with those who see it differently than I do and, believe it or not, can learn from them.
Since we may do another show in the year to come, my hope is that more of you can participate and thereby share your views. My hope is also that people here and throughout the country will seek to be informed, to learn, to have basis for views and that there will be a whole lot less ridiculous, incendiary rumors and soundbites. I include myself in that, as well. For it is true that just as no one in a free society should yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater, no one should irresponsibly rattle off nonsense that is neither close to reality or that doesn’t contain a shred of truth.
From where I sit, this country is in better hands than it’s been in a long time but, as I said to the BBC, until the intentional distractions of mudslinging, dishonorable accusations and purposeful means of personal destruction cease, half of America will never believe it.
Not surprisingly, it’s the same half that never saw the results of November 8, 2016 coming.