Saturday, April 02, 2005

Left of the Dial

I'm the youngest of 3 children. My sister is 48, my brother is 44, & I'll be 40 this Tuesday. My mother was a "dyed in the wool" Democrat, while my dad didn't have any affiliation until later in life when he came to his senses. His father, my Grandpa Manny, was a staunch liberal. He hated Nixon as much as I hate Dubya.

Looking back over our mostly liberal upbringing, I am confused over my sister's political leanings. While I'm on the far left, she leans toward the right. However, she did know enough not to vote for Bush in the last election.

She loves Bill O'Reilly. Yep, I said it. She watches his show every night and reads every book he writes.

The other night I watched the excellent HBO documentary, Left of the Dial. I'm sure everyone reading this knows about it, but if you don't:

In early 2004, a group of investors set out to launch a liberal radio network that would challenge the dominance of America's airwaves by conservative talk radio. The creative, financial and logistical challenges were immense, but on March 31, Air America Radio became a reality. LEFT OF THE DIAL chronicles the trials and tribulations involved in starting up - and sustaining - a nationwide radio network during a highly charged election year.

Bill O'Reilly claims that he's an independent, which you & I know is bullshit, but my sister believes him when he says that. That being said, I'd like to share with you an argument I had with her last night over dinner:

Me: Being that there are hundreds (or more) right-wing talk radio shows in America, why was Bill O'Reilly so full of glee during Air America's rough start when they almost went down?

Her: Because he hates Al Franken.

Me: But Franken is just one part of the whole station.

Her: Because he hates Al Franken.

I wasn't getting anywhere, so I asked: Why are all the right-wingers so against one little radio station? They have 99.9% of the airwaves. All we have is one little station.

Her: Because you guys have the New York Times & The Washington Post.

Me: (sarcastically) Yeah, Joe Bob from Alabama is reading the New York Times. Besides what you call "liberal," we call the truth.

That ended the conversation (and the food came.)

When I got home, I couldn't resist - I emailed her this article from Media Matters: Bill O'Reilly: MISINFORMER OF THE YEAR

We haven't talked much today.


Friar Tuck said...

My step mother things Fox News really is fair and balanced, and gets mad at me when I watch Hardball! HA!

Fun blog, even if I am a Republican. Have a great day.

sleepybomb said...

i go home to new orleans about every 6 months. my oldest sis and her hubby are staunch repubs, watching fox news until all odd hours of the odd night.
it must be his influence.
we were brought up very liberal, (i remember the whole family crying during the election after kennedy was shot, complaining if he was still alive this wouldn't happen).
i am seriously thinking about the fox blocker thingy, but i just dissed fox blues from my fave button. . .
things are so bad lately that the t.v. is off anyways, but for the marx bros and buster dvds that are on while i work.
still, i dread going back home to the bush empire's glad handling ways of my sis.
jeesh, how many days left?

Lizzy said...

just 2! (AAAHHH!)

When are you going to get one of your blogs up & running, sleepybomb?

Jim Marquis said...

I get real skeptical when I hear somebody call themselves an "independent". Usually that's a loophole used to deny culpability when the side they actually support does something stupid.

M said...

Wow - knowing your sis for all these years I had no idea. It surprises me, just based on knowing a little bit of her life experiences.

Lizzy said...

I agree completely, J. It's a total cop-out.

Moto, It doesn't make sense to me either. Chalk it up to the power of right-wing radio & Faux News.

Snave said...

In our family:

Me - moderate in some areas, but mostly left

My wife - further to the left than me

My dad - pretty far right Republican on guns and most social issues, but pro-environment and pro-choice (he's a reformed pro-lifer)

My mom - moderate Republican, detests Rush Limbaugh

My teenagers - to the left of center (so far, so good)

Brother-in-law #1 - very far right (Christian fundamentalist, close to being a reconstructivist, and
Sister-in-law #1 - Seems to believe whatever husband believes

Sister-in-law #2 and her live-in - both are to the left of me

Brother-in-law #2 and his wife - don't really care too much, but they don't like Dubya and didn't vote for him

So, the only political discussions I ever get in with family members are with my mom and dad. Dad and I mostly just agree to disagree on politics, but there are lots more things about life we do agree on than things we don't. He's in poor health, and we are past the point of agitating each other.

I don't even bother to argue with Brother-in-law #1 or his wife, because there is no way they would ever agree with my political views. They have a strong dislike for government in most any shape or form, especially when it comes to education, taxes and social programs. Besides, I don't believe the earth is only 6K years old, dinosaurs were put on earth by Satan to tempt people away from God, or that the Constitution ought to be replaced with the Bible. I don't bring up politics with them, because I happen to think that despite all that, they're nice people. And they're family!

I wish I had brothers or sisters. Talking about politics with a sibling might be lots of fun!

Lizzy said...

When it comes to family, you are absolutely right. We can agree to disagree and still love each other.

Snave said...

And it IS o.k. to want to wring a family member's neck at times... ? 8-)>