After publishing my two books last year, I’ve been promoting them on different podcasts. "The Death of Fairness" is open for political discussion because of the subject, rescinding a Doctrine that I believe is responsible for the political divide in America. The memoir, “Come Get Me Mother, I’m Through,” chronicles my broadcasting history, the forced retirement due to a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and my wife’s mission to find us personal peace in a very trying time.
The first interview request came from the “Liberty Lighthouse Podcast,” hosted by Peter Serefine. The title gave me an idea of who I’d be speaking to, most likely a right-wing conservative and I wasn’t wrong. He wanted to discuss “The Death of Fairness,” my short story tale about what happened to a small American town after President Ronald Reagan rescinded the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987, a simple FCC rule, requiring radio and TV stations grant equal time for contrasting points of view on topics important to the community. Without it, lies are told without debate. This one decision has affected the psyche of our society and is the genesis of the political divide we suffer.
Conservatives consider Reagan their messiah, the most important Republican in their lifetime, and questioning any of his administration's decisions is often met with total contempt. Podcast host Serefine was open to discussing all aspects of the “Fairness Doctrine” and by the end of the podcast, a right-wing Conservative agreed with my position that the return to some form of the “Fairness Doctrine” would be good for both political parties.
The next few interviews were about “Come Get Me Mother, I’m Through.” In feedback from women who’ve read the book, they love this story because it features my career, my life-changing diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and how my wife has afforded me the best life possible. It chronicles her growth as a caregiver, her successes in Real Estate, and her new position as a business career coach. The interviews have been fun, informative and often I believe they’d rather be talking to my wife than me but... I’m funnier (don’t repeat that). One interviewer was based in Las Vegas, another from Prague, Czechoslovakia and I didn’t ask where the others were positioned. How Damianne President, a wonderful Caribbean lady, ended up in Prague is still unknown. She was interviewing me so I never had the chance to ask the question.
The most thought-provoking podcast was with a gentleman in Great Britain who wanted to discuss my memoir. Dr. Russell Thackeray of the “Resilience Unravelled Podcast” is a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years’ experience in assisting individuals and organizations to achieve goals by building on accountability and resilience. He believes my battle with Multiple Sclerosis has revealed my “Resilience.”
The standard procedure for recording these interviews is to click on the Zoom link 5 minutes before the scheduled podcast in order to trade simple greetings and correct any last-minute tech glitches. I was distracted here at the house when it was time to connect with Dr. Thackery and didn’t click the link until 3 minutes before the scheduled recording time.
What started as a quick exchange of “how-do-you-dos” turned into an explanation that “British listeners will need to know something about you before we start talking about your book so I’ll need to explore some issues before we get to your work. We’re a little different that way.” I told him not to worry, I’d be ready to talk about anything he desired but warned if he wanted to stay on his time schedule, in my best DJ voice said, “You should stay away from current events in America.” He laughed and mentioned oftentimes, the best part of his interviews happen before hitting the record button for the podcast. It was “pre-show gold” because it was packed with insight from both sides of the Atlantic on the current state of affairs around the planet, the worldwide response to the first Pandemic of the 21st Century and the global protests happening after the world witnessed the death of George Floyd on television. Twenty-one minutes later, he insisted we stop the “pre-show gold” and start recording the podcast.
Russell began mining “gold” by saying how shocked he’d been watching the changes to the “great” United States of America in the past three-and-a-half years and insisted, all in his country were equally concerned. I could only shake my head. He said something like ‘all the great institutions and beliefs of the American people have disappeared, and the world is watching very closely.’ I could only agree and nod my head, because, after all, Dr. Thackeray is a Clinical Psychologist.
He asked my thoughts on the current events and I replied with what I’ve said a thousand times, “I knew America was in trouble since the day Donald Trump came down that escalator. I’d watched his lack of business prowess for years.” “But mostly,” I said, “I can’t stand all the lying” and gave him a quick lesson on the Fairness Doctrine, when Ronald Reagan effectively made lies legal without debate. He replied by telling me he too was surprised at the lies being told in the highest office in our land. He went on to point out that a person caught in a lie, misconduct or had any smudge on a resume would never make it into the ruling Parliament of Great Britain, to which I could only nod my head because, after all, Dr. Thackeray is a Clinical Psychologist.
It distresses me to know the world is concerned about my country. I’m a military brat and red, white, and blue have pulsed through my veins since being born in that Navy hospital in Charleston, S.C. I’ve reaped the benefits of our country for 65 years, as my military father and his military father have. I’ve traveled the world and have always been proud to say, “I’m an American.” I’m not sure how that would be received today.
Dr. Thackery asked me what I believed the future would hold. Admittedly, I fumbled for an answer. The trust I’ve always had in those responsible for running my country has vanished. Regardless of who was President, I’ve always had faith the Commander in Chief had the interests of all Americans in mind. It’s hard to admit but in this current situation, you’d have to convince me otherwise. I said I’m a proud American, I have faith in my fellow Americans and believe the youth of our country to be the smartest of all generations and regardless of current events, we’d be coming out on top again soon. I asked him where he thought American was headed.
Dr. Thackery believes it too will be America’s youth who will push the country back to our glory. He proclaimed the generation of World War 2 birthed the “Baby Boomers” and he pointed out America, the greatest country of the later part of the 20th Century, was built by the Boomers. With this being the most colossal global disaster since WW2, it’s his belief today’s young Americans, those you are seeing of the streets in big and small towns of our country, who are on high alert and hungry for change at this time in history, will bring the United States of America back to its place as the most important country on planet earth. I thought he was being quite profound and somewhat more optimistic than I. But I liked it, so I’ll hold onto it.
We eventually got around to recording the podcast and he interviewed me about my books. I can’t tell you how it went. I can’t stop thinking about the “pre-show gold” conversation because, after all, Dr. Thackeray is a Clinical Psychologist.
Until next time,
Peace, and wear a mask.