Doing dishes and tidying the livingroom this morning, I put on Air America Radio as background entertainment. My general experience of the station is a repeated chant of "preaching to the choir" without much content or opinion I didn't already know or believe. The station also, of economic necessity, has dreadful repetitive annoying cheaply made commercials for annoying products and services I (and the bulk of the Left listening, I venture to say) do not want or need.
But there is value in preaching to the choir, at very least as balance to the dreadful preaching to the choir of Right-wing talk radio. It can be good to hear an "official" media voice reflect my perspective. It can be refreshing to hear dozens of callers phone in and none of them lament the lack of prayer in school, celebrate the greatness of owning guns, cheer on the destruction of the environment, or champion Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq, Katrina, or anything else he's "handled." And this is true even when the callers are as rhetorically ineffective as their Right-wing counterparts, because it reminds me that there actually are progressive bubbas out there.
Today I happened in upon the Jerry Springer radio show. It was the usual banter and series of repetitive callers and it felt as superficially comforting as always. But then Springer told one caller that things would turn around, and soon. I'm used to this line and to continuing to wait for the Democrats or a truly progressive third party to emerge and be the voice of the 70+% of this country who are well and truly sick unto death of every word that comes out of Bush, Rice, Cheney, and the rest of the current administration. I keep being told that the next election it will all change, but I'm still reeling from just how many people have taken so many years to see through the evil (and I don't use that word lightly) that is going on in Washington -- largely by Republicans but also by Democrats. And how many people (even if only 30+%) still have any confidence in "W." and his cronies.
But, somehow, Springer's words still penetrated my pessimistic and justly cynical mind. He said, simply, "Progressives always win." And, thank heavens, that actually is, relatively speaking and with multiple qualifications, true. Emancipation of the slaves did take place. Women do have the right to vote. Integration was made law. We do have a social security system. We do have some healthcare for the poor. One can join a union. I can write this blog, critical of the president, without being imprisoned. Again, all this is relative: I could write many times the number of sentences above about injustices and wrongs that have not and may never be addressed, both related to the rights above and to many other vital issues. I do realize all that. But, in the end, I do believe that progressives do move us forward in this country, however long and rocky the road, however many times we get one step forward and two steps back. It will not be soon enough, but sooner or later gay marriage will be a national right, we will have a liberal woman president and/or a president of color, the corporate capitalist mindset will give way to true democracy. I just hope I'm alive to see all of this and more and cheer it on with equal gusto to the deep sorrow and anxiety I feel about the state of the nation -- and most of the world -- right now.
However odd it is that Jerry Springer is on Air America saying "Progressives always win," I thank him for reminding me.