An Open Letter to a Naughty Podcaster
Dear Person Who Shall Remain Nameless in Order to Preserve Whatever Shred of Credibility You Might Still Have Among Your Listeners,
Although for years you’ve railed against big banks, multi-national corporations, and the rich (mostly white) folks who benefit from quotidian financial chicanery, when a candidate for President of the United States, Bernie Sanders, recently offered a political platform that sounds as though it was a transcript of your show, your initial pronouncement about him (and Elizabeth Warren) was: “he’s great, but he’s not going to run, so let’s not even talk about Bernie.”
Then, less than two weeks after your confident dismissal, Bernie Sanders officially announced his candidacy. You’ve taken to mispronouncing his name as “Saunders,” but his campaign is still very much alive, drawing tens-of-thousands in every region of America, particularly at those places where folks reject American business-as-usual, as symbolized by the military-industrial-war-machine curated by politicians with names like Bush and Clinton.
You steadfastly refuse to support the most progressive major-party candidate in our lifetime, since he does not have a vagina. You recently announced (on air) that the next time someone asks if you’re voting for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman, you’re going to reply, “Are you voting for Bernie Sanders because he’s a grumpy old man?” Well, since you asked: No. We’re voting for Sanders because he most closely represents our ideas and ideals on a wide range of issues, including many of your pet projects, like the Equal Rights Amendment (for women), the closure of private prisons, and free education and healthcare for all. Tell us, Podcaster, what ideas and ideals of yours does Hillary closely represent? A robust military? A burgeoning drone force to execute extra-judicial killings? Welfare “reform”?
Of course you’re entitled to your opinions. And you’re entitled to look ridiculous as you bloviate out one side of your mouth about the ills of the world and, out the other side, downplay the candidacy of the one guy who actually agrees with your lefty pronouncements. But what you really should not do, Naughty Podcaster, is announce on-air that Bernie Sanders “can’t win.”
Statements like “he won’t run” are harmless prognostication errors. Telling a growing movement of progressive, socially conscious agents of change, folks who listen to your podcast and can’t make sense of your cognitive dissonance, that the candidate who most closely mirrors the politics you’ve been espousing on-air “can’t win” is downright discouraging, demoralizing and cynical. You’re not being realistic; you’re confessing your own hopelessness.
You’re not helping. You’re hurting.
You may be defeated, Podcaster, resigned to the things-have-always-been-this-way model that you so eloquently eviscerate when it’s someone else invoking their wish to cling to the past. But many of us sincerely believe that better ideas and better intentions will get us better results. When the revolution comes, when all the high-minded hoo-hah you like to spew (then dismiss as fantastical) becomes manifest in real political change, you’re going to finally understand why credibility, like a reputation, takes a long time to build and a short time to destroy.