Sunday, July 06, 2008

'Ron from Texas' and Gays with Guns vs. the 'Collectivist Left Borg'

Listener Ron from Texas has caused quite a stir in the comments on the post about the death of Jesse Helms. Some people are perplexed and others, I bet, think he's just a right-wing troller disguised as a queer.

For those who aren't listeners to my radio program, Ron is actually a regular listener to the show who used to call in regarding law enforcement issues, often with positions that gave wide latitude to the police (like allowing them to use a taser on anyone they see fit for any reason). Ron is a right-wing conservative Texan who works the oil rigs and thinks Barack Obama is a Marxist -- and Ron also is female-to-male transgender man. I think he certainly challenges our notion of inclusiveness and of the definition of the LGBT community.

Ron is just one of many conservative, libertarian, contrarian and completely-hard-to-put-in-any-category listeners to the show from across the U.S. and Canada -- and they run the gamut in sexual identity: Straight, gay, bi, trans, questioning, closeted, you name it. Though my liberal progressive political views and those of the vast majority of listeners are clear, these people are nonetheless attracted to the show and actively engage it. We even have one listener, Cedric from Wyoming, who is a closeted gay African-American man who speaks on behalf of the closeted (and attacks me for criticizing closeted people and calling for people to come out). Perhaps it is because they, like us, are misfits of one kind or another, even if their differences don't gel with ours.

But I think there's something else. Talk radio (liberal talk radio, that is), perhaps much more than the liberal blogs in general, attracts people with different views and keeps them coming back -- instead of it all breaking down in a flame out with trolling freaks banned forever from the comments, as happens on the blogs often. Part of it, I think, is that a host and producers can more strictly play referee. And the truth is, I encourage these people and welcome them to the show: The only way we're going hash out differences -- and become sharper in our viewpoints -- is to argue about them. Obviously, the culture of the show plays out, somewhat, here on the blog here too, though we'll see how long that lasts.

Anyway, I say all of this as a preface to the clip below from the show from last week, which I chose to post because it will give people (non-listeners especially) a fuller picture of Ron. In the clip, I'm reading some listener survey responses and I reference back to Ron having criticized our Clips of the Week feature. I then read some comments (which are also posted here from Saturday) from a Canadian listener, and one from a gay gun advocate who criticizes me and the "collectivist" left (but loves the show), but all keeps coming back to Ron from Texas, right up to the end of the clip. I think it gives you a sense of the show and the wide range of listeners (including all the Canadians!), and just some of the fun we have as well, with these various characters and with ourselves.