Radio Daze

While laying awake in the very early hours of the day, waiting to snooze a bit more, I figured let’s listen to some radio, and let a bit of this and that enter my mind. It is a matter of trying to re-direct one’s thoughts from you-know-what to you never know what. Not seeking a musical interlude as much as some non-you-know-what spoken content, I fished around the dial, with low expectations.

After dismissing the sports station’s babble about pro baseball and the monetary machinations between billionaire owners and adult men paid in the serious seven-figures to play a game for 6 months a year, I was profoundly lacking in concern at the moment (mind you the discussion seemed to be oblivious to the literally impossible task of keeping the players, coaches, staff and others safe from being infected while playing their sport). I went up the dial and landed on an early morning talk show aired on a bonafide progressive station (a finding as rare as a empathetic utterance by the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue). After a couple of minutes of listening to this show’s topic of discussion, I lay wondering if the host or her guest had any idea of the irony involved in their expressions of disappointment and disapproval regarding one Mr.Joe Biden. You know, the Democratic Party’s preferred choice to march into electoral battle with Mr. Sensitivity at 1600 Penn Ave.

Evidently, JB uttered a clearly insensitive, clumsy-ass thought during one of his rare appearances in the media (seriously, Joe is the invisible man). He said something along the lines that if an African American were to vote for his opponent come this November’s election, then “you ain’t black”. Okay. Given that JB is white, that’s a pretty demeaning, presumptuous assertion. I understand the political, knee-jerk mentality of his utterance, since the African American vote has been overwhelmingly Democratic for decades. I think he was trying to say, is that the Democrats actually care about black lives, as opposed to the standard issue Republican office holder virtually at any level. Thus, Joe’s logic dictates that…

The irony I felt as I listened had to do with connecting a few dots regarding how Joe Biden became the face of the Democratic Party for election 2020 in the first place. Mind you, the two radio voices belonged to two Afro-American women.

The secondary, non-host (I assume an invited guest) was rattling off a laundry list of things that Biden should apologize for, starting with the “you ain’t black” blunder, and then onto a litany of other perceived affronts to the the Afro-American community. It was at that point that I concluded this was absolute nonsense. Why? Here’s why: so Joe Biden has revealed who he is, that being a standard issue mouthpiece for a party that takes the black vote for granted. Of course that is who is he. He is a very old school, corporate democrat. They talk the social, economic, ethnic, racial, we are all the same agenda. Then when they do actually have the power and leverage to walk that walk, they sell out for a status quo, play-it-safe, go-along-to-get-along end game. Seriously, They talk the talk, but not since forever it seems has the national Democratic Party really ever walked the walk on striving for equality for all Americans, blacks and other minorities included. Equality? It has long been pretty ugly (and now made grotesque by Covid-19).

The irony of the radio program’ s speakers venting their spleen about “you ain’t black”–for me, as a white listener–is that it was the Afro-American community that literally resurrected Biden’s candidacy. Keep in mind that Joe Biden was a grade-A ho-hum candidate from the moment he decided to run for president, and up to the so-called “super Tuesday” Democratic primary battles. Biden, after the first three primaries, which were the New Hampshire, Iowa, and then–less historically overblown in importance–Nevada, was fading as fast as a gimpy nag in the feature race at Pimlico. It was Bernie Sanders who was the front runner. Bernie won New Hampshire with three times the votes for Biden. He won Iowa, while Biden finished FIFTH. Sanders won Nevada, beating Biden by 40% to 19% in that vote.

Bernie had the momentum, and the progressive, lift all boats proposals that put him in the lead. Which scared the shit out of the play-it-safe, no interloper progressives allowed DNC (same as in 2016).

Then came South Carolina. And with it, James Clyborn. Clyborn is a native, African American South Carolinian. He is the third ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He is an old school Dem, too, now 79 years of age. It was Clyborn who urged his fellow Afro-Americans in South Carolina to go out and vote for Biden, who according to Clyborn was the guy looking out for your Afro-American futures. Bernie Sanders? The guy who wants Medicare for all, and affordable if not free education? The Green New Deal? The candidate who champions an economic system that truly wants to serve all people, regardless of skin color, gender, and so on.? Bernie, the guy with decades of progressive, we the people calls to action? Why vote for him?

Yeah, that white guy. He made a big impact four years ago running on his ideas for a more egalitarian governing structure. Until he was sabotaged by the DNC.

But that was 2016. Now, in 2020 here came Jim Clyborn, who revealed his pro-status quo, don’t rock the boat, middling, wussy, play-to-lose devotion to the national Democratic Party and who carried sway with the black vote when that South Carolina primary came around. And sway his consrituents he did. The Afro-American vote in S.C. gave Biden a resounding victory over Bernie, the guy whose political agenda would clearly serve everyone, not just the entrenched power brokers. Such as James Clyborn (who knows damn well better, having grown up in South Carolina during Jim Crow days). But power is hardly ever easily shared. Clyborn played the DNC system and worked his way up. Good for him. However, when it came down to demonstrating he, too, at a crucial point in political importance to the put-upon and left behinds, was ready to say enough!, he wasn’t about to abandon the DNC’s corporate interests. He championed the corporate Joe Biden. He did the DNC’s bidding, while having to know Sander’s proposals addressed vital changes that desperately needed acting upon. Biden? A reformer? Please!

The woman demanding Biden make all the apologies she felt he owned the black community seemed unable to connect the dots that I was connecting. Biden is a lost cause. Biden is about to become irrelevant, and he is the BIG Name for the entrenched Democrats. Def-Con FIVE at the DNC! It gets Clyborn to shill for Biden in S.C. and Biden wins big. Then Super Tuesday follows and–surPRIZE! Buttigeig and Klobachar announce they are dropping out of the race just before Super Tuesday, throwing their support to Biden. Biden is suddenly–astoundingly, actually– quite relevant and now positioned to push Sanders aside, as Sanders was pushed aside in 2016.

The media ate up the Joe is Back narrative. Bernie who? Corporate media likes corporate Joe. And now Joe Biden is the guy.

Right. Joe Biden is the guy who says “you ain’t black” unless you blacks votes for him. As if race is supposed to even matter, huh? But it was the Afro-American vote that saved invisible Joe Biden. He’s the 2020 candidate who’s ideas will vanquish the buffoon at 1600 Pennsylvania supossedly. What ideas? If the Afro-American voters who went for Biden would have actually judged each on their track record and current ideas, it would seem to be clear who would best represent them. But I guess Clyborn pounded home the propaganda about Bernie being too radical and never being able to enact his policies even if he got elected. Bullshit. White, black, brown, yellow or rainbow, each voter should vote objectively, not just allow themselves to be given marching orders from anyone else.

Thus I lay and snickered at how ridiculous was the umbrage taken with the white candidate that these two radio voices had issues with when it was their very own fellow Afro-Americans who resurrected his candidacy in South Carolina. Ladies. Your fellow Afro-American political forces created the candidate who so unsurprisingly said “you ain’t black”. Now you choose to question his judgement?

What’s that expression? Oh, right. Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.

The moral of this blog entry is: don’t listen to radio talk shows, unless you just want it to serve as white noise (not my term, so please don’t call me a racist). Just roll over and try not to think about any of this horseshit. Roll over. Go back to sleep. If you can…

But, as with the last sentence of Hemingway’s short story, A Clean, Well Lighted Place put it: “It is only insomnia. Many must have it”.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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2 Responses to Radio Daze

  1. “Bernie, the guy with decades of progressive, we the people calls to action.”
    I agree with what you wrote. Bernie would be the one who stands for making ALL of the middle class and the poor lives better. Biden is a corporate owned stooge who will mildly ‘talk the talk’ for a while and then accomplish not much.
    However, I will vote for Biden. He is miles ahead of the Orange Virus that currently infects the WH.

    I wish Twitter would get the guts to close out his Twitter account. He uses it to bully, spread falsehoods, criticize opponents and RULE this country. Trump uses this media to spread his hatred, lies and fear to the public. He should NOT have this platform to misinform the public.


  2. Trenchant perspective on how the uninspiring, non-progressive Joe Biden went from a slim chance at winning the Democratic presidential primary to becoming a shoe in. Question remains, how many will bother to vote for him in a year where voting may even be hazardous to one’s health?


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