It’s the eve of the 2018 midterm election, and you’d think Racquel Welch just lifted up her bikini top. Or Roger Triemstra called for a snowstorm in July. Richard J. Daley bought ballet shoes. Selena Gomez shot a basketball.
There is so much absurdity going around, I don’t know where to start.
Let’s start with this. I took off from doing the show this morning ostensibly because I have a wicked toothache. But it turns out the team of dental experts that I consulted today won't do anything. They’re taking a wait and see stance on my back molar. In the old days, they’d hook a string around the tooth and tie the other end to a door knob.
And then shut the door. Wham. Done with it. A little blood on the hardwood floor, but no more tooth pain. I want to scratch my eyes out from the throbbing. Instead, I’m watching CNN.
Don Lemon and some really old white guy are trying to figure out if Trump’s anti-immigration stance is going to work in tomorrow’s election. Trump re-tweeted a commercial that Fox, CNN, Facebook and others wouldn’t run. They thought it was too racist.
Not the president. He held it up as a shining example of what is going on in this country.
By the way, what is going on in this country? I have no idea. I am one of just a few people in America who tries at least to be a little independent of all of the influences - and who happens to own his or her own media.
I host the morning show.
I own the radio station.
And I own another radio station and, now, a streaming video network. It’s a lot to live up to on a day when all you want to do is take a pair of pliers to the inside of your mouth.
What I’m trying to say before the pain pills wear off is that I’m starting to realize that maybe I am the last unattached radio station in America. I’m not the last unattached radio host. I am, for better or worse, attached at the hip to a Mexican with an attitude. But as far as political favor goes, I wish that I could care less. Or care more. Instead, I’m enjoying this wild ride.
Beto O’Rourke vs. Ted Cruz in Texas.
Joe Donnelly vs. Mike Braun here in Indiana.
By the way, in the time it took me to sit through a Business Analytics course tonight, I scheduled:
6:20 – Mike Braun, the Republican Senate challenger
6:40 – Joe Donnelly, the current Democratic senator
7:15 – Todd Rokita, a Republican congressman
7:30 – Eddie Melton, a Democratic state senator
The three or four of you who faithfully read this blog might think – Wow, JED sure is popular. And maybe I am, for just a moment. But I don’t feel it at all. I don’t feel a strong part of the democratic process, a reveler in the fairness of the constitution, a proud purveyor of the dying craft of journalism.
Instead, I just feel used.
And I like it. Don’t get me wrong. I understand my duty. It’s to interview all of these people in a relatively fair manner. And you know how you get to be fair. There’s only really one way –
You don’t give a shit.
I’m sorry, grandpa Dedelow. I tried to care about elected leaders. Instead, I follow sports religiously. I developed an acceptance of whatever happens, happens. It’s out of my control. Might as well just enjoy the entertainment.
And make no mistake, with Donald Trump as president there is more entertainment going around than there ever has been in the history of this proud country. He even said so tonight at a rally in Fort Wayne, not too far from here. I would have gone but I had statistics class, which I hate.
Trump did this thing where he put his finger to his head and said – “We’re driving Democrats crazy, loco.” It’s funny as hell. It really is. He knows it too. And there’s truth to it, which is more than you can say about most of the president’s comments.
Trump’s got Democrats’ number. He’s got them by the balls. Trump has a plan, a unifying ideology. Sometimes, that’s all people want. They just want something to follow, especially in uncertain times.
Democrats - What do they have? I really don’t know. I’ll ask Joe Donnelly and Eddie Melton in the morning what the overriding vision of the Democrats is these days. Maybe they can clear it up.
Do the three of you remember how I would do the radio show, say, four or five years ago and say – “You know, I don’t know why people just don’t come out and say how they feel about the other races. They do in private life. They don’t in public life.”
Part of this is that I look like a guy who could be a racist. I wear jeans and flannel shirts, got a bunch of facial hair, wear a baseball hat once in a while. And I spit a lot. I’m a hocker guy. You could just picture me lathering up the bar with a few N words and S words.
Maybe it’s because of my looks as a possible white racist. Or maybe it’s because I get real quiet when people talk politics outside of being on the air. For whatever reason, sometimes other white guys, or even white women, share their feelings about other races with me. Sometimes it’s subtle. Sometimes the N word comes out.
How I react to this is not part of this discussion. What is part of this discussion is that for a long time I wondered why we couldn’t just have people with these feelings come out of the shadows and say them out loud. On the radio.
And now we have it. Donald Trump speaks not necessarily for white racists, but certainly for white people who feel that the country is threatened by brown and black people. It’s a real fear. And white people have as much right to ban together as black or brown people.
But it’s the tone that I have trouble with. Here I am bemoaning that we don’t really say what we mean when we talk about race, and then when we do, it’s so ugly I’d really rather go back to the days when we minded our manners.
This is enough for election eve. I gotta get up and, with or without pain pills, interview a bunch of people. I can’t wait til it’s over. My co-host for Tuesdays, however, will be in her element. Verlie Suggs loves this shit. Everything that goes into election day and all of the campaigns and the people and the issues. That’s why we make a decent pair on the radio. She cares. I want to care.
I have come to the conclusion that I really am a rare breed in America and that the only reason I can be that rare breed – a political slacker – is that I own the media. If I didn’t own it, then it would be different. I’d have to make some other person money, and to do that these days, you gotta take a side.
Part of the reason that the Region allows me to stay out of it – or be out of it – is ownership. But there’s something else at work – tradition. WJOB has been, for the most part, an independent radio station since the 1920s. I know that it was when I worked for Julian Colby here in the mid-80s.
Maybe the Region not only accepts that we stay out of the fray – they expect it. I am only carrying out my marching orders from the thousands of Region people who come to us every day, especially during election season.
“Stay independent, JED, no matter how much I hate you.” That seems to be the message. If you would hand me a red hot poker right now, I’d stick it in my mouth up against my bad tooth and brand the damn thing to high heaven. I’d take another pain pill, but it wouldn’t wear off in time to do the show in the morning. I’d wind up asking Joe Donnelly what he thinks about the new Grateful Dead album. And I’d point out to Mike Braun that Pocahontas was the original Mexican. And then I’d not remember Todd Rokita – again – even though he’s been an Indiana congressman for a long time AND he went to high school with my sister.
And, Eddie who?
Nope. No more pain pills. They make me want to type and gripe at the same time, and that’s never fun. What you wind up with is a typer who gripers only because he doesn’t care and just wants to get a few laughs from the dentist’s chair before the election is over. If that happens, Katie bar the door.
What if these are the final days?
you can find your way around traffic,
but you can’t prolong your life.
A vacuum sits unused in the hall closet
except for when the housekeeper comes.
What if these are the final days?
Balloons for the precincts
Apple taffy for the kids.
Flesh melts due to uncategorized illness.
An old man snores mightily
under a bridge.
On the way to a five and dime,
a future farmer of America
picks up some crack. A gun
bought in Indiana kills a
child on the south side.
Don’t forget that we sit on an
arsenal that can blow up our
world several times over. This
is a comforting thought on the
way to the freezer for
more ice cream.
If Anderson says it’s true,
then it must be. He’s a Vanderbilt,
after all. A post-apocalypitc world
would probably not feature
political pep rallies. Neither
would a famine-filled one.
What if we are in the last days?
The final days would not announce
themselves with trumpets and
ribbon. Our demise could sneak
silently into our midst and then
just allow us to attack each other.
The grim reaper would not have to
do anything. He could simply just be.
We would take care of the rest.
For a blue planet with mountain
ranges from space, we do a piss
poor job of living up to the
scenery. We’re on the way to
madness. Along the way we argue.
It could be that this is human nature,
survival, savagery. We are at our base
animals who want to live to watch TV
another day. But what if these are the
final days? What should we do now?
Can you prep for the apocalypse?
Can you lay your bed?
There’s God and space and
we’re all interlaced.
It’s something mom once said.
Always bargain from a position
of strength. Just Do It now
Build a home, a job, a family life
that you can call your own.
What if these are the final days
and this your last poem,
written by a frickin cracker jack,
half Polish and Samoan?
In the final days, there’ll be a high-pitched sqeal.
That’s all you need to know. Listen for it. Absorb
the gravity of the situation. Eat your favorite meal.
Take a nap. Don’t mow the lawn. Kiss. Hug. Snuggle.