Sunday, June 25, 2006

Leon Gray/"Progressive" Talk

CROSS POST: Leon Gray/"Progressive Talk 680"/What is a "Progressive"?

I hate to say it, but I'm so glad Leon Gray is no longer on "Progressive Talk" 680 am. He was a very nice person, but sometimes listening to him was almost as frustrating as listening to Mike Flemming on the conservative talk 600 AM. In fact, I doubt many people could tell the difference between them if they listened to them side by side on issues like gay rights, abortion, school prayer, creationism v. evolution, etc.

It was on the issue of gay rights that Leon Gray really dropped the "progressive" ball. I've never heard anyone, conservative or liberal, become so unintelligible on the issue of homosexuality and gay rights as Leon Gray. He clearly had some personal religious hang ups that kept him from being able to fully understand gay issues or defend the civil rights of gays and lesbians. He just couldn't do it, despite some attempts, genuine I think, to learn about and reach out to the gay community.

The main problem for Leon Gray and many in the African-American community is that they do not want to "equate" the civil rights of gays with the civil rights struggle of African-Americans. Granted, there are some differences between blacks and gays. Being black is not the same thing as being gay. BUT, being black is also different from being Jewish, female, poor, buddhist, atheist, ect... All of these groups, including gay people, have been oppressed because of their "differences." Like all social minorities, gay people have been singled out for prejudice and discrimination because of their "difference" from the powerful majority. Leon Gray, and evidently, many African Americans, just cannot see the common theme of oppression of all social minorities

The issue, the basis, of civil rights, is NOT whether people can "choose" to be gay, etc., it is the social oppression of these groups! People can CHOOSE to be Christian fundamentlists or atheists, but they all have CIVIL RIGHTS. I'm tired of having the same old arguments about whether people "choose" to be gay or not.. it is IRRELEVANT! It is a smokescreen to confuse the real issues!

Another problem I see for the Democratic Party (especially in Shelby County) is that a large part of the African-American community is dominated by conservative religious fundamentalist churches and preachers. It is shocking to hear some of the anti-gay, anti-liberal rhetoric coming out of some of these black churches. (Some even take out full page ads in the newspaper attacking gays and lesbians!) The problem is that the predominantly fundamentalist black churches are part of the right-wing Religious Right! They share the same political and social beliefs as the Christian Right in the Republican Party!
How can the Democratic Party defend the separation of church & state, gay rights, abortion rights, etc. when a large part of its "base" is part of the Religious Right??

This is why Howard Dean went on the 700 Club to pander to the anti-gay religious fundamentalists, even "misstating" the Democratic Party platform on the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. This is why Harold Ford Jr. and other Democratic politicians in Tennessee are campaignign AGAINST the civil rights of gays and lesbians, including but not limited to marriage. It is a BIG problem which the Republicans are exploiting very successfully. The Democratic Party must either stand up and defend the principles of equality and social justice, or pander to the bigotry of the Religious Right and the Republican Party.

Back to Progressive Talk 680 AM, my advice is that Progressive Talk 680 AM replace Leon Gray with a REAL PROGRESSIVE. We need someone to take on the Republican and Religious Right. What does it mean to be "liberal" or "progressive"?? Leon Gray accused people like me of being too "intolerant" of different points of view among "progressive" Democrats. I don't think all progressives and liberals should or can agree on 100% of every issue, but there are some basic principles which should define what a "progressive/liberal" viewpoint is on an issue, and here are some very basic ones we SHOULD be able to agree on:

Separation of Church and State! This is NOT a Christian country! Defend the First Paragraph in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution! The government should NOT be promoting Christianity, the "Ten Commandments" or creationism in our public schools and institutions! Furthermore, the government cannot limit the reproducitive rights of people based on religious interpretations of scriptures!

Social Justice and Equality. This applies to ALL oppressed groups, including gays, lesbians, transgender people, women, blacks, hispanics, Jews, atheists, buddhists, etc... Civil Rights are for all, not just black people! And civil rights are not based on biological differences that people cannot choose or change! Whether people can choose to be gay, transgender or jewish is NOT the issue! Progressives should support social programs to promote the "social welfare" of its citizens, especially the poor, children, etc. Progressives should support the principle that basic necessities like healthcare, food and housing are a basic human right of all people.

Peace. Progressives and liberals should stand for peace, and oppose war unless absolutely "necessary" to DEFEND the United States. Progressives should oppose wasteful military spending and oppose illegally attacking on invading other countries.


There are a few basic principles "progressives" should agree on and defend.

I Hope Progressive Talk 680 will choose a local radio host who shares these principles. Leon Gray did NOT.

(I'm available on weekends :)

Jim Maynard
Queer Notes

7 Comments:

Blogger Brassmask said...

I concur.

Sunday, June 25, 2006 9:35:00 PM  
Blogger Freedonian said...

The main problem for Leon Gray and many in the African-American community is that they do not want to "equate" the civil rights of gays with the civil rights struggle of African-Americans...

This is something I wrote on the topic a few weeks ago.

"The New Sixty Percenters"

Monday, June 26, 2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Freedonian said...

Now, I certainly didn't like Leon's take on homosexuality. But that wasn't my biggest problem with him.

My biggest problem with him is that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting at least six people that know more about politics than he does.

I got out of the habit of listening to him simply because I would get annoyed by his constant bullshitting. Not lying outright--- Bullshitting. He didn't know any better and tried to fake his way through on any number of topics.

Last time I listened to him, he was agrreing with a Republican caller that insisted that all Social Security withholdings are applied towards the national debt. That's actually been illegal for a decade and a half now.

It served as a fitting bookend, considering that the first time I listened to him, he insisted that Japan and France were both communist dictatorships.

There's a time and a place for people who know nothing about politics to bloviate. It's called "anytime on right wing radio". Liberals have no business doing talk radio if we can't do it better than they do.

Monday, June 26, 2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Potrzebie Fershlugginer said...

Well said, Jim, and ditto to Freedonian. When Leon said, for example, that homosexuality inevitably leads to genocide, well, you knew you were listening to an idiot. And time and again his show was intellectually empty. He knew nothing about the history of the civil wasr, and was thus unable to counter effectively those sons and daughters of the CSA about the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue. He was way out of his league on evolution, resorting to the same strow-man arguments against it that Kirk Cameron often presents on Trinity Broadcasting. And then every once in a while he'd have that Brother Frank O. Taylor guy on, peddling patent medicinces and junk science. It was a pretty embarrasing show to listen to and think that this is what some people think of as a liberal.

680 worries me alot. It seems like it's barely hanging on, not selling enough ad time, filling up the dead air with the same history of Beale Street or dubious "Freak Files" on Yahoo Dragoman, recordings of about 5 regular "Blue Hotline" callers, and until this past week, the same lame Gray Matter commentaries and urgings to call the blue hotline or log onto their blog (which was often purged of entries and comments and had no regular postings save for the badly-edited text of Leon's Gray Matters).

So, it won't be missed, but it seems to bode ill for local liberals. It can serve as an exemplar of failure for the right, and it leaves the right wing as the only local liberal political viewpoint here in an election year. I guess they need to fill some airtime with somebody local, hopefully a real liberal, as per Jim's fairly open criteria above (we have a major broadcasting school in the area, so surely someone is out there and available). And I wish it were on in the mornings...I mean, Jerry Springer is a real snore, unless I suppose you're a baby boomer who doesn't listen to any other Air America shows.

Monday, June 26, 2006 8:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Maynard said...

I agree... Why does 680 keep airing the same stupid people who call in (If I hear any more from that idiot Repub Scott I will throw up), I have made several calls to their blue hotline and haven't heard of them yet.. maybe I talked too long... smeone said they heard me on there last week maybe they finally found enough time between the history of memphis crap to air my commentary on gay rights...

Jerry Springer really sucks, I think they should have a monring local program and leave Randi Rhodes on in the afternoon..

I like Al Frankken, but the best show on Air America is Rachel Maddow in the morning.. god she deservers more national air time.. she has a Ph.D. in political science! Smart, funny and entertaining... she is a perfect radio personality...

I would love to do it, but I don't have radio experience, but I'm sure I could do better than Mike Flemming and Leon Gray... (once I learn how to push the buttons on the radio equipment :)

Jim
"the militant homo"

Monday, June 26, 2006 9:06:00 PM  
Blogger Freedonian said...

Personally, I think the best show on AA is "Ring of Fire". Robert Kennedy Jr. is the brightest guy on the radio today, and his partner, Mike Pappantonio (Christ, don't hold me to that spelling) more than holds his own, while actually serving as a brash, opinionated host.

I realize that it's probably easier to be brilliant for two hours a week than fifteen hours a week, but they should see if those guys can do more time.

Thank you, fershlugginer.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger Timewalker said...

I actually don't mind Jerry that much. I think he usually has some interesting points, but the average listener will be put off by thinking he's playing the same role he does on the TV show. He could use a more exciting co-host, much like Al could use someone since Katherine Lampher (sp?) left.

But, yeah, given the choice I would rather have a local show on in the morning than a) losing Randi's last hour and 2) trying to compete with Fleming. And what they need is a team. Two or three Progressives with differing viewpoints, but with a common base to work from, to show that you don't have to be in lock step on every issue, but that you agree on those basic principles. Black/White, Male/Female, Gay/Straight, Christian/Atheist/Muslim/Jew, etc. A cross-section instead of one stodgy black guy who makes everything about race and doesn't know the facts about half of what he is talking about.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 1:59:00 PM  

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