For The Times They Are A Changin'

Jul 1, 2016

“Sumer is Icumen In” goes the song. I sang it in the Hunter College chorus (59-63) (where the girls were) and it made the point that the summer season is very special. The wonderful snowbird friends of WAMC, many of whom have been listening on their WAMC apps, are back. People are swimming. Tanglewood and SPAC will soon be going full steam, all the summer theater anyone could ever want is available throughout our listening area and the birds are making sounds to rival anything that we mortals may have composed.

It’s interesting how the character of the radio station changes with the seasons. Just as different plants bloom at different times, our human spirit changes and so does our programming. But, make no mistake about it -- along with the wondrous changes in nature come changes in our politics. We are about to have political conventions that will engender great debate on our morning Roundtable panel. During the fund drive we heard a great deal about the back and forth on the panel. I think it’s safe to say that the program is a great success and most people follow the rules of civility when they write in with their comments, which we ask to be contained to a few sentences with no outside links included. Of course, there are those who feel compelled to write in that they will no longer support the station because of something that one of us may have uttered (“…and the pig got up and slowly walked away.”)

This summer will cap off a year of surprises and we will see conventions where anything can happen. Questions are popping up. Will all hell break loose with the supporters of Bernie Sanders at the Democratic convention? What will Bernie insist on as a price to support Hillary? Who will Hillary choose for her running mate? Will the Hillary-ites develop a strategy for bringing the Bernie-ites back into the fold? Will the Bernie people defect to the Jill Stein Greens? Each of these questions will be explored again and again. Unlike the NPR analysis, which is by necessity limited to the fairly obvious, you can be sure that Rosemary and Libby and Rich and Joe and I will reach a little further.

On the Trump side, there are many, many questions to be explored. Will there be a revolution of the Republican establishment types who are furious at Trump and scared to death that his candidacy will result in the decimation of the Republican Party? Will some of the Republicans jump to the Libertarian Party, headed by two Republican ex-governors who have proven to be more to the liking of the non-Trump group? Will money be a huge differential in the election? How dirty will Trump get in going after Hillary? We have already seen that he doesn’t mind calling her names or raising questions of Bill Clinton’s infidelities that somehow he ties to Hillary.

One of the reasons why the Roundtable loves to take e-mails and every other form of social communication is that your voice is terribly important. The same thing is true of our Vox Pop programming. It’s wonderful to hear all of the various opinions about what’s going on. Hey, it’s your show and even if I think that some of what some people say is a little off the charts, it’s great to know that you are out there and concerned and checking in. A lot of the pundits have gotten this wrong from the very beginning. I am one of a large crowd of so-called analysts who got the Trump thing all wrong and it turns out that the few people who originally thought that Trump would prevail and who called in to say so were right. So don’t you see? Degrees like my Ph.D. in political science are nice but our listeners are pretty smart.

We may never see another political year like this one so we can all look forward to fun and maybe being terrified.