Progressive Populism

I need to get this off my chest. I’ve listened to Ed Fallon’s radio show twice. Both times, he was rude to, put down, and generally scoffed at people calling in with a conservative voice, but enthusiastically took every liberal caller’s opinion very seriously. One show, it was so bad, he was treating a caller like they were an expert on the subject because they were a college professor – for a subject that had NOTHING to do with the topic at hand. Honestly, I’ve forgotten the details, it was within a month or two of the show’s debut. I have no problems with Ed Fallon personally. I disagree with his politics. I don’t even mind the bias in the show – certainly, the talk radio shows I listen to have their own bias – but at least at the time I was listening, many callers and many Facebook commenters were all about how much better Ed was than all those other shows that shut down people who call with dissenting opinions. Pot… Kettle… you know.

Anyway. What I really wanted to write about was their radio commercial. They are about Progressive Populism. Progressive as in “let’s move forward.” Populism as in “let’s put people first.”

Really?

I’ve always wondered. Progressive is let’s move forward, what are we moving forward TO? It makes a difference. Forward is not always good. It sounds good in a Disney movie (“Keep moving forward!”) but it’s only good if forward is where you want to go. Continuing to move forward doesn’t make sense if forward is the wrong place. If I’m driving to Omaha, but my car is pointed North, moving forward isn’t going to get me there. But anyway. I’ve heard the phrase “moving forward” a lot lately re: politics, but they never say to which goal we’re moving forward…

But Populism. “Let’s put people first”??? “A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.” Hm. So you’re not putting ALL people first, right? Just some people. I’m not sure this is a good thing. Who defines the “privileged elite”? Do “the people” really have a “struggle” against the privileged elite? I would consider myself a “person,” yet I feel no struggle against those higher than me on the socioeconomic ladder. It’s neither their fault, nor their problem, that I’m lower than they are. It’s my responsibility, if I desire to move up, to figure out how to accomplish that.

It just bugs me. It sounds so great. Progressive Populism. Until you try to figure out exactly what the heck they mean.

Then again, I think ALL the local radio show advertisements on 99.3 suck. Whatshisname that used to be on with McCoy has some that are REALLY bad. “Let’s have the conversation. Let me teach you something, and maybe you can teach me something. Let’s have the conversation. Have the conversation. I want to have the conversation.” And then when you call in to have a conversation, he tells you you’re dumb and hangs up. (OK, not really, but almost.)

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