Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A visit to Lima and the Hermanators along the way

I SLIPPED OUT of town for a few days last week to give a couple of lectures at the Ohio State University Lima Campus. It is academe at its unhurried best, with plenty of parking, friendly hosts and attentive students who sat through the talks to the honors group.

The round trip through west central Ohio on U.S. 30 also reminded me of another universe with broad farmlands as flat as a calm sea interrupted only by isolated stands of trees and tiny glistening roofs on the distant horizon. Along the way there were county and township road markers that, I suppose, snaked through the fields to one village or another. I had to wonder at times whether there was enough for a sparrow to do to fill a calm day likethis one.

It is unyielding Republican country. In the last election John McCain carried Allen County (Lima's home) by more than 63 pct. of the vote. In nearby Hancock County, the story was the same, as it was - and has been - through many of the state's rural counties. One important element in this, I soon learned as a I surfed my car radio, is that the scattered farmhouses under those glistening roofs are a somewhat isolated captive audience for the right-wing Christian broadcasters (southern preachers, mostly ) who dominate the dial. Within minutes, you realize that you are tuned in to what I would describe as "religitics" - the forceful use of Biblical references to destroy disfavored politicians. In this instance, over and over, "Hussein" Obama.

I finally landed on a program called Herman's Show. It's a national call-in program on American Family Radio that might make Fox News blush. There is little about the conversation that would suggest a rational give-and-take. As for Herman, his thesis is, "You need chicken to make chicken salad." (No argument there, Herman!) And that guide to better living is doubtless an integral part of Herman's "Hermanator's Intelligent Thinkers Movement."

Herman further urges: "Listen! You might just learn something." I listened, and I'm still waiting.

You can't make this up.

1 comment:

Mencken said...

Think his audience knows Herman is a Black man?