I’ve wanted to write this column since I began this site. Unfortunately, each of my earlier attempts was overwhelmed by nonsense before I could publish. This time I’ve taken a media fast before that happens.
Last night President Trump hosted a listening session on gun violence in schools. I don’t have access to video, so I couldn’t see any of the speakers’ faces nor the President’s response to what
they had to say. Instead, like a Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps worker, I had just audio to go on. Still, I think my impressions are valid, and will until I listen to my chosen news sources and learn I missed everything important. (Full disclosure: My media sources are limited, and are primarily podcast based, so I’ve included a list of podcasts I’ve listened to in the past week at the bottom of this post.)
My impressions of the listening session:
–President Trump didn’t interrupt or bully anyone, and seemed to keep his comments short and intended to move the conversation along. This came as a very pleasant surprise, given his need at times to keep the spotlight on himself.
–The makeup of the speakers didn’t strike me as biased in one direction or the other. Speakers seemed to have first- or second-hand experience with school issues, and they spoke of those experiences movingly.
–I would have liked more specific suggestions, but that may not have been the purpose of this session. It did offer an emotional view of the issue, and one can only hope it’ll be followed up by legislation.
–The one off-note was discussion of arming teachers. Having worked in schools for 20 years, I immediately picture a classroom disturbance being “solved” by a teacher pulling a gun to calm things down, a teacher losing a gun or a student overpowering an armed educator and taking the weapon. Given how many reasonable ideas exist (regulating assault rifles, taxing ammunition, longer waiting periods, stricter background checks, etc., etc., etc.), this notion is just silly.
–President Trump should be praised for organizing such a session. That said, a number of speakers began by talking of what a great leader he is, a practice not in keeping with our history of valuing the servant leader rather than the strong man.
I’ll quickly post this, and will continue to keep an open document on my desk with the title “In Praise of Donald Trump.” I really do want him to be successful, but he often makes that so hard.
My Political News Podcasts for the Past Week:
Daily Standard (Weekly Standard—conservative)
The Remnant (National Review—conservative)
Fox News Sunday, Face the Nation, NBC Meet the Press, This Week with George Stephanopoulos—Sunday Talk Shows Centrist
Slate’s Political Gabfest—Liberal
Rachel Maddow, Morning Joe—MSNBC Liberal
(A note on this list: I’d appreciate recommendations on interesting conservative political news podcasts. I’ve tried to listen to Ben Shapiro and Sean Hannity. Both are as biased as Chris Matthews—and just as annoying for that reason.)