When Air America Radio launched in 2004, I listened to it about all day. But, after a spell, I limited my listening to The Al Franken Show and Rachel Maddow. I have an abiding love for Al Franken who I think sits up in the senate and attacks our cynicism about government. But, Rachel Maddow blew me away.
I remember once Chuck D, who was one of her co-hosts, was talking to her and said something to the effect of "The thing that really kills me about you is how you get up at 5:00 and read until we do the show and then you're reading again until you go to bed. You study this stuff so hard." This embodied what I loved about her. She is a liberal, she has an ideological bent, but she backs it all up through rigorous study.
Plus she has this way about her - she's respectful to her guests, she's funny, she's unapologetically goofy and weird.
By 2005, I was asking anyone who'd listen, why doesn't Rachel Maddow have her own show? I'd watch it every night.
And now she has a show, and is one of the most respected names in cable news. And, if only you'd listened to me in 2004, you could say to your friends, "Oh, I've been listening to her for years!"
Well, it's not too late to be an early adopter. I'm sending you to someone else: Ta-Nehisi Coates. I would happily re-post everything this guy writes. He's a constant student and a lovely writer and a real thoughtful guy.
Over the past month, he's been running a series called "Honoring Confederate History Month" where he talks about various aspects of slavery. Let me give you an example of what I mean about his commitment to deep thought, prefaced to say I think you'd probably really enjoy the whole post:
Subbing in myth for history is a false armor to guard against the hurt--and yet somewhere inside the hurt still throbs. Some of us fear admitting what the Confederacy was about, because we don't want to cede the moral high ground to a bunch of Northern elitists. But why? Was the North really more moral than the South? Did the South embrace a slave society because there's something intrinsically evil about living below the Mason-Dixon line? I don't think any people should fear their history, so much as they should fear their ignorance of history. Don't fear the past that led to the assassination of Lincoln, fear the present that leads you to fly the flag embraced by his killers. True the hurt is in what happened, but the shame is in the pretense that it didn't.
I don't just read Ta-Nehisi Coates. I re-read him. A lot. Bookmark TNC. You won't regret it.