Sunday, October 12, 2008
Last week James T. Harris, a talk show host and McCain's supporter, made national news when he begged McCain to take it to Obama at a rally for McCain. I had never heard of Mr. Harris until the clips of him were replayed repeatedly. I was instantly intrigued and wanted to find out more about him.
Mr. Harris remarks were not something that many have not heard before. What made Mr. Harris stand out was the fact that he was a man of color in sea of white faces yelling "take it to him". The crowd, according to the pundits, were angry and upset. Two other men spoke of their frustrations with the McCain campaign as well, but Mr. Harris got most of the attention from the talking heads and media critics. He has been the subject of several talk shows over the last few days.
On Friday, several national radio programs played Mr. Harris remarks through out the day and left us with much to digest over the weekend. There were many theories on why he would say what he said to the crowd. The cries that he was a plant or paid by the McCain camp from people of color got my investigative juices flowing and I went to work. I did my faithful Internet research and decided to give him a call. I have always been one to get it from the source, the talking heads are paid to spew their mindless garbage and it is hard to know what is the truth from our news junkets anymore. Instead of spending the entire weekend waiting to see how this will be played out on Monday,I decided to ask questions why the topic was hot. God knows, this week, we will have something else to talk about.
Mr. Harris show is on the weekend lineup for his station, 620 WTMJ. After finding his time slot, I waited to see what the fuss was all about. I listened to the first hour of the show and called his producer the second hour. During the first hour, he took calls from only those who supported his statements to McCain. He shared about the level of hate mail and death threats that he was now getting. He asked his callers "did they see anything wrong with what he said"? Now that made me pause, because he stated at the beginning of the show he only wanted to hear from those who supported his statements. The lines were on fire, according to Mr. Harris. This gave me time to listen to his style and check out his website as well. He is a Repub through and through. He was raised in a Demo family but became a Repub later in life. In Nashville, Black Repub capital of America, he would be right at home.
I had two questions for Mr. Harris. I told the producer my first one and saved the second one for on the air. Our initial greetings were pleasantries and nicies (as I was taught by my granddad to say). Manners count when you are from the South. Besides he had the power to cut me off at any time. He mentioned he had a cousin from Mississippi who was concerned about his safety and I went there with the whole "I am from Mississippi too". You may laugh but that one liner has opened more doors for me than I can count. Back to Mr. Harris.
My first question was how does it feel to receive hate mail and death threats the same way Obama gets? Oh, yes I did. I think it is important to understand what others feel and maybe just maybe we can give each other grace. We discussed what he meant about taking Obama on and hitting him where it hurts. My concern with him was that he can say one thing to an audience and the audience may have a different take on the meaning of those words. In Mississippi, an angry crowd of white folks was never a reason for black people to celebrate. We went home and locked our doors and prayed. Many people(black and white, Jew or Gentile)can recall what happens when you see a group of angry folks getting together and wanting to make things happen. My granddaddy told us enough stories that I do not have to go looking for a group of angry people, black or white.
My second question, why he did not wear the attire in his publicity photos to McCain's rally? In his publicity photos, he would have been mistaken for a Muslim easily. He said his wife told him not to wear that. He went on to state that he was in line and one of the organizer recognized him brought up front.
I tried to load the radio link on this post but could not get it to cooperate with me. Hearing it first hand is so much better and you can come to your own conclusion about him. In the link I am providing, if you move the dial button to almost half way, you will get our ten minute conversation. He was pleasant with me.
My concern comes from my years of being a Mississippi brat. You do not agitate a group of angry folks and do not think violence will not happen. If we are going to have a campaign, let us do it with out the mob mentality. Remarks like "kill him" and "off with his head" should be saved for your children football games where cries of dissent are respected and welcomed. Okay, yes I do get rowdy at my kids games but I do not view the opposing team as terrorists.
Whether you are a Demo or Repub the rules are the same. Race baiting is becoming a familiar theme in too many elections. Mr. Harris did not give me an answer about why he did not wear the publicity photo clothing to the event. I have a strong sense that he would not have been on the front row, nor would he have been given a mic to share his views. Less than three weeks left to in the campaign season. Thank God. I do not think I can take any more.
James T. Moore 10-11-08 Hour 2