The flashing red light on the phone greeted me as I came into the News Room to do our Saturday morning updates. The message was from a older-sounding woman--and she was angry:
"HOW CAN YOU TAKE RUSH LIMBAUGH OFF THE AIR FOUR DAYS BEFORE AN ELECTION? I DON'T CARE WHAT THE LOURDES VOLLEYBALL COACH HAS TO SAY! I DON'T CARE THAT THEY ARE PLAYING VOLLEYBALL TODAY! THERE IS AN ELECTION IN FOUR DAYS AND TO TAKE RUSH LIMBAUGH OFF THE AIR NOW IS UNPROFESSIONAL!!"
She went on to make some unflattering comments about a former employee as well--but I won't get into that right now.
On Friday, we did pre-empt the final hour of Rush Limbaugh to bring our listeners live coverage of the Lourdes Academy Girls Volleyball team as they played in the WIAA State Semi-Finals in Green Bay. Making it that far and having a chance to capture a state title is something to be proud of that team--and you would think that everyone here in Oshkosh would want to support those girls in that effort. It was also an opportunity for us to get girls sports on the air--which I admit is under-covered at all levels of the media.
But the woman that left the nasty message for me Friday afternoon can't celebrate that accomplishment. She can't appreciate the value of exposure for female athletics. She can't root for some hometown kids trying to do something very special that would be a positive for our community. Instead, she is so wrapped up in the vitriol and anger that has dragged this (and several previous) election cycles into the gutter. And she somehow believes that airing an hour and a half of high school sports on a Friday afternoon when not all of the fans were able to get to Green Bay to see the match in person is somehow "subverting her side's efforts to win the elections".
I'm guessing Mrs Angry Caller has made up her mind whom she is voting for tomorrow. Did she need that much more affirmation on Friday? Or did she think that some undecided voter was like "I just don't know who to vote for next week. Maybe I'll listen to Rush Limbaugh for an hour and he'll tell me what to think"--but because girls volleyball was on, that voter will now support Hillary Clinton?
Yes, the candidates, their surrogates and every talking head is calling this "THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIMES!!"--but I'm pretty sure we can take an hour or two out of allowing our hate for the other side to fester and consider that there is more to life than just politics.