Views on politics and current events

Friday, October 13, 2006

Appearing On National Television? Big Deal!

I was at the local gas station the day after I appeared on ABC 20/20. I go down there most every day, buy a soda pop and shoot the breeze for awhile with folks. A man walked in, looked at me and did a double take. He got what he came in for, and as he checked out he looked at me again and said, "Hey, didn't I see you last night on TV?"
"You got a rotten tomato in your hand?" I replied.
He got a funny look on his face and said, ""
"Then yeah, I'm the guy you saw on TV last night."
He didn't seem to get my attempt at humor. "Wow, that was really something, seeing someone from Rock Falls on national TV," he said. He seemed to be genuinely impressed.
"What did you think of the show?" I asked.
"Oh hell, I was sitting in my chair half asleep when I heard 'Rock Falls'. I woke right up," he said. "I've never seen anyone from Rock Falls on TV before."
"But what did you think of the show?" I asked again.
"Damn, I don't even remember what it was about. Soon as your part was done, I fell back asleep," he said as he chuckled. "But man, I never saw anyone on TV from Rock Falls before. Can I have your autograph?"
I laughed and said, "You must be joking...aren't you?"
The look on his face assured me he was not. "No, I'm serious," he said as he fumbled in his pocket for a piece of paper and a pen.
"Well, I gotta tell you, since I don't know you and I'm such a celebrity, it'll cost ya five bucks. But that's just for my signature. If you want a personal greeting too, it'll be two bucks extra," I said with my tongue planted firmly in cheek.
"Man, everybody's out to make a buck!" he said as he walked out the door. "To hell with that!"

Since then I've had a few more people recognize me, and believe it or not, a couple more requests for my autograph. Granted, most of those requests were from folks that I know. But two were from folks I never saw before. I offered the same deal to all of them that I did to the fellow in the gas station, but to date I have not had anyone accept my offer. So much for fame AND fortune.

I've been on local TV a couple of times, in the Chicago Tribune newspaper, on the Tucker show, and now ABC 20/20. All of these appearances have been about working people in one way or another. It is an issue that I lived through as a steelworker for 30 years, and an issue that is still very close to my heart. The workforce in this country continues to take it on the chin, and if there is anything I can do to bring this before the public, I'll do it. I do it not out of an over-inflated sense of ego, but to attempt to tell the other side. A side that is being ignored and swept under the rug by this administration and the main stream media.

It's seldom that an ordinary citizen like myself gets an opportunity to state their opinion. And like I tell folks, I'm not stuck up, I'll talk to anybody. So when people ask me why I do it, I answer 'why not?' Too bad that others don't speak out about this issue and so many others in this country. I understand to a certain extent why they do not. But without the voice of the public being heard, nothing will change. Not to be too hifalutin about it, but I do consider it a responsibility and duty to be vocal.

So it isn't about me. It is about the issues that need to be talked about. I write letters to the editor of the local newspaper, and I've found out how many folks read them. And my purpose with all of that is to not to try and change anyone's mind, but to perhaps give them a different viewpoint, help them to think the issue through so they can make up their own minds.

So being on television may be a momentary ego booster, but it never lasts with me. I'll never get used to seeing my big old punkin head on television anyway. It is the message that matters, and my two experiences with the main stream media has shown that the message can be edited to suit whoever for whatever purpose. So being on TV? No big deal. I am not impressed.

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