Recently, my husband and I have been digging through old tapes of my first shows. It reminds me of a more innocent time, when I thought I could devote my weekly hour on the air to local efforts to better our community. Then, one Tuesday morning when I was sitting in for a music DJ, something happened which changed the course of my attention forever.
We're very isolated down in the basement of lower freeborn hall, where our station is located. I had arrived at the station when it was still dark. So I was playing some carefully selected songs when I received a phone call from one of our long-time DJs, Bill Wagman. He informed me that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. Nothing was ever the same. The next week, I interviewed the late great Howard Zinn, who spoke to me as kindly as he would over the next nine years and laughed when describing how a television network had invited him to participate in a discussion about this tragedy. Within a few days, they had decided to disinvite him after a more informed producer realized they didn't want someone who would step away from the nationalistic discourse and force the audience to think. I was blown away by his ability to laugh at the reality of the American zeitgeist.
I remember this as I think of the five minute bit at the end of this week's show. I was invited to feature an effort by a group, which honors and represents the families of military men and women who have been killed or hurt in the war, anywhere. They are setting up a website, which will feature the name of every single person who has died serving their country. Even though I cringed every time he used the vocabulary which has become so familiar, I thought we needed to show more inclusivity regardless of our politics to honor everyone. I was also thinking of some statistics which are finally becoming part of the more mainstream dialogue.
There were 197 Army suicides in 2008, according to the Army's numbers. The total includes active- and non-active-duty soldiers.
Last year, the number was 245. This year, through May, it's already 163.
Sixty-five members of the Guard and Reserve took their own lives during the first six months of 2010, compared with 42 for the same period in 2009.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/07/25/1745790/national-guard-and-reserve-suicide.html#ixzz0uixvjaZZ
How do we support those families? I don't know.
Over the past few years, recurring themes on the show have been the death penalty, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestinian independence, civil rights, human rights, medical marijuana, and children who suffer. Most everything deals with the need for more compassion and inclusivity. In my book anyway.
It has been such a privilege to serve this community and the greater one over the Internet for over 10 years now. It would not have been possible without the immense support given by KDVS and its wonderful volunteers. In that time, I may have read less than three fiction books. I miss this aspect of my life. Terribly. Still, I delude myself into thinking I serve a greater purpose, that people need to hear from the wonderful guests who agreed to come on this show, that the choices I make bears so much weight.
In my spare time, when I'm not reading books about horrible tragedies or important historical events, I love to laugh and read about food and other lighthearted topics. The name of the show is: "It's About You!" and decidedly not about me.