Somewhere Hunter Thompson and Bill Hicks are laughing over a tab of LSD and wondering if our reality is their drug-induced nightmare.
Or something like that.
The phone call was hilarious, if not touched. It began with him threatening me bodily harm. It ended in laughter - at least on my part.
“Your entire problem is that you are a hack Democrat who doesn’t understand how great the president is,” I was told.
“Your problem,” I responded, “Is that you think I care what you think.”
“Just like a liberal.”
“For the record, I am an equal opportunity offender and I firmly believe the only way to look at a politician is down.”
“Prove it,” I was told.
“Read what I write,” I responded.
“Fine,” the caller said and I was happy to sign him up for a subscription. Afterward he asked me where I was during the Clinton administration. “Covering crime for America’s Most Wanted,” I explained.
After that, I pointed him to a couple of online places to purchase America’s Most Wanted paraphernalia.
After we arranged that I heard a long-winded explanation of how I’m a communist, and a horrible human being who probably endorses killing babies in the womb.
I was told the problem with the press is we don’t listen to people. And as I listened to him continue his rant, I confess I became more and more amused.
The caller again threatened me and told me I would “Go to Hell,” for my intolerence to his particular mindset - whatever that was.
“I firmly believe that you may disagree with people and still get along with them,” I explained. “You know, I disagree with what you say, but defend to death your right to say it,” I explained.
“That’s just bullshit,” I was told. “You don’t believe that. You won’t even listen.”
“I’m listening now,” I explained.
“No. You’re not,” he said.
“What would you like to say that I haven’t listened to, please let me know.”
“You are not listening. The president is draining the swamp. He cares for us and all you do is point out when he makes one little mistake.”
“How do I do that?” I asked.
“You ask him questions. You’re rude and don’t listen.”
“Are you telling me that asking questions is rude?” I asked.
“See. That’s rude. You’re insulting me. That’s not a question. That’s a statement.”
“How is that a statement?” I asked.
“You’re doing it again.”
“Forgive me, but how is asking a question making a statement and why is that being rude?”
“That’s why people call you the fake media. You are the enemy of the people. The president is right.”
“How does that make me the enemy of the people? Which people? All people?”
“Real Americans.” he said.
“Can you define real Americans?”
“Your kind probably wouldn’t even know,” I was told.
“What is my kind?” I asked. “Reporters?”
“How do you spell your last name?” he asked.
“What? Why do you ask?”
“See you don’t like it when the shoe’s on the other foot. Answer the question.” he hissed.
“Okay. Karem is a last name.”
“What kind of last name?” he shouted.
“The kind that comes after my first name. Why are you asking?”
“Is that some kind of racial taunt you’re making at me?” he asked.
“No sir. Just asking a question,” I replied.
“No you’re not. Now you’re calling me stupid.”
“Never crossed my mind. Why would you say that?” I asked.
“You think I don’t know what a last name is? You think you’re the only one who is so high and mighty to figure that out?”
I sighed. Now I was getting bored. I sold the guy a subscription, told him how he could find America’s Most Wanted memorabilia and all he really wanted to do was rant and rave against someone he didn’t like.
“You think the president is stupid and that’s why you ask all those questions,” he finally said.
And there it was. Finally.
So for those who think that and many more who believe it: Who are you kidding?
I ask questions because it is my job. I seek answers because I’m curious and I have no idea, really, if the president is stupid.
I know he has lied to me. I know he doesn’t care if he lies to me and I know -as a country - we’re better off knowing what our president is doing and thinking on our behalf.
If I have to ask loudly - then I will. If I have to put up with threats I will. But for the love of all that is holy, please spare me the sanctimony and the long telephone calls.
Unless you’re funny. I always like a laugh.