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Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

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October 16, 2006 | 7 Comments

Dear Mr. Keillor,
I just wanted to tell you that you are one of my favorite liberals. I am as far right as you are left - but your show is so special that I can deal with the occasional political cracks. I love that you take us to a simpler time. I think cable news has whipped this country into a tizzy where absolutely everything is made to be so earth-shattering, when in fact the news stations are just trying to fill 24/7 worth of time. I think most Americans can agree to disagree without hating their neighbor. I wish you continued success with your show!

Pat M.
Maitland, FL

That's very neighborly of you and I agree with you about the cable news stations. I don't think we hate our neighbors just because we raise our voices, though. A democracy needs some candor and some noise and tumult doesn't hurt either. And I do feel that the right brought a special nastiness to politics that is bewildering to me. That's just my opinion but I don't quite fathom the anger I hear on the right, especially after they've been in power all these years. But I'm glad you listen to the show. Glad it's worth your time.


Seriously? Come on Garrison...I sing your praises to EVERYONE but it seems to me that you were a bit rude to this sweet lady. She wrote to you in good faith saying that we can all be friends even when we disagree, and you blasted her! Everything isn't just about which side of the fence we are on; there is ugliness on BOTH sides. At the end of the day we are all just people so why can't we meet in the middle and be nice? That doesn't mean we have to quit voicing our opinions(God forbid), I'm simply asking that while we are "debating" let's remember to respect the other person-even if it is hard to respect their ideas. I have kept two best friends and a favorite author doing precisely that.

I agree with Ami.

There are thousands of people who have surrendered their careers (dozens in my own acquaintance) over "political differences." To you I suppose it may seem like we don't hate our neighbors because of our political differences, but, trust me, the opposite is true if you are a conservative on a college campus. Since I am (or was until I was let go) one of these, I expect that I have overlooked the politically liberal casualties of the same ideological conflicts.

Having given up my professional life for principle (really for scientific truth instead of convenient fiction), I would be lying if I said that your jokes about politics don't hurt and make your great show a lot harder to listen to. Conservatives live with stolen yard signs, defaced cars, bricks through windows in addition to blasted careers if their views are public. A quip on the radio is not much additional burden, but don't think that we see much of the humor.

Back to Pat M's letter--perhaps you might want to take another look at the chasm that you contribute to and the love of your work that led Pat M. to reach across it.

As a person who would have voted for anybody but Bush, twice, I didn't think Pat M's note was all that sweet nor did I think there was anything bombastic about Garrison's response. I thought Pat sounded condescending. I have Republican friends, but I wouldn't call them my soulmates. They know my politics. If they don't bring it up, we don't talk about it. But if they do bring it up, I'm not about to sit there and stifle out of deference to an ubersensitive Republican point of view that can't take a little well-founded criticism. Garrison's barbs at Bush's expense are the highpoint of the show for me. Political humor directed at the ruling party has deep roots in democracy and the folk tradition. Your Bush is a divider, not a uniter. He is not a mind your own business kind of guy. Like I said, I didn't vote for him. I doubt Garrison did either. Why are you asking us to be the ones to make nice?

Our capacity to blame the other side for all our political ills continues to amaze me. Intelligent folks like Garrison, Babs and Bruce the Boss, even that sweet-singing Linda Ronstadt use their entertainment venue to demonize Bush, some in crude, demeaning way. Recall when Clinton was in office, the Conservatives vilified andjoked about his moral shortcomings.

Though I don't recall hearing many Conservative entertainers (maybe that's an oxymoron!!!) take time from their God-given gifts of story-telling, singing and guitar-strumming to tell their big-ticket-paying audience how stupid Mr. Bill was.

I remember kinder, simpler days when entertainers stuck to their entertainment. I agree with Garrison that folks ought to be able to speak their mind, but maybe it should be after the show at a special wine and cheese DNC or RNC fund-raiser.

With CNN and Fox and talk-radio bombasts like Rush and Al, there's enough vitriol out there already.

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
Mark Twain

Wouldn't the world be a boring place if we all thought alike?

Rude? No!

People writing post to the host expect a candid response, not just for a pat-on-the-back (pun intended). Most write to GK as a sign of respect, just as Pat M from Maitland has done in her well-phrased words.

Garrison presents his opinion(s), his visions of Lake Wobegone and most of PHC in a complex, multifaceted kaleidescope much like the world we discover with our channel changer. Simple? Only if you prefer to filter out the bad jokes, impersonations, double entendres and in-your-endos! Jack Benny was simple; Jack Paar never dared the mix that PHC presents. It's a thick slice of American culture.

Still I mirror Pat's request: Take me back to simpler times when we looked up to people of stature and drew on their wisdom, their advice and their direction. Garrison, you are that person for me and I want to hear your views because they are well-founded in facts and carefully expressed.

Wishing you many years of continued community service.

From an ex-pat (living in Trondheim)

Tempremental conservatives of all persuasions love PHC. In many ways it's the successor to Lawrence Welk in its pious, homey, midwestern, and small town ways.

As for Bush jokes, I think we should make allowances. Bush isn't really much of a conservative when you get right down to it. Conservatives are prudent, they are the grownups. They are skeptical of sweeping government action, especially when it comes to committing our fighting forces. They shun ideological schemes, preferring instead to balance the books and keep the fiscal house in order for the next generation. The way I see it, a conservative should be the first to laugh at a good Bush joke.

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