When I was younger, as with most teenagers, music was a large influence on me, for better or for worse. As an adult in his early to mid twenties, this somehow parlayed into something of a stint as a DJ for several years. Over the course of time, however, I became disenchanted with popular music on the whole, and "grew out of" my phase as an active listener, particularly on the radio.
This does not mean that I have lost my appreciation for music, only that it is not as much a personally defining aspect of my life as it has been for some. Somewhere along the line, around the time of the 1994 Republican Revolution as I recall, my listening habits became much more focused on using the medium for informational purposes, i.e., "talk radio." To this day, with only occasional deviancies, this remains the primary value of radio to me.
A short summary of my introduction to politics would be that I came to question the honesty and motives of many mantras I had become inundated with on college campus. Through regular viewing of C-Span, my suspicions were confirmed by watching many sessions of the House and Senate wherein I saw the tortured arguments of some glorified by what is now known as the mainstream media, while the opposition was characteristically distorted and demonized, despite public first hand knowlege of the events described. This was my birth into conservatism, a natural choice in opposition to blatant corruptive powers.
I never started listening to hosts like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity because they came recommended to me by "the good guys", however. At that time, I can't recall hearing the names of conservative commentators much at all by those whose cause they shared. Oh, I am sure that there was support for them from the team, so to speak, it's just that I don't remember it being that way. What did draw my interest initially was the harsh criticism from the opposition. Having seen firsthand the regular dishonesty and distortion of liberal "leaders", it was a no-brainer that I needed to look up those who they hated so much. And my worldview has never been the same, ever since.
Skip ahead several years later...almost a decade I would say, and I found myself stationed in Norfolk, Virginia with my (second) wife and two beautiful step-daughters. One thing I loved so much about my now ex-wife was that she and I were very much on the same page politically, and to a slightly lesser extent, in most of our world-views. At this time I listened to WNIS, a local AM radio station that I now refer to as my life-line to sanity fo many years. It featured not only the Great MahaRushie (Limbaugh), which was my primary draw, but it introduced me to others such as Bill O'Reilly, Neal Boortz, Michael Savage (a mixed bag, in my humble opinion...but my ex's favorite), and Sean Hannity. These became household names recognized by our family.
About every year many radio talk show hosts convene in Virginia Beach for "Talkfest". This is a big deal for the WNIS listeners, as it is an opportunity to not only see many of their heroes in action doing their thing...gabbing on the radio, but it is also an opportunity to meet them. The only time we were able to attend, I not only watched the Talkmeister, a.k.a., Neal Boortz do his program live, but I also had the opportunity to watch the gratingly mealy-mouthed Alan Colmes do the same (although he tucked tail in an obviously conservative crowd, and lacking the courage of his conviction went on to identify himself as an undercover conservative). Of most importance to me at the time was that I not only got to watch Sean Hannity do his thing, but the family and I actually got to meet and speak with him. This experience was one of more importance as an instructive lesson than I would have thought it could have been.
After Sean did some of his thing on the stage prepared for radio broadcast, he moved on into the main lobby where he and staff members set up for him to autograph copies of his latest book (the precise title of which escapes me at the moment, although I have read it and still retain the signed copy in my library). So the family and I joined the end of a very long line to procure our copies (one for us, and one for friends of ours at the time). While the wait was relatively lengthy to make my way to the man himself, the room was also small enough that at no point was I ever so far away from him that he would not have been able to clearly hear my voice were I to yell his name with a modest shout. So, we waited our turn, at no point ever losing sight of the man who had inspired us on so many occasions.
Now let me make clear, I am no worshiper of celebrity. As a matter of fact, I have come to despise the culture of celebrity in general. But from time to time there are those who are worthy of their fame, and the rewards that often accompany it. I have come to believe that Sean Hannity is one of those.
As we approached the desk, Sean gave the obligatory warm welcome. His eyes indicated strict attention to each of us as he reached for the books he would sign. I asked if he would inscribe something special on the copy for our friends, "To ----- and -----, I wish you could have been here." The stationed assistant stepped in and stated that only autographs were to be given, with no special inscriptions. It became apparent that at least part of his function was to process the line in a timely manner, as well as to maintain good order and discipline.
But Sean had other ideas, displaying the good character for which his is known amongst those who are not his avowed enemies. He looked to the assistant and raised his hand to indicate approval of the departure from a strictly set timetable, and then continued on in a brief discussion with my family and myself.
None of the things said were of any real relevance. He asked a few things about us personally...the age of the the girls, if we lived locally, and what I did for a living. Of course he expressed sincere support for me as a military member, and gratitude for that service. A few other things may have been said, but again, none of it was really, really important. What was really important, however, was the obvious sincerity with which he took a genuine interest in us not as merely part of his fan base, but as people. I cannot speak for my ex-wife or the girls, but I walked away with the sense that he sincerely recognized me as a brother in the same fight, and welcomed me as such.
Now I may be making a little bit more of this than it actually was, but there was nothing in his words or actions that could lead me to think otherwise. I look back at a few moments when Sean Hannity broke the rules simply to spend a few moments with me and mine. And as I think on it, I cannot remember anyone else in that line who benefited from such a privilege, most likely because they were cognizant of the procedures in place, whereas I was obviously oblivious. Either way though, in every instance he justified the reputation he enjoys amongst those who know him, rather than the demonized portrait perpetuated by liberal character assassins.
Sometimes it irks me to no end that persons like Rush and Sean are so consistently attacked by the MSM and other assorted leftist puppets. Rush is another person who also has a reputation as a kind, generous, and even sometimes humble (believe it or not) person. But to listen to the MSM, he is the Anti-Christ (which might be ironic, since the MSM has little use for Christ or Christians). But if there is anything that I have come to know about the liberal left, it is that they are a particularly nasty bunch with a variety of mental disorders, and a penchant for dishonest attacks and distortions rather than fair portrayals and criticism. (And yes, I did say here that liberalism is a full fledged mental disorder, and I stand by it)
What I walked away with from my brief experience with Sean Hannity was the renewed confidence in my perception that liberals lie (often), and that there remains no better alternative to conservatism as not only a political view, but as a solid basis for decent society. Where most conservatives I have ever known have defied the descriptions that liberals would assign them, the plethora of liberals I have known have always tended to be confused irrational people at best, and nasty bitter ones at worst. What they almost never are is the intelligent, compassionate persons they portray themselves as. In other words, conservatives often tend to be the very things that liberals pretend to be, while leftists are most often the very things that they portray conservatives as. It's a mixed up backward world of lies we live in, and thank God for those like Hannity who set the record straight.
My wife is not exactly a fan of Sean Hannity. She tolerates his presence as I watch Fox News. But she has no real beef with his conclusions or positions for the most part. It's a personality thing. Just like Rush adopts an aggressive persona of strength, Hannity tends to follow the same mold, confident in his positions and more than willing to meet on the verbal battlefield. I can see how this turns some folks off, I suppose. Me, I like it. But I have on more than one occasion shared with her my personal experience with Hannity, if for no other reason than to assure her that what she perceives is not necessarily what is. On air Hannity may come off as somewhat overconfident and overly assertive to some, I get that. I don't share that view, but I get it. What I can say, based on no more than a couple minutes with the man, is that despite whatever persona he may put off professionally, he struck me as a very genuine and modest man, as truly being "one of us", the salt of the earth. He left me with no doubt that he would be more than happy to sit down at the dinner table with me, a simple rube, and would do so with complete humility. Now how many lefty celebrities can you really say that about?