If there were ever a time that a national conversation was needed, that time is now, a month after George Floyd’s killing, with the subsequent and ongoing outcry across the country for justice for all the people no matter what their origins are, on top of the continuing, and possibly worsening, COVID-19 pandemic. It’s increasingly clear that the Trump administration is unable and unwilling to provide leadership in leading such a conversation–Trump is just trying to “fire up” his (possibly diminishing) base.
People like me get most of our news (and opinions) from newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times, and cable TV channels such as MSNBC and CNN–all outlets that we mostly agree with–though I do turn to Fox News sometimes, just to see what their “take” on things is. I’d bet that most of Trump’s supporters do the opposite–they watch mostly Fox News, and rarely, if ever, turn to CNN or MSNBC. This doesn’t promote a national conversation, since each “side” pays attention to those it agrees with. A conversation involves two or more people or groups, possibly with different ideas about a subject, talking to each other about it. What if a series of “Town Halls” was arranged, with all sides of a particular issue represented, carried by Fox News, CNN and MSNBC (and maybe CBS, NBC, and ABC), so that more people from different “camps” are likely to watch/participate? A theme of promoting racial justice (including this week’s “rage” about monuments) would be one important theme. Another subject would be COVID-19–how to deal with the pandemic medically, and how the country should function while doing that.
Clearly, these topics will play a large roll in the upcoming election season, including he Presidential debates, but I still think a wider national conversation is more urgent now.