On Giving Commentaries
“Would you like to do some radio commentaries,” It might have seemed a trivial invitation. What importance can a mere “comment” have? A comment is not a theory, or a deep extended analysis of a complex situation ending with a confident prescription for correct future action. Still, in 1983 when Jean Feraca Humanities Director at Wisconsin Public Radio, invited me to give commentaries on WPR’s Morning Edition, I quickly agreed. Partly it was Jean herself, smart, full of life, and at times refreshingly irreverent. Partly it was an opportunity to come up out of the weeds of philosophical analysis, to give back a voice to some of my old poetic self and speak to more than a narrow circle of like-minded academics. And there were deeper reasons. Those were difficult times.
Ronald Reagan was about to be re-elected for a second term as President, indicating a decisive turn to the right in United States politics. The humiliating retreat from Vietnam still rankled. Talks were ongoing with Russia, but the threat of nuclear war was ever present. Communism had crumbled away in Russia, but in the so-called “developing” world, new revolutionary movements threatened the new American world order. Even space was now a war zone with Reagan’s “Strategic Defense Initiative” bringing a network of combat centers and satellites spread around the globe. Perhaps it was time for something other than ideology and political theory, time to step back, to simply look and respond, say as honestly as possible what comes to mind.
Andrea Nye, November 5, 2021