Fitz column mug

David Fitzsimmons, Tucson’s most beloved ink-stained wretch.

Steven Meckler//

I’m pretty confident that if you uttered any one of the three following phrases on a Tucson street you would be committed to a mental institution. If you claim, “I see dead people” and you’re not talking about that Lawrence Welk PBS special again it’s time to check yourself in. If you claim “My dog told me to kill my neighbors” you need to kennel Chihuahua Manson and seek help. And last, but not least, if you claim, “I listen to right-wing talk radio every day,” then you definitely need to fly into, and not over, the cuckoo’s nest.

I know this because I have been listening to right-wing talk radio ever since Rush ridiculed Model T’s for having left-turn signals. Red ones, too. (I lost my mind after the first year. Ask any “Letter to the Editor” writer.)

I encourage you, dear readers, to emulate the great anthropologist Margaret Mead who studied the primitive peoples of New Guinea. Take the time to observe our own who light up the switchboards across our nation every day to bloviate.

Every time I read or hear that people are shocked, alarmed and disgusted by something President Trump says I have to laugh. O, you poor sweet dear innocent lambs. It’s obvious you’ve never eavesdropped on right-wing talk radio. You should. It’s akin to listening to Sarah Palin free-associate on acid.

If you have never listened I insist that you, like the intrepid lad in Stephen King’s “It”, muster your courage. Lean down and peer into the drainage pipe where political discourse takes a dark and clownish course. Tune in.

If you want to make sense of Trump’s ascendance, listen with me to the bellyachers, whack-a-doodles, wing nuts, mad-hatters, parrots and crackpots day after terrifying day. Scapegoating piffle peddlers! Say that five times fast.

So please, join me and press your ear against the bubble. (After every listen I do recommend a thorough NPR cranial colonic with a side of “Fresh Air.”)

If you have never listened here’s the format: A host incites listeners to call by yelling FIRE about the latest “threat” to their way of life. “Hillary wants to ban pork rinds at Toby Keith concerts!”

This is the harmless “Firing up the Lynch Mob” part.

Fired up, furious callers call in to agree with the last three callers. “If we don’t lock her up, her secret army of libtards are going to force us into camps where we’ll have to bake wedding cakes for homos who won’t let us keep our guns or say “Merry Christmas!” to our pork rinds! Who’s next? Jefferson? Washington?”

The host then takes a commercial break to sell “Not Welcome” mats, “The must-have item for your post-race-war survivalist compound.”

I want you to listen because I shouldn’t have to suffer alone and because right-wing squawk radio is the most powerful political force at this moment in our nation’s history.

Right-wing talk radio transformed the tea party into a national movement complete with cosplay hats and pitchforks.

Right-wing talk radio cleansed the Republican Party of moderates. This month a number of Republican moderates announced they’re giving up their seats and getting the hell out of the asylum called Congress.

Right-wing talk radio demands uncompromising ideological purity and the Republican Party obeys. The talk-radio tail wags the dog. Compromise with the hated enemy and a lynch mob will hang your political hide atop their radio tower, come the primary election season.

Donald Trump is talk radio’s king, a bloviating civic illiterate perpetually babbling nonsense, insults and conspiracy theories like the caller on Line 1 who’s reminiscent of an intoxicated Morton Downey Jr. on steroids.

Like the fuming Peter Finch in “Network” they’re “mad as hell and we’re not going to think anymore!” Or negotiate. As long as right-wing talk radio rules the nation’s once-great conservative party, all this saccharine bilge about civility, compromise and bipartisanship deserves to fall on deaf ears.

Do tune in. I shouldn’t have to do it alone.

Contact editorial cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons at tooner@tucson.com