Listeners Connect With Father's Day Essays

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Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day Catherine Lane/iStock hide caption

itoggle caption Catherine Lane/iStock

Host Michel Martin and Tell Me More Editorial Assistant Lena Moses-Schmitt comb through listener responses from past stories. A grandfather responds to the program's week-long Father's Day essays, and one listener offers a correction to the conversation with Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuno.

MICHEL MARTIN, host: And now it's time for BackTalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. With me today is editorial assistant Lena Moses-Schmitt, who's been helping to track our online comments. Hi, Lena, what do you have for us?

LENA MOSES-SCHMITT: Well, first off, earlier this week you interviewed Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuno to talk, in part, about President Obama's visit there. And let's listen to a clip from that conversation.


MARTIN: Puerto Rico, like the District of Columbia, for example, is a territory. Its citizens are American citizens. They do have the right to vote in presidential elections, but they don't have representation in Congress.

MOSES-SCHMITT: Afterward, we heard from one of our listeners, Miguel Luciano (ph), who noted that the interview left out a key facts. Here's his quote. "Puerto Ricans who live in Puerto Rico cannot vote for the president of the U.S., nor do they have any representation in Congress. So they are disenfranchised on both accounts. Puerto Rican citizens who live stateside, however, can indeed vote."

He went on to say, quote, "I couldn't believe Fortuno didn't correct the statement during the interview, as a lack of voting rights is one of the major examples of Puerto Ricans' second-class citizenship."

MARTIN: Well, I want to thank Miguel Luciano for raising this. We should clarify. Puerto Ricans who live in Puerto Rico cannot cast ballots in the general election, but are able to vote in presidential primaries. So he's right.

What else, Lena?

MOSES-SCHMITT: Michel, all week, TELL ME MORE has been honoring fathers, whose big day is this Sunday, by airing a handful of short essays written by dads. We received this response from listener and grandfather Jim Billon(ph).

JIM BILLON: My wife and I raised two sons. But just 10 years ago, my role as a father changed when I got that phone call from my oldest son to say, come to the hospital, Dad, and meet your first grandson. I wondered, what lessons did I teach him so that he could be a good father? As I looked and see them with their children, I have a joy to know that all the fun and trials of being a father are going further with them.

MARTIN: And I appreciate, Mr. Billon, for sharing his story. And I do want to say that we did hope to have had an essay by a grandfather, particularly a grandfather raising children. You know, there are 2.4 million grandparents raising children in this country. So we missed that opportunity. We do hope to do better next year. And I thank you for sharing your story, Mr. Billon. And thank you, Lena, for joining us.

MOSES-SCHMITT: Glad to do it, Michel.

MARTIN: I also want to take this time to remind our listeners to read along with us in our Summer Blend book club. To see the list of books we'll be reading, and some excerpts, you can visit our website, just go to, click on the Programs tab and then on TELL ME MORE. And, remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. That number again, 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave us your name. You can find us on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE NPR.

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