I just got done watching Steven Colbert’s take on the whole Rush Limbaugh scandal about contraception and a Georgetown Law Student. Sadly, I learned something. There weren’t just a few quips about the student. “Slut” and “prostitute” were not the only names he called her. There was a lot of talk about the woman who wanted to testify about contraception. He said things like, “people are lining up around the block to have sex with her”. (I kid you not, he actually did).I was amazed, but not amused. I knew it got bad on his show, but I didn’t realize it got that bad, ever.
He has always had to deal with people on the left criticizing his positions. He has always had trouble finding the balance between too much controversy and not enough controversy to keep him on the air. But make no mistake about it, somebody was listening to him. Millions of people listened and believed in him. Furthermore, sponsors knew it, so they sent their money that way.And as long as sponsors sent their advertising dollars his way, Rush didn’t need to care about what was said. He was going to have a job.
But something happened. And, while that something that happened isn’t good for Mr. Limbaugh, it is a good sign for America.
Since this debacle, people have cancelling their advertisements on his show. Peter Gabriel is upset about Rush using his music in the show, the student has answered back, the President got involved personally, Republican candidates have had to distance themselves from him, (and apparently done poorly at it, per Colbert and Jon Stewart), standing Representatives and Senators have — both Democrat and Republican distanced themselves from Mr. Limbaugh … and the hits just keep on coming. It does not look good for Mr. Limbaugh or his career. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
I could care less about his politics or his power in the conservative world. I just don’t listen to his show. I keep my blood pressure down this way, and I avoid hearing any more absurdity and hate in a day that’s inevitably filled with it seeing clients. Not that my clients hate or are absurd generally, but the people who put them in their pain frequently did. In any case, I avoid AM talk radio, with all of its yelling and things that drive me mad.
What excites me is the reaction to it all. Suddenly, other men, men who have pretended they didn’t care for way too long, suddenly seem to care. In the Huffington Post, at least one company owner has said that Rush can’t really take back what he said, that he’s not going to support the show, that he doesn’t accept your apology because he has daughters. and a wife — people that he loves who happen to be one-half of the world’s population.
I may be a radical at times, and I may be a feminist, but I am not a “radical feminist”. Andrea Dworkin and I are not friends. Still, you don’t have to be to see the stupidity that’s been discussed lately as just plain dumb. All you have to be is someone who loves, cares for, or notices the existence of women. For some reason, we didn’t seem to do that for awhile. For years, people like Limbaugh have been spewing this rhetoric. More importantly, Congress acted on this rhetoric in budget decisions. The only way a woman could be heard in American politics was if she agreed with the bullies or acted like she didn’t know anything., which confirmed why they shouldn’t have a voice in the first place.
When Olympia Snowe (neither a bimbo or a bully) decided not to run again, women lost another voice to stand up for them. That left more of us men (who are the majority in the House and Senate) to stand up for them. When some of us didn’t, they did it themselves. Or they tried. When even that didn’t work, well, finally, we, as Americans, male and female, really got upset. If we had asked any woman in the country if she likes being denied medical care, I’m pretty sure we’d have figured it out long before this. We didn’t and we didn’t seem to care.
And that’s where Mr. Limbaugh came in. My female friends tell me that they’re going to show up this year at the polls to vote against anyone who hasn’t listened to them in the past twenty years or so. Half of the population is a pretty big voting bloc. More than that, people who care about that half of the population, standing with that 50% form an even bigger bloc. Those people — Republicans, Democrats, Independents alike — who have trampled on the rights of women are going to be in trouble at the polls this year.It’ll be interesting to see what happens this coming election. This is as it should be. Women, being half of the population and all, should have 50% of the voice in American politics and decisions that effect our country’s future. That’s because everyone should have a voice in American politics and our future and women are part of “everyone”.
What further heartens me is that we — male and female alike — have called for the end to this kind of blatant hatred. We’re done listening to bullies tell us how things “should” be — whether they are vocal bullies, rich bullies, corrupt bullies, or just straight-out mean bullies. Rush happens to be all four. As I said, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Perhaps we’re done listening to a minority of people, through whatever means, telling the majority of us what we can have after they are done. It doesn’t matter who the powerful minority is or which dis-empowered majority we’re talking about.The majority has done had enough. I like the idea that men and women together are voicing their displeasure about the way we’ve been going.
Lastly, I’m psyched that people are no longer as likely to attach their money to hate. Rush will still have the same opinions long after this is written and that’s his right. But he won’t be getting as rich from it, and he might actually have to care what people might say. For people who believe in capitalism, which apparently Mr. Limbaugh does, the market has spoken. This is a very good thing. He — and others like him who bring everything to a dollars-and-cents decision — have to listen now. Everyone else (non-intellectuals) are just expanding their view of niceness and that’s a good thing, too.
Maybe this will be the end of Mr. Limbaugh’s career and maybe it won’t. What matters to me is that we’re finally responding to the symbol of America that Rush represents. He won’t really matter if America makes a shift toward consideration of others, toward kindness in our words, and away from supporting bullies and hatred. He can talk all he wants. If we don’t listen, we’ll be in better shape.
4 thoughts on “Couldn’t Happen To A Nicer Guy… Rush and America”
John, I agree that Rush deserves what he gets, but where is the outrage when this happens on the left? Do you listen to Chris Mathews or Bill Maher? Here is just one list of statements made by people on the left. I could show you another that has the hate speech coming out of the left.
Did the president address Bill Maher when he called Sarah Palin the C word and a dumb tw%t? I had a long thread going on this on FB with someone that doesn’t see any problem with how the media allows Bill Maher (who gave about 1 million dollars to Obama’s SuperPac) to say things like this but now wants Rush’s head.
Again, I am not going to cry any tears for Rush as I think he is a pompass windbag, but why do only those on the right get this much outrage?
Sean: I will check out the link and I’m sure I’ll be appalled. I try, and will continue to try, to not be mean in this blog. It’s hard when I see people being hurt, but it accomplishes nothing in the long run. I am well aware that the Left can eat their young just as well as the Right can. The other thing is that I assume there IS outrage on the right and I just don’t hear it. None of this justifies what people on the left or right do to rip us apart.
I think you are likely right that there isn’t as much outrage on the right for Rush’s statement. I think the statement was wholey wrong headed and it should be condemned.
I think there is a couple of things that are going on in this case. One, this is not JUST a question of womens health, but one of religious freedom. If a Catholic organization does not want to provide birth control, they should not be mandated by the government to do so, unless the birth control in question would treat a health related issue to the woman. In that case, certainly they should be required to cover that because the primary function of the birth control is not to stop pregancy but to treat a health related issue. If you watch the news this is framed ENTIRELY has a womens rights issue, not in any way other than an off-handed comment as a religious freedom issue. It is both. I think Catholic institutions should be required to cover birth control if the womans health is at risk in any way, but they should not be required to subsodize behavior that they view as a fundamental sin that is a cornerstone of their religion.
The other thing is that people on the right are tired of the double standard. If you do read that article you will likely be incensed, but the media barely reported on those instances because they tend to agree with those individuals from an ideological standpoint. Women should not be subject to that sort of treatment no matter what their political affiliation. Bill Maher gets a pass and is invited to many mainstream news shows, while Rush Limbaugh dominates the news cycle for a week.
I know sometimes you probably think I am right wing, so let me give you some background. I am center right…I have absolutely no problem with gays getting married, I am pro-choice with some significant exceptions (a 13 year old should need her parents concent, unless mothers health is in jeapardy a viable baby should not be able to be aborted late term), and in general I think all people should be able to pursue whatever makes them happy.
I am pro-immigration, but I think illegal immigration does more to hurt people than help, including the illegal immigrants who are used as low income labor…both parties are wrong on this one, but for different reasons – democrats get more democrat voters, republicans get cheap labor. Every other country has immigration laws that are followed, so why do we have so much angst about it…Mexico has a strict immigration policy on their sourthern border, but we shouldn’t?
The reason I tend towards the republican angle has very little to do with social issues and everything to fiscal issues. I am the middle class and I am being taxed into oblivion to support social programs from which I don’t benefit. Now I am all for charity and I give to several organizations, but the government is not the best people to control where charity goes. They have demonstrated this time and time again. BTW, study after study shows that conservatives give more to charity at every income level, so thinking conservatives are all heartless is another misrepresentation of the facts.
Lastly, I think Saran Palin would make an absolutely terrible president, but I don’t know how many times I have heard her misrepresented to make that point. It’s the old, “I can see Russia from my house” attitude that gets to me because how can you actually have an honest dialog if you are going to lie about what the other side actually said? Tina Fey said “I can see Russia from my house”. Sarah Palin said you can see Russia from some points on land in Alaska, which is a true statement.
As you can see, I am fairly passionate about these things in a similar way to how you are. I don’t like to see anyone hurt, but villifying Catholics or other Christians for their beliefs is no better than villifying left wing advocates for theirs.
I want to end by telling you I very much enjoy reading your blog, and I am not at odds with your point of view about people. As I knew you were during youth group, you are a good man who sees the ills of the world and your heart sort of bleeds for them. I fully understand and support you in that. I just think the dialog on what is right and wrong has been tilted to the point where all people (especially in Mass and on the coasts) see is republican=bad, democrat=good. I don’t believe that is the case.
Wow, Murph. I am so honored by your reply. When I was your Youth Group leader years ago, I tried to create an environment where free and deep thought was cultivated I’m certain that the Lynnfield school system had something to do with the ability, but I am so very impressed with your response–the nuances and distinctions that the written word allows for.
That said, I should say that I don’t know HOW I feel re: the religious rights question but I tend to believe that the government has no right to dictate doctrine and that it’s a violation of freedom of religion (which makes America great place, when we use it). To that extent, I don’t like the Obama policy and I do think that the religious freedom question needs to be asked and talked about.
I just don’t know how I feel because I don’t know as many Catholics or people using Catholic providers so I can’t balance out the intellectual argument with the “people” argument. I promised myself that I wouldn’t talk about things I don’t know about or for which I’m not forced by my conscience to express.
Re: abortion — I’m prochoice, but every woman I know who has had one seems to have deep psychological scars from them. I don’t hear that in the debate either. Still, it doesn’t make me say “women can’t have them”. It makes me say “women make tough decisions at times”. In that way, I would say that you and are pretty close in our position.
The only thing I would disagree with is the 13 year old needing consent. In my practice, it isn’t experience that if a 13 year old is pregnant, as disgusting as it is, there’s the possibility that a “dad” type person did it. In that case asking HIS consent doesnt seem right. Thanks for the great discussion. I like to believe that most people aren’t as idiotic as their “opposite” paints them.
You have proven me right. Thanks for the conversation.
(btw, it should say “John” not Jihn” at the top and I cant edit it)