Couldn’t Happen To A Nicer Guy… Rush and America

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 daughtersand 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.