Rush Limbaugh died today. Here are my thoughts. They are my thoughts, and while I usually have no problem with dissenting opinions, if you decide to take this time to trash, insult, and make false claims, I'll just delete your comment. Simple as that.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
One of the compliments I hear often when I discuss politics on a random thread, or the rare times when I post here, is that i don't make it personal, I come at it with facts in my pocket, and am amenable to changing my mind on certain things. It doesn't happen a lot, but it has happened. And sure, you may not agree with anything I say, and that's okay, sometimes even the same facts are used to strengthen an opinion on both sides.
Now, what I'm about to say may put one sentence in your mind that will be hard to forget, that being "Well, no wonder he thinks all that stuff he thinks". And I have no problem with you thinking it. Because I don't hold a belief in any opinion anymore without having reasons why. But it wasn't always this way, but probably in the last 10 years or so.
Where did I learn this? Rush Limbaugh. I've already scanned social media and seen some of the disgusting things said already, about "burning in hell" and "lies and vitriol" and such, and it makes me think back to what Rush always said -- you cannot understand his show by listening for one day, or even a week. He, maybe jokingly, maybe not, said you have to listen to his show for six weeks to make an accurate assessment.
In college, I was on the air for 2 hours every day at WTBF, playing the best of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, then worked the board for the first hour of Rush, from 11a to noon (CST). I was a Democrat, thought Bill Clinton was cool, and honestly, paid no attention to politics. Beyond six weeks, I listened for 9 months and while I wasn't sold, it taught me a different perspective... or, as I'm proud to say most people cannot say about themselves, it taught me there IS a different perspective.
Rush never told me or anyone who listened what to think. He was like all shows that did play a sound bite and he picked the context in which to discuss it, which left me with no option but to go find the full context -- and way more often than not, his context was correct.
All told, I've listened to his show pretty much daily since 1996, ended up voting for Bob Dole in my first Prez election, and have learned an infinite amount of history, wisdom, and strategies for debating and arguing my point. I didn't always agree with Rush, and sometimes he was bombastic. I would hear CNN take a Rush bite, or see people on twitter say "OMG RUSH SAID THIS EVIL THING" then see the "evil" thing and laugh, knowing the full context and weight of what was actually said.
He wasn't perfect. His nicknames were usually hilarious, occasionally too much, but many times on point. He had a Rx addiction problem many years ago that he openly discussed and took time to deal with. And no, he didn't make fun of Michael J Fox. He made a point about how Fox was being used by the media, a point that I agree with to this day.
Rush believed in American exceptionalism, and the pure belief that capitalism will help a nation thrive, conservative works, and that liberalism doesn't. Extreme positions? Maybe. But I'm not seeing a whole lot of evidence to the contrary.
The media overall hated him but wouldn't be where they are without him, playing those very same soundbites out of context. Hannity, Shapiro, Beck, would have had a much harder road had it not been for Rush. He lived in the heads of so many in the media, and even when they tried to compete (Air America anyone?) they failed miserably. By the way, I listened for a week to Air American. It was so freaking bad. Chuck D and some other dude spent a whole hour making "W Bush is so dumb" jokes. Like, what? Where was I?
Not until the advent of podcasting did Rush have any real competition -- and even then, it was a different medium.
I will miss Rush immensely. When he announced he had Stage 4 cancer last year, I knew we didn't have him for much longer. And when he came back on the air in January, I knew that his time was even more limited, and I smack myself for never trying to call in. He was my afternoon news update, a break from the I HATE TRUMP SO MUCH WAAAAA screaming that CNN, and even some parts of Fox, gave me daily.
Finally, Rush openly professed a love of God, and more pointedly, a belief in the fullness of Christ. So while Twitter is flush with "he's burning in Hell!" tweets from people who said the same about Billy Graham, if you have a belief in the Bible -- the whole thing, not the warm fuzzy parts -- then rest assured, Rush is having a pretty good day right now. (I've legit lost 3 followers in the 20 minutes since I tweeted about my mourning for his passing)
Thanks Rush for all you taught me. You get some rest now. After 25 years, I think your tens of millions of listeners and fans can take it from here.
your friend and loyal patriot