I shed no tears about Rush Limbaugh’s death. Zero. His time had come, mercifully. I did, however, read with some interest the Facebook posts by certain acquaintances who paid tribute to him. I also noticed some of the "likes" and gushing comments by their friends, some of whom I know.
However, it was the one who called him a “great patriot” that set me off like Billy Jack in the ice cream shop. But, hey, I’m a writer not a fighter. So, I instead found a quote by poet Robert Frost that seemed apropos for the occasion:
“I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way,” he said.
Being a relatively open forum (for his Facebook “friends,” anyway), I thought it was a mostly pleasant rebuke to the laughable idea of Limbaugh as a “patriot.” A poetic way to say that dude can go straight to hell while respecting his right – as the Framers intended – to be the racist, misogynist asshole that he was. A little civility, however backhanded, for one who deserved none. And if you can’t tell your friends to “get the fuck outta here with that B.S.” – for their own good – who can tell to “get the fuck outta here” to?
Moreover, injecting a dose of truth serum is what that collective stream of Facebook consciousness needed, IMHO.
I’ve heard enough of Limbaugh to know what time it is – I mean, was – with him. One of those listening sessions occurred while being trapped in the backseat of a client’s car as a co-worker and I carpooled with said client to an offsite meeting. (This was earlier in my career.) The radio was already tuned to the talk-radio station when the client started the car. Yeah. Good times.
But for a deeper explanation about why Limbaugh was no patriot and, in fact, a disease on the body politic, New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait delivers an excellent perspective in his column Rush Limbaugh Taught Republicans to Love an Angry, Racist Bully.
‘Limbaugh oozed bile. He did not merely characterize his targets as misguided, or stupid, or even selfish. He rendered them for his audience as dehumanized targets of rage. He had special rage for feminist women, who were castrating harpies, and Black people, who were lazy, intellectually unqualified, and inherently criminal. The message he pounded home day after day was that minorities and women were seizing status and resources from white people and men, and that politics was a zero-sum struggle — and the victory would go to whichever side fought more viciously.’
‘Limbaugh’s racism was obsessive, not incidental. Any measures to uplift Black America, in his mind, could only come at white expense and were inherently illegitimate.
‘One of the more telling episodes in his career came nearly 20 years ago when ESPN gave him a stint as an NFL commentator, on the calculation that he could put aside his reactionary goals and use his skills as a communicator on a different subject entirely. The experiment quickly blew up when he proclaimed, absurdly, that star quarterback Donovan McNabb was somehow overrated due to his race.’
You get the picture.
I would have liked to have injected Chait’s article as a second dose of the vaccine in that Facebook discussion to test its efficacy on the participants. Because I don’t understand how someone like Limbaugh could be held in esteem and called a “patriot” by otherwise good people; by someone who would consider me a “friend.”
I guess I’ll never know; he “unfriended” me. I shed no tears about that either. Zero.
Update: Why there won't ever be another Rush Limbaugh — thank God