Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Concerning Rush Limbaugh

     The best measure of a man’s impact on the world is the intensity of the reaction to news that he has departed it, or that he soon will.

     Rush Limbaugh is not a politician. He’s never held public office. He’s not a Captain of Industry. He holds no Nobel Prizes. He’s not celebrated for great works of humanitarianism. He’s a commentator whose preferred medium is radio, at which he has done superbly well. Yet the news of his Stage 4 lung cancer – barring a miracle, a sentence of near-term expiration – has much of America agog.

     Yes, I know about the effusions of hatred and ill-wishing toward him on social media. But the overwhelming majority of the emissions over Limbaugh’s malady have been expressions of sadness, even extreme sadness. We anticipate the loss of a man who for three decades spoke for us eloquently, forcefully, and memorably. We cannot imagine ever again seeing his like.

     Rush Limbaugh is the voice of Forgotten America: the millions who hold to the traditional vision of the nation as a place where men could be free.

     Yes, I’ve disagreed with him on one or two things. What does that matter? He energized a dying medium in a fashion no one could have expected: by talk. And what talk! He was incisive, clear, knowledgeable, and funny. In a time of grim hyper-earnestness, Limbaugh could entertain and enlighten with the same words.

     A friend of mine put it concisely: “He always knows his shit.” More than that, he knew how to couch a verbal lance. Does anyone else remember the first “caller abortion?” Does anyone else remember laughing hysterically when he said to his engineer “Did we get it all?”

     I have his first two books: The Way Things Ought To Be and See, I Told You So. Though print is a less immediate medium than radio, he managed to convert his voice virtues substantially into printed words. Many a non-fiction writer could do well by studying those books.

     The Left’s drive for the reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine has always been about Limbaugh. He’s making us look bad! Get him off the air! But they couldn’t. He had a listener base that was larger and more faithful than any in history. No “progressive” legislator dared to move openly against him; it would be too likely that the legislator, not Limbaugh, would suffer for it. Limbaugh was a one-man impassable barrier against the resurgence of censorship of the media for political advantage.

     Once they realized that they couldn’t silence him, they tried to compete with him. My God, the abysmal depth, the ludicrousness of their failures! Time after time left-wing mouthpieces tried the talk-radio format, only to crash and burn so swiftly that it was as if their demises had been foreordained. Ask Jim Hightower, or Alec Baldwin, about their experiences with talk-radio...from a safe distance.

     Of very few of us will it be said – truthfully, at least – that “He changed the world for the better.” Rush Limbaugh made America a much different nation than the one into which he was born, and he did it almost exclusively with his voice. “Talent on loan from God,” indeed. His achievement should be celebrated by all who understand and love freedom.


Linda Fox said...

I've actually never listened to his show - until recently, I worked during the day, and didn't have the opportunity. Also, as I suffer from hearing loss, I seldom listen in the car, which I could have during summer vacations. Just too difficult to hear. At least, until this fall when I got my new hearing aids, that could Bluetooth the show.

So, while I have the ability, I may finally tune in.

But, I've followed via the transcripts, which are freely available on the website (Thank you, Rush! A MAJOR boon to the HOH - hard of hearing). I've only done this for the last 4-5 years, but that was long enough to get why listeners were so passionate about his show.

Lung cancer is a tough disease. It doen't just hit smokers - some of the earliest victims are non-smokers, particularly women. Yes, sometimes that "women hit hardest" meme is just too precious, but - in the case of under 50 female cancer victims, the tumors seem to be estrogen-dependent. They often die quite quickly.

While life span is increasing, still we have to remember we are not guaranteed any number of years. Rush is 69, almost exactly my age. In that time, he has accomplished so much more than most of us. While his years may be relatively short, the impact of his life is incalculable.


Rush was instrumental in my move to the Right. Not that I was strongly influenced by him, but until I started listening I still thought of myself as someone on the Left.

It was pure coincidence that I started listening, but once I did I realized "Maybe I am on the Right..."

Glenda T Goode said...

Back in the Clinton Years Rush made me laugh and helped me realize all was not lost at least in the short term. His assorted update themes and the parodies he aired were the fuel needed to carry on when the liberals were at the controls. His ability to describe with laser like focus the real core of what the democrats were doing along with his marvelous sense of humor makes his show what has been called appointment radio for me and for many since he came to national attention.

His diagnosis sounds grim just on the face of it and I hope that his case is one where pleasantly surprising things come his way. No one should make jokes about anyone's health misfortunes but I am aware that some of the vulgar left just cannot resist the temptation.

Even with this turn of events, we must continue to look to the future as Rush has done since he started his show.

Adrienne said...

Lovely post, Fran. Thank you...