Angela L Bannister and I were listening to Rush Limbaugh on WOOD 1300 AM while doing errands today, and I couldn’t help but to sigh and shake my head. Whether talking about marriage equality, freedom, or American exceptionalism, one fact became abundantly clear: for Limbaugh, everything, and I mean everything, comes back full-circle to the Republican/Democrat partisan paradigm, where everything is seen as black & white… well, red & blue.
Here’s the sum:
Marriage Equality – Gays and lesbians just want tax breaks currently enjoyed by married straight couples. He made no mention of the Social Security benefits, family and medical leave eligibility, immigration perks, federal employee benefits, or any of the many benefits married straight couples enjoy that, enduring inequality under the law, gays and lesbians do not even qualify for, much less enjoy.
Freedom – According to Limbaugh, the only truly emancipated American blacks are conservative Republicans… seriously. His rationale is that the only reason American blacks have for being Democrats is–wait for it–that they are unwilling (or unable?) to take control of their own destiny and prefer subjection and subservience to freedom and ownership. Limbaugh compounded the insult by insisting that freedom is an easy-to-grasp universal–it would do Limbaugh well to read George Lakoff’s “Whose Freedom?”
Exceptionalism – I’ve heard Limbaugh talk about this issue many times, and each time was more embarrassingly absurd and inaccurate than the previous time. It’s ridiculous enough to argue that American exceptionalism has historically meant nothing more to politicians and pundits than that America is “just different” from the rest of the nations of the world. Limbaugh knows this well and good–it wasn’t long ago that he went to town criticizing President Obama for implying that America, far from being above reproach, was just one nation among many, apologizing for what he believes to be American misdeeds in history; it’s entirely disingenuous, however, for Limbaugh to deny that he himself has believed that America is better than, even superior to, other nations. His insincerity here may only be rivaled by both his constant insistance that he isn’t part of the GOP’s establishment in-crowd and his terribly unrealistic assurances that he personally has nothing to gain from spinning things howsoever he chooses.
Partisanship – For the life of him, Limbaugh can’t bring himself to trash his vintage partisan 3D glasses for the clear transpartisan shades wherein people may see things as they are, allowing them to render truly independent praise and criticism–regardless of political party and/or religious affiliation. Everything turns into a grotesque either/or wherein “liberal Democrats are the source of all evil” and “conservative Republicans are the source of all goodness.” Eery problem has a one-size-fits-all solution: pin the tail on the donkey!
Simplicity – Per usual, most any and all issues “really are very simple.” In Limbaugh’s world, there’s no complexity, no shades of grey, and no loose ends. All that’s required in Limbaugh’s partisan wonderland is that he (and everyone else) view any and all good things through the red lens wherein conservative Republicans get all the praise, whereas all bad things must be seen through the blue lens wherein liberal Democrats receive all the blame. In the event that the facts on the ground make such forced analysis possible, all one must do is close their eyes, cover their ears, redirect to instances already defined by partisans in terms of “red = good” and “blue = bad,” and top if off with a hefty serving of mockery and ridicule–the worst being saved for anyone and everyone who may prefer the technicolor of clarity seen through clear transpartisan lenses.
You know, I’ve got more than a handful of things to be grateful for, no doubt. But since deciding years ago to give myself over to the rough and tumble of talk radio, not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought to myself, “Thank the gods, I’m not Rush Limbaugh…“