So Rush Limbaugh has lung cancer. Well, isn’t that interesting. Here’s my little personal history with this guy.
In the early 90’s, when I left home and moved to Phoenix to do the college thing, I discovered Rush on the radio. To my small-town mind, which hadn’t been exposed to a lot of politics (and before then I didn’t really care about it), he seemed to make a lot of sense. I loved his parody songs, some of which were wickedly clever, and his over-simplified way of pitting Us. vs. Them felt right. Liberals were the ones destroying America, they were the danger to be conquered at any cost! And I believed him. I really didn’t know any better. Yes, I knew I was gay, but I hadn’t come out to anyone officially and I didn’t really feel the need to. So I went along with it, thinking I was a conservative and hyping Rush to everyone I knew. My mom was delighted when I told her about him, and she became a massive fan and longtime listener (much to my shame years later). I laughed when he called women “feminazis.” I chortled when he basically called Chelsea Clinton an ugly dog. I cheered him on while he ranted scandalously for countless hours about Whitewater and Vince Foster’s suicide and Bill Clinton’s alleged affairs. America, fuck yeah!!
But the longer I lived in Phoenix, and the more I began looking around and exposing myself to different ways of seeing the world, the less certain I was about calling myself a conservative. Rush began to sound a little…crazy. His conspiratorial spiels got stale, and I began to realize that it’s all just fluff that preys on peoples’ insecurities. White peoples’ insecurities, to be more specific. So I just tuned him out, feeling I’d outgrown him. A few years later, in late 1999 (literally the last day), I moved to Seattle to start a new life. I was exposed to more culture and political views, came out to everyone officially, and further cemented my position as an outspoken Liberal. You know, the ones who are supposed to destroy America and all that? Uh-huh. I felt like I’d finally reached the Age of Reason.
During visits to my little hometown, though, my mom still had him on the radio all the time, which was upsetting. She was still hooked, and by this time Fox News has started to become part of her daily news intake as well, which didn’t help things at all. Fox News became ten times worse than Limbaugh, delivering carefully-crafted fear and paranoia targeted directly at her demographic: the aging boomer. It was a double whammy that changed our relationship forever, leading to many political arguments about stupid shit that I knew she was far too smart to believe, yet they convinced her anyway. To her credit, though, my mom was 100% accepting of me as her gay son and always supported marriage equality. She immediately accepted my partner (later husband) without blinking an eye, which I’ll always be grateful for.
My mom died suddenly a couple of months ago. We stopped arguing about politics about a year before Trump was elected (she said he scared her, interestingly), but I’ve always regretted introducing her to Rush Limbaugh — chances are she would have found out about him somehow anyway, but I’ll never forgive myself for contributing to the poisoning of her mind and worldview that way.
OK, back to Rush. Now, I’d never wish cancer on anyone. What a horrible way to go. Cancer killed my dad a couple of years ago, and it has claimed several other family members and friends over the years. But when I found out that Limbaugh already has advanced lung cancer…I smiled. The phrase “Reap what you sow” came to mind. For one thing, he’s smoked cigars for ages, because he doesn’t think it’s necessarily bad for you. But more importantly for me, this man has spewed bigotry and lies for decades, to millions of listeners to gladly eat it up without question. He’s contributed to the culture of assholery that has become part of the conservative norm: publicly troll and ridicule the innocent and weak, champion authoritarian ideas, cheer for the corrupt billionaire class, tear down those who would make our world a cleaner and safer place to live, exploit his listeners’ racist tendencies, support Trump 100% no matter how many laws he breaks…Limbaugh’s legacy is undeniably toxic and has done massive damage to our political culture and discourse. He basically opened the door for self-serving monsters like Trump, which is unforgivable. (Naturally, Trump asked him to put off his cancer treatment so he could attend the SOTU address and receive a totally-unearned “medal of freedom” for some reason. Classic Trump, LOL.)
And as a side note, apparently Rush is super friendly with God now:
I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about. But I do, and I have been working that relationship tremendously, which I do regularly anyway, but I’ve been focused on it intensely for the past couple of weeks.
Well, now. The man dedicates his life to spreading hate, lies, and division, then figures he’ll assure his spot in Heaven by gettin’ good with God at the end. Why is he doing that, if he felt in his heart he was doing righteous work all his life? People like him always think they’re doing righteous, godly work. Could it be that he’s got some regrets? Might there be some doubt about his “guaranteed” arrival in Heaven? If God exists, he/she/it isn’t going to overlook the damage you’ve done, so prepare for your life review at His feet, Rush. It’s gonna be pretty cringey.
So yeah, I’m not feeling one tiny shred of sympathy for this cancer-riddled old crank. Unlike most Americans, he’ll have the best treatment money can buy and he’ll likely die in absolute comfort with an endless supply of happy pills (something he’s already quite familiar with). I predict he’ll get a hero’s burial, broadcast live on Fox News, while famous right-wingers fling their weeping bodies over his coffin and mourn the loss of such a valiant soul. On social media there will be weeks of public weeping, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, and all that other dramatic shit. And then, finally, he will be gone.
In fact, the public teeth-gnashing has already begun on social media. I can barely bring myself to read any of it. Right-wingers on Facebook and Twitter are oh so appalled that some might be glad to be rid of him, even cheering for his death, and their fairweather outrage is pretty comical considering their absolute lack of compassion in so many other ways. Kids torn from their parents’ arms and babies dying in Trump’s border camps? Those brown people deserve it! But this right-wing radio guy gets cancer and HOW DARE YOU NOT WEEP?? Let’s see what happens when Obama falls ill or dies — these “compassionate conservatives” will be dancing in the streets, I guarantee it.
So let them mourn their precious radio guy. As for the rest of us, we’ll be fine. We won’t shed a single fucking tear.