I rarely talk politics on here because I'd rather discuss the fun mundane things about life, like my lack of skill at plucking my eyebrows or the virtues of dulce de leche cheesecake. Also, it just ticks off people, and that's not my goal in putting words on these pages every day. However, today, I'm going THERE. Specifically, the Rush Limbaugh hubbub. If you're not interested, you'll need to click over to someone else's blog. Melanie has a funny post on painting her kitchen. But if you are interested, here goes. I'm writing about it because this is my blog, and I can't keep my mouth shut about this. And most importantly, because I care.
Two things you should know about me. First of all, I am a self described moderate. I feel like I fall in the middle on a lot of issues. My voting is all over the place and so are my political opinions. I have voted for Republicans, and I have voted for Democrats. I look at the person, not the party. I am fairly liberal about certain social issues. I don't care who you sleep with or who you want to marry as long as children and animals are not being harmed in the process. I have really good friends who are gay, and I want them to be happy. While I do feel we need to stand tall on certain security issues (ie..Iraq), in general, I think we've spent way too much blood and money at war in the past few years. I am very conservative about financial issues. I think we need to get our spending under control in this country and quit throwing money at ridiculous programs. We don't have it to burn. I also don't feel the need to support people who aren't motivated to support themselves. I work hard for my home, food and fun, and I expect others to do the same, if they are able bodied. I believe that no one owes me anything, and that I can do anything in this country if I work hard enough at it. I think there is room for social programs, but that they should be used more wisely. I have no problem with some of my tax dollars being used to help those in need, as long as they are administered as temporary assistance and not a permanent source of income. It's time for us to tighten our belts and suck it up.
I also find not one single presidential candidate to date that I like. I laughed out loud last night while watching the Super Tuesday returns because one candidate would lead in one state and be at the bottom of the ladder in another. They were all over the place. I thought to myself, "Well, it's not just me." One thing I'm certain about, Newt Gingrich turns my stomach. I don't care what he's done legislation wise, the way he has cheated on and treated his ex wives tells me all I need to know about his character. That may not matter to some people, but it matters to me. I have no idea who I'm going to vote for, and I really hate the thought of holding my nose and pulling a lever without confidence. Ug.
The other thing you should know about me is that I can't stand Rush Limbaugh. He's been pissing me off for years, mostly because of what I believe are his misogynist views of women. My family has known for a long time not to bring him up without getting me fired up. However, I have regularly made myself listen to him (and Sean Hannity) to make sure I'm forming my opinions based on varied sources. I want my thinking to be challenged. Sometimes, I agree with Sean. I rarely agree with Limbaugh. Many times, I've heard Rush use inaccurate information and compare apples to oranges, and I just don't buy logic based on bad information. But more than anything, I just find him to be a jerk, and while I've given him a pass at times because he's in the business to provoke, I'm done with him. DONE. DONE. DONE. I decided Saturday morning to boycott the advertisers on his show, and they've made it pretty easy for me because they're all leaving him in droves. Although, part of them have only suspended their spots and will likely slip back onto his show once the worst is over. Cowards.
Here's why the Sandra Fluke thing is the last straw for me. Regardless of how you feel about the birth control issue and Obama Care, resorting to name calling, ugly name calling, was way out of line. He proudly (and rightfully) defends his right to free speech and yet castigates someone who has the courage to publicly give her opinion. As a mother, I find it reprehensible that he would attack someone's child that way. That person could be my daughter or my mother. That person could be me. Rebutt my opinions, but don't call me profane names in the process. His interpretation of her remarks also showed a real lack of knowledge regarding women's healthcare issues. Putting an aspirin between the knees will not help my middle aged friends keep their out of control hormones or periods from debilitating their daily lives like oral contraceptives will. Are there any medical reasons to take Viagra other than to have sex? Just askin'. We can debate all day whether or not private insurance carriers should have to cover contraceptives, but let's do it with respect and accurate information. It is a legitimate issue.
Rush is an entertainer who makes a lot of money from provoking people. His ratings in recent years are not what he'd like you to believe, and he occasionally has to pull some kind of stunt to draw attention to himself. He used Fluke just for that purpose, and I find that almost as bad as the words he used to describe her. His apology only came after the advertisers started leaving him, and then it was somewhat halfhearted. Personally, I think she should have gracefully accepted the apology and continued her fight for what she believes in. That's what you do when someone apologizes. You accept it and move forward. And therein lies the big issue for me in all of this mess, civility.
I feel as if we've lost our ability to debate, mediate and negotiate in a respectful manner in this country. My inbox is filled with emails from anti Obama folks that are often so ugly and spiteful that they make me cringe. I was raised to have respect for the people who run our country, whether you like them or not. I don't like everything Obama does, but I try not to denigrate him in public. George W. Bush used to do plenty to make me mad, but I can't think of a time when I criticized him with the language some people use about Obama. And as much as I can't stand Sarah Palin, I only shout "idiot" at my TV at home. I don't think there's room for that kind of language in an adult debate about the issues.
Everyone is so hell bent on getting his way that we can't give, even an inch. The House and Senate are gridlocked because of it, and the public discourse is one big ball of anger and label making. If I dare disagree with a conservative on any issue, I'm automatically declared a left leaning liberal, regardless of how I feel on other issues. If I disagree with a liberal, I'm a right wing conservative. No one wants to budge, so we get nowhere. And all around us are the Rush Limbaugh's and Bill Maher's fanning the flames of discourse. They encourage the divide with their purposeful rhetoric and do nothing to bring us together in this critical time in our country's history. As citizens, we fail to take ownership in all of this mess by blaming our favorite scapegoat, the "lame stream media". The right likes to use that term to criticize folks like NBC and then sing the praises of Fox News which is no more neutral. Fox simply slaps a flag on everything, trying to make you feel unpatriotic if you don't buy their take on it. Fair and balanced, my ass. The wheels on the Rupert Murdoch wagon are starting to come off, and there's no tellin' where that cart is going to eventually land. Woo, I'm on a roll now! There are plenty of sources other than the TV networks that do good reporting, and if we make an effort to use a variety of them, we will come away with enough good information to make decisions for ourselves. And yet most people don't. It's too easy to just point a finger elsewhere. Some do, and I take my hat off to those folks.
The fact that Limbaugh and some of his supporters hide behind the argument that he's just an entertainer doesn't sit well with me. He fully paints himself as a face of the GOP. His participation in the political landscape is well beyond that of an entertainer and comes with more responsibility than that of Kat Williams on an HBO special. If he wants to be a leader, then lead. But if he wants folks to follow then he's gonna have to show some respect for other people. And he has failed to do that time and time again. This is not the first time he's been ugly. His remarks about Michael J. Fox after Fox's testimony on stem cell research were crude and uncalled for. He has made fun of a disabled child, said things that were racist and frequently puts down women. The term "Femi-nazi" may be an attempt at humor and provocation, but frankly, I find it offensive when the term Nazi is attached to anybody. Some will accuse me of being overly sensitive by feeling that way, but so be it. I clearly remember what a big deal it was for Billie Jean King to beat Bobby Riggs, and I haven't forgotten the Margaret Sanger's or the Susan B. Anthony's and Lucy Burns' who worked hard to make sure I have access to birth control, that I get to vote, that I get paid a fair wage when I go to work every day and that I can be Secretary of State or President if I want to be. Albeit, the women in those top political positions still have to endure comments about their looks or accusations of being a lesbian or a bitch because they play hardball. We've still come a long way, and it's up to my generation and the ones after me to keep moving us forward. I don't want more than men, I just want to be equal. A lot of men who are defending Limbaugh, just don't get that. They don't understand why women were so outraged at the way Fluke was treated.
So, I'm calling Rush out on his vitriol. I've put up with his spiteful drivel long enough. He can go on saying what he wants. That's his right. But I'm not listening anymore, and I'm not supporting the advertisers who help him to make a living far more grand than many of the people he criticizes. My line in the sand is right here. DONE. DONE. DONE. Whew! Rant over.
Tomorrow? Spring flowers. Or maybe a cheesecake recipe.
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