Rush Limbaugh has destroyed any bipartisanship or sense of decency that used to exist in American politics.
These are my experiences with Limbaugh:
High school: I learned of his existence through the 700 Club, which brought him on now and then. I was still in the brain fog then, but didn’t listen to him. I was in high school, and couldn’t listen to talk radio even if I wanted to (which I didn’t).
1993: Intro to Mass Media teacher brought in a tape of Limbaugh, and showed us how Rush would quickly talk down any dissenting opinions from his callers and get them off the air, while anyone who agreed with him could talk longer. Rush was good at making sure his point of view got through and nobody else’s. I didn’t like this, though I admired his abilities. I wasn’t sure what to think of what Rush Limbaugh said, but I didn’t like how he said it. One guy in the class, would take any chance he could to talk (in his fascinating Eastern accent) about Rush Limbaugh. It was Limbaugh this, Limbaugh that: He adored Limbaugh. It did get annoying after a while. This was after Pat Robertson had falsely predicted Bush’s re-election, the second crack in the facade.
Eventually, Rush Limbaugh came on the campus pub TV. We sat there ripping on him, and Muskie Pat, who was working behind the bar, said, “If he says anything about femi-nazis, I’m gonna throw something at the screen.”
1994: I dated a guy for a short time, but the spark wasn’t there. We also had different political opinions: We were both Republicans, but his opinions were much farther to the right. One evening, he turned on Rush Limbaugh’s TV show, to my dismay. I kept my mouth shut to avoid trouble. He was always complaining about liberals this and liberals that. And he could get vocal with people who disagreed with him on politics. He embarrassed me when, to an innocent comment made by a sweet, elderly Southern teacher, he blew up and yelled at her. He said he was so sick of people saying such-and-such. I don’t remember what she had said or if she meant it politically, but he made it so.
1995: I started dating my husband; over time, my new brother-in-law proved to be a duplicate of the guy I dated in 1994. BIL was a proud Dittohead. Said liberals have a mental disease. We couldn’t even get through a typical family gathering without BIL yelling and screaming at my husband for saying something even vaguely moderate–until FIL and MIL finally said NO POLITICS.
He, Rush Limbaugh, and other Dittoheads were a big factor in turning me off Republicanism for good.
I often feel like that side of the family has been brainwashed by Limbaugh, even though only BIL is rabid about it. I often hear them say things that are racist or sexist or anti-poor. Even while still a Republican myself, I heard it, I saw it. For example, the day they said Goodwill wanted to build in their town. It was one of those swanky upper-middle-class suburbs of Milwaukee, and the in-laws were all upset about Goodwill moving in. BIL said, “Can you imagine the clientele that’ll bring in?” Then there was the time I’d bought some clothes from a thrift store and the in-laws got a look on their face like I’d been digging through trash bins–even though I’d grown up wearing the occasional item from a garage sale. My family did it, my friends did it, but now it felt like buying clothes secondhand was Verboten.
Sometimes I think I was always liberal, but had been brainwashed myself for many years–not by Limbaugh, but by religion, family and Pat Robertson. Fortunately I had integrated schools and media to show me that racism and misogyny are wrong, even if the teachings were very different at home. After I found the first crack in Robertson’s delusion in 1991, I was out of his influence by 1994. I still had other influences saying that Christians have to vote GOP because Democrats are atheistic baby-killers. But that fog continued to lift until I was finally out of it in the early 2000s, and realized that abortion was the only issue on which I still disagreed with the Dem Party–and I was starting to wonder if I’d been lied to about that, too.
2010s: I was now Democrat; BIL unfriended me on Facebook whenever I posted anything in favor of liberals. For a time, I had two accounts; I kept him on one which was barely used, and never brought him or the in-laws over to the main one. I eventually deactivated the account.
Various controversies continued over Limbaugh’s racist and misogynist antics, including mocking the college student who needed the Pill for a medical condition, but he said it was because she was having “so much sex.” Hubby started listening to Limbaugh, though he wasn’t a Dittohead. We used to watch the Daily Show together, but nowadays I wonder if he’s been lost to the right-wingers because of Limbaugh and others. He isn’t a Trumper, but I can’t talk to him about politics anymore.
I pray for Limbaugh’s soul as I do for everyone, because I feel I must, and am kind of OCD about it. But I cannot say I’m sorry he’s gone.