Quite a few people hate — and I mean hate — Rush Limbaugh.
Born in our own state of Missouri, the Cape Girardeau native makes his living being a connoisseur of impropriety, so it comes with little surprise that many think he's the Daniel Tosh of political theater. I'll cut right to my point: Rush Limbaugh may be deserving of any vitriol you want to send his way, but he just so happens to be an unwitting champion of social progress.
Before your heart starts pumping arrhythmias, keep in mind I never said that I respect the guy. On the contrary — I think he's a self-righteous, closet fascist who sweats ice from the horns on his head every time he has to step outside Park Avenue. But that certainly doesn't mean I can't enjoy what he's unintentionally done to conversation in this country. In fact, I'm a rather adamant believer in the notion that Rush Limbaugh has supplemented the national push towards a “socially liberal” United States, primarily through his insistence in being unrelentingly radical in his conservatism.
In that same regard, please note I am not attacking being conservative; if that's the camp you find yourself comfortable in, power to you. What I am attacking is being radically right — something, if Gallup polls, political theory and statistics are to hold true — most aren't fond of, either.
You may be intimately familiar with the Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke controversy, in which the invariably charming Mr. Limbaugh referred to Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute” for her opining in front of the House on contraceptive mandates — which, in case you're unaware, involves implementing insurance coverage for contraception, which can be incredibly expensive. The argument she employed is a familiar one: getting an education in the United States is ludicrously pricey, so students don't have the extra thousands of dollars necessary to pay for contraception — and yes, it does cost that much.
Limbaugh received quite a bit of bad publicity for his sexist sentiments, with an unprecedented number of supporters dropping his show and opting to get their conservative-talk-show fix elsewhere. I'd suggest that this effectively communicated a message to the entirety of the public; slut-shaming and referring to women as prostitutes for wanting to have protected sex is grossly inappropriate, and a decidedly sexist assault on human rights.
There's far more archaic puritanism that Limbaugh frequently purports to discredit himself even further. For one, he has a penchant for making prejudicial comments against the African-American community. For example, when failing to understand a caller on his radio show, he responded with a charismatic “take that bone out of your nose and call me back.” Another famous incident found him “pointing out” that all composite pictures of wanted criminal suspects resemble Jesse Jackson, which, if you can take the hint, is equivocating all criminals to people of colored skin.
He's also appointed himself as a commanding officer in the war on science. After the BP oil spill in 2010, he argued, “The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there. It’s natural. It’s as natural as the ocean water is.”
Aside from Limbaugh's musings of a mystical ocean and his flagrant stereotyping of colored people as wanted criminals, there's his popularizing of the term ”feminazi,” a slur aimed at contemporary feminists. Because, as I'm sure you know, campaigning for equal rights and making light of the Holocaust are intimately related. His obnoxious anti-feminist sentiment doesn't end there, as you can derive from the following:
“Women should not be allowed on juries where the accused is a stud.”
“They're out there protesting what they wish would happen to them sometimes” (on women protesting sexual assault).
“I love the women's movement – especially when walking behind it.”
Since I've very clearly detailed the type of individual Rush Limbaugh is, you might wonder how he's progressed society in any way, shape or form. To start, I'd venture to say his statements are so vehemently radical that they inherently spark a public discourse, and an intense one, at that. Assuming such discourse does in fact occur, one could infer that people don't want to associate themselves with the side that advocates a metamorphic ocean and believes women actively want to be raped; so they actually consider the other side's case.
Think about any political disagreements you've seen, heard, or participated in; how often are they just shouting matches where one side refuses to listen to the other? So, Rush Limbaugh, on a very broad scale, effectively got people to listen to one another; unfortunately, it took advocating rape and being incredibly racist to do it.
There’s no excusing the man’s actions or statements. But advancing the dialogue is a benefit born of an unfortunate situation.
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