“An in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” — Paul McCartney
I usually write in the mornings. I’ve also used the line above before. I try not to do that, but there is no other line I can find that’s appropriate. I could have waited until the morning to write this as well, but inspiration hit me. It isn’t even so much that I know exactly what I want to say. It’s funny how I don’t take the advice we give to our students.
We give our students so many graphic organizers and mnemonic devices that are designed to plan out an essay almost word for word. I usually wing it. I don’t know if it comes out that way. Some people love my writing and some people hate it. That’s usually the way these things go.
I read a post on Facebook from someone I graduated high school with talk glowingly about Rush Limbaugh following his death. They came just short of calling him an American hero and I had one of those visceral reactions where I had to say something. I didn’t say anything there. It was an echo chamber where my words would have fallen on deaf ears. Plus, there was no way to say something short and pithy that would encompass it all.
Limbaugh’s death is a tragedy in the sense that any loss of human life is a tragedy. It’s a tragedy just like if someone in prison dies after a lifetime behind bars. I would never root for someone to die no matter how much I disliked him or her. I don’t know anyone personally that has reacted with glee, but I know a ton that have reacted with an absence of mourning.
One of the commenters called him a titan of journalism and a pioneer in talk radio. I’m not sure if journalism is how I would label Limbaugh and his ilk. I would classify them more as entertainers and if we are to credit him for being a pioneer in talk radio, I’m not so sure that’s a great thing. It would be like honoring the scientists that took part in the Manhattan project. Yes, nuclear weapons were a significant invention, but they may not have been a good one morally, ethically, or in any humanitarian sense.
Of course, Donald Trump felt it necessary to give Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom. He began giving those away like they were prizes on the bottom of a box of Cracker Jacks. If we grade those on the value of those that received them then they may not have been worth much more than that. I could flood this piece with dozen of hateful Limbaugh quotes showing off how racist, chauvinistic, and cruel he really was.
Yet, the governor of Florida felt it necessary to put the state flags at half mast in his honor. Honor. That’s an interesting term. I saw nothing honorable in him. I saw nothing related to journalism in him. He spread hate, bile, and misinformation for over 30 years on the airways. All of that had a dramatic effect on our society and collective psyche. It may not have single-handedly divided us, but he was certainly a lot more responsible than the last president.
Still, I will challenge anyone celebrating his death. Death is nothing to celebrate. I will also challenge anyone wanting to celebrate his life. I find nothing worth celebrating here. He was a hateful man that spread hate on the airwaves for most of our lifetimes. In the end, you get what you put in. I personally think it is sad if any significant segment of the population celebrates your death. In my mind you’re doing something wrong.
However, it is hard to deny that are a number of people celebrating his life anyway. He was their spirit animal. His words were their words. His hate was their hate. He gave them and others the courage to spew their bile for multitudes to see and hear. He beget Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and Laura Ingraham. He also begat others on the airwaves like Glenn Beck. Maybe that’s something to celebrate for some. Just don’t count me as one of them.