Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rush Limbaugh doesn't scare me...

... what does scare me is that he has a huge audience of devoted listeners who think everything he says makes sense! I know some of these people and they are otherwise intelligent, rational men (I suspect most of Rush's followers are men). Rush, it seems, gives voice to their worst fears and (sorry but it's true) prejudices.

This morning I had a conversation with two of Rush's listeners, both of whom I like and respect for their intelligence, common sense and family values, and I was troubled by their remarks. Rush's most recent debacle was precipitated by his remarks concerning a young woman who supported President Obama's move to make health insurance coverage of birth control measures mandatory - I won't bore you with the details, but "slut" and "prostitute" were terms that he used to characterize her.

So when Rush came up in the conversation this morning (business is slow, we were bored and had nothing else to talk about) my friends, and I use the term advisedly because they are my friends, rose to his defense by doing what he would do: attacking the woman whose views offended Rush (and by extension, them). They parroted Rush's remark that "she wants to be paid to have sex", and augmented the argument with, "...if we have to pay for her birth control pills, then someone should have to pay for my beer."

Here's what scares me: Rush successfully reframed the issue for my friends from "should women's birth control expenses be mandatorily covered by health insurance?", to "should we have to pay this woman to have sex?"! Rush Limbaugh's outrageous commentary derailed the rational argument concerning legitimate issues involving health care coverage and replaced it with discussion of a loaded question about paying someone to have sex, and these otherwise intelligent people don't realize that they have been duped.

Or maybe they haven't been duped - maybe they understand that Rush is an entertainer who says outrageous things just to gain an audience but they agree with his remarks anyway. That would really scare me.

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