There is no such thing as a good-natured discussion between people with diametrically opposing political views. It may start out civilized, a couple of pointed jabs at the other’s stupidity, but it rarely ends up that way. When the gloves are off politically, people come wearing brass knuckles and usually start with a sucker punch to the nads. It’s a schoolyard tussle where someone’s guaranteed to end up angry or offended. Often it seems the battle is begun for the sheer delight of shit-disturbing, a tack taken by many conservative types who dish on politics.
Watching these jerks kick the politically weak and socially vulnerable is something that those feeling a little down on own their luck can themselves can take comfort in, at least when they aren’t the targets of such direct attack. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of a socially atomized culture that’s lost the strong bonds of community. It’s a situation that makes it easy for dubious hucksters looking to hijack and manipulate the political message as they do the bidding of their political masters.
The role of obnoxious provocateur to high-minded liberals is the schtick of people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Anne Coulter and they knock that shit out of the park most of the time. As a detested liberal, I find the provocation intellectually stimulating. The unbridled sanctimony is like the thrill of skydiving or cliff jumping. After talking myself off the righteous ledge I come to the sane assessment that these people probably believe about a quarter of the bullshit that flies from their mouth and the other three quarters is what they serve up to pay the rent. It’s their tactics that are often below the belt. It seems foolish to take any of it seriously.
Recently though, Rush really went on a bender at the conservative trough. He drank keg-loads of the Kool-Aid and got all dizzy from the gun-play and gay-bashing. When it came time for him to speak on his radio show last week he was still slurring his speech, bouncing off the walls with Social Darwinist euphoria. He hadn’t taken his meds to settle the tempest in his oral sphincter before he stepped up to his mike to pinch his loaf. When he opened his mouth/anus out came massive case of the runs. Again. The rest of us were left reeling from the mess of verbal diarrhea he’d unleashed. And it stinks real bad. Like a pig barn in the Alabama heat bad. And, against my better judgement, I can’t resist throwing a little turd of my own in response.
Last week, a witness named Sandra Fluke testified before a House Committee to advocate for a motion to have health care plans pay for the cost of medical contraception for its female plan subscribers. It seems some religious-based institutions such as Georgetown University, which Ms Fluke attends, have health plans that won’t pay for contraception, ostensibly on the basis that their use is exclusively in the furtherance of birth control. I hate to throw a scientific wet blanket on yet another line of reasoning that suggests sex among consenting adults is “bad,” but conditions like polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, and acute PMS are are also controlled by prescribed medical contraceptives. So it’s not all about the big bad ‘S’-word. But I digress.
In response to Ms Fluke’s testimony, Rush Limbaugh likened the effort to the advocacy of public funding of prostitution:
What does it say about the college coed Susan [sic] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.
She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.
The johns, that’s right. We would be the johns — no! We’re not the johns. Well — yeah, that’s right. Pimp’s not the right word.
OK, so, she’s not a slut. She’s round-heeled. I take it back.
In her testimony Fluke recounted the story of a student, who happened to be gay, who needed birth control to manage ovarian cysts but who could not afford the medication and could not convince her institution’s health plan that she required it. Ms Fluke is obviously Liberal. And Intelligent. And a friend to Gays. The trifecta of blasphemy for far-right conservative dipshits like Limbaugh. According to Limbaugh, she’s also a slut who wants health plans to pay for her prostituting ways. Given he’s the cocksucker in this little debacle I’d say the pot’s calling the kettle black.
Like I said, Limbaugh and his ilk are lightning rods who go for the scorched earth approach to political discourse over these kinds of issues. Piss off the indignant Liberals with totally mindless, grossly offensive baiting, and suss out the elitism in their high-minded righteous indignation for the masses to behold. They pander to the inner reptile among the most suggestible, infantile of their constituents – few in number, but vociferous in their reactionism – scaring them so bad they’ll want lots of guns to fend off gays, Mexicans, Muslims, and Liberals.
Hey, I’m a black man, I well aware of how well this stuff works. I’ve had white folks hiding their watermelons, clinging to their wallets, and locking up their sexually curious white daughters when I was around. You can instill strong myths and legends by repeating the same lies about any evil bogeymen you can create, so that eventually the people will beg you to do whatever you tell them you need to do to keep them free from harm. It works by flooding our evolutionary sub-conscious with images and ideas that instill fear and insecurity in the part of our brain that traces its roots back to the days when we had gills and dorsal fins; the part that we shouldn’t be voting with, or doing any of our thinking with, for that matter. Unless we are being pursued as dinner by a whale-shark or pack of hyenas or something. Then it makes sense. Other than that, when you’re in a civil society, you’d best not be letting the fish part of your brain guide your behaviour. But this is what these pundits seem to want. They want you to harness your inner fish. And they’ll say absolutely anything imaginable to scare you senseless until you do.
This bogeyman wedge method has been an amazing and effective political strategy for those who have been able to turn their noses far enough upwind to wield it. In the US, the far right pundits and their fellow millionaires have convinced millions of disenfranchised Americans who have no business supporting the platforms of people who’d just as soon send they and their kind up the river for a buck. Insofar as they follow Limbaugh, or the Tea Partiers or Gingrich, their political preferences are counter to their actual interests in almost every way. It’s totally absurd.
Many real conservative thinkers rightly abhor these pundits, but are caught in a jam: they bring in votes from people who, if they weren’t so dang enamored by the dog-and-pony shows that Limbaugh and company put on, would never, in a million years vote for people who share no common cause with them. It’s a crap shoot, because Limbaugh, Beck, and Coulter sometimes go too far in their desire to entertain, to provoke. Their inner fish comes out for all to behold and leaves many shaking their heads, usually in disgust. People otherwise rallied by tough-guy, ‘what-me-worry’ tenor of the rants start to wonder about how principled these pundits really are. They may start to catch on to the idea that maybe, just maybe Rush and his crass minions are totally full of shit.
Why aren’t Americans pissed off about people like Limbaugh trying to suck every ounce of greatness from their country for a few bucks and some entertainment value? Why aren’t real conservatives lining up to shit-kick these rubes for co-opting their brand and turning it into a Jerry Springer version of genuine conservatism? Instead of presenting a viable alternative to liberalism they single out marginalized groups – gays, women, immigrants, or whoever – and trivialize the role of American democracy in addressing legitimate issues by cracking mean-spirited jokes at their expense. For them it’s an entertaining way to make a buck. For everyone else, not so much.
Rush Limbaugh’s response to Sandra Fluke’s testimony on this particular issue was beyond the pale. In this instance, Limbaugh really threw off his fat-suit and showed up in his brown-shirted wife beaters to spew his verbal diarrhea. It’s shocking how disproportionately offensive his remarks were; how utterly misogynistic in nature.
He skipped the stock rants about how everyone shouldn’t be expected to pay for the livelihood of others as all Stalinists would have it, blah, blah, blah. Instead, he whipped out his limp-dick, raised up his back hand and politically raped Sandra Fluke. The nature of his reaction to her testimony; it’s suspicious, isn’t it? Slut? Prostitute? Pimps? It was a warning to others like her. With his vitriol he was trying to beat her back to the kitchen or the brothel, where women belong, right?
And here’s the thing: it may be easy to get large swaths on board your crazy train when you’re singling out Mexicans or homosexuals as victims for your latest tirade. Sad, but all too often, true. However, most folks have a woman in their family – their wife, daughter, sister. Most women, even if they love Rush Limbaugh, or are leery of gays, don’t want a jerk like Rush Limbaugh calling them a slut based on the decisions they make over their health needs. Most men don’t want dicks like Rush Limbaugh to be judge and jury when it comes to the rights their wives, sisters, or daughters enjoy in America, even if they agree that everyone ought to have a gun in their glovebox. There’s a line, isn’t there?
Here’s another smelly nub squeezed out of Limbaugh’s anus/mouth:
If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch,” he said on Thursday. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17241803
Rush didn’t see a third year law student advocating for women’s health rights. He didn’t even see a despised liberal. He saw some chick who deigned to assert her democratic rights in Congress. Maybe you agree, maybe you disagree with her position. That’s not the point. You don’t try and bitch-slap someone from taking part in the democratic process by singling her out as a woman for a woefully sexist attack. It’s revealing about how Rush Limbaugh views the place of women in a democracy. This isn’t defensible from any standpoint: conservative, liberal, or whatever. Check that. It’s defensible if you’re a fascist-minded, misogynist. My bad.
Here’s the insidious thing about this whole incident: the next time a woman, a private citizen, is invited to testify at a House Committee to express a ‘liberal’ view on a women’s issue will she have to brace for this sort of personal attack in response? Would a dude be subjected to this kind of criticism for democratically expressing his views?
What Rush has done has put the fascist chill into democracy by publicly bashing a citizen for having the gall to participate in the democratic process. And he’s done so by purporting to play for the conservative team. I don’t know, I think conservatives could do without this guy in their lineup. I know they can. And they should.