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Basic Decency is a Rarity in Our Political Climate

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

Today, Rush Limbaugh, a prominent conservative talk radio show host, died from lung cancer. He was 70-years-old. Limbaugh practically changed the game on alternative sources of media, providing a talk show host that 15 million people tuned into. Some argue that Limbaugh was a driving force in modern conservatism.

Personally, I have never listened to Limbaugh because of alternative sources of information to talk radio like social media. Honestly, despite his political prominence, I was first aware of Mr. Limbaugh when he made a hilarious guest appearance on Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy and when President Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Mr. Limbaugh, for the many conservatives I do listen to regularly, was an icon of political right ideologies and created a tremendous emphasis on individual freedom and free marketeering: both large factors in modern Republican identity.

As young adults, my family members listened to Limbaugh decades ago while driving to their first college classes. For my family members, Limbaugh shaped their political views, providing an alternative perspective on current events from the consensus in prominent academia.

As always, regardless of any personal political disagreement, I extend my deepest condolences to Mr. Limbaugh’s family as they are grieving in the immediate aftermath of their beloved family member.

A sentiment that is unfortunately not echoed by those who strongly disagreed him.

In the immediate aftermath of the announcement of Limbaugh’s death, Twitter trended “Rush Limbaugh” along with the tags: “Good Riddance” and “Rot in Hell.” Later, “Rest in Peace” was replaced with “Rest in Piss.”

However, the smearing of the recently passed conservative did not stop at the trolls on Twitter. In a New York Times obituary of Limbaugh, they wrote, “He became a singular figure in the American media, fomenting mistrust, grievances and even hatred on the right for Americans who did not share their views, and he pushed baseless claims and toxic rumors long before Twitter and Reddit became havens for such disinformation.”

The entire article discusses his politics, career, and history, which is normal in an obituary; however, there is little mention of his charitable work, most notably raising 15 million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The article presents clear bias against Limbaugh as they disregard certain facts and highlight other facts.

On a side note, this description of Limbaugh is ironically applicable to prominent news organizations profiting off of polarization and a constant underreporting of news stories that harm the political left. Additionally, this is borderline editorializing of Limbaugh’s disparate impact on American voters.

Again, I have never listened to Limbaugh. He has never shaped any of my political viewpoints, but the point is that basic decency calls us to exercise a sliver of respect for the family that is grieving. Limbaugh, like millions of decent humans, is a husband, son, and brother. Simply, he had a family that is undergoing what is assumed to be tremendous grief and sorrow, and telling that family that Limbaugh should go “Rest in Piss” is terribly disgusting.

Lastly, politics is greatly insignificant next to the most important things in this life. The prospects of family, personal aspirations of mastering an invention, devotion to communal advancement, and the simple drive to be a better person transcends the bickering of governance. The problem that I see with our national political debate is that we are increasingly basing character judgment off of political identity – a disastrous mistake that will only yield greater intolerance and a lack of moral clarity.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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