(excellence in blogging, of course)
Rush Limbaugh died yesterday of lung cancer. I’m in with a pretty solid crowd of very liberal people on Twitter and IG and the blogging world. I donate money and time to Democratic candidates locally and across the country when needed. I have a RGB action figure and still have my 2016 HRC “I’m with Her” magnet on my laptop stand. Safe, loved, and warm, right?
When news broke of Limbaugh’s passing and my Twitter feed began its tapdance of glee, I tweeted this:
Unlike many here, I actually used to listen to Rush Limbaugh forever ago and if he had used his presence and talent to build America up instead of bitterly dividing it, today would be a completely different mood.me, twitter, yesterday.
I garnered only 3 likes and probably lost some followers. I completely expected that because I’m sure people where shocked that 1) I listened to Rush and 2) I admitted it.
But I have never hidden that I have a mildly conservative past. It’s all in the early days of this blog. I voted for Bush 43 and McCain with a super reluctant vote for Kerry in between. The 2000 version of Kim and the 2008 version of Kim had her reasons that she thought were decent. I was a registered Libertarian for a while too, before THAT party turned sour. Or did I sour on the party?
I listened to Rush in the late 90s/early 00s when I had a crappy car with a radio that only pulled in a few stations. One of them was the local talk station, and it ran a slate of conservative hosts. At the time I was convinced that Bill Clinton was reprehensible and unfit to be president (It wasn’t the blow job, it was the lying about the blow job, and that it all happened in the Oval Office. I am about the age of the intern whose name is forever affiliated with him, and ugh.) I am simultaneously still enthralled by and repulsed by Bill Clinton.
But at the time, Rush was ON FIRE with parodies and darkly funny jokes. (and some that were distasteful no matter who you voted for) We were all witnessing the first slow-motion political train wreck of the Internet age. And he had some howlers about Al Gore when he ran in 2000. But as we moved past Clinton into Bush 43 and the post 9/11 era, Rush and the rest took a very cruel and xenophobic hard-right turn.
Or rather, I realized that they were ALWAYS that way.
Shortly after, I left conservative radio behind. I also left behind the conservative columnist in Minneapolis who used to write about awful food recipes of the 60s/70s. If you know, you know.
What changed? I started reading books and blogs from people who were different from me. I began talking to more people outside of my dumb little suburban enclave and as I worked to make my own world larger, I realized that all people are valuable and worthy of love and what I thought was Rush being darkly funny was him being a terrible human being.
To mangle some famous words, I’m not writing this to praise Rush but to bury him. And to put out there that not all of us have an unblemished ideological past, and some of us didn’t emerge from an clamshell fully kind and liberal, we had to put a lot of hard thinking and work to get here. I’m still not perfect, none of us are.
But I’m working toward it.
Good news! If you’re a regular reader but forget to check in, you can subscribe to a once-a-week email with links to that week’s posts! Click here to sign up!