Once and ONLY Once: What do I tell my kids about Rush Limbaugh?

Ok. I am only going to mention this topic once.  If I ever mention it again (not including comments below), then I will make a $1,000 donation to Girls On The Run.  After this post, I will never generate a discussion in writing on the topic of Rush Limbaugh.

So why do it now?

Most of the writing I have read on the subject of his latest controversial remarks wherein he called a law student a “slut” on the air for her audacious position on birth control (i.e., she had the audacity to want to testify before the all-male Congressional panel convened to discuss birth control) does a very thorough job of criticizing Limbaugh and lambasting his misogyny.  Better writers than I have covered the topic.

Moreover, over 35 advertisers have abandoned Mr. Limbaugh, and advertisers have the power of money to send a message to Mr. Limbaugh.  I know he’s an ardent fan of this site– who doesn’t love the Outlaw Mama?– but I am guessing that he feeds off criticism from hysterical, slutty women like me. So, adding criticism to the whole situation is not exactly feeling “pro-active” enough for me.

I actually lost sleep over this last night.  I was thinking what I should tell Sadie and Simon about the incident and Mr. Limbaugh’s attitudes towards women and birth control and sex and society. (I can’t even touch the fact that an all-male panel convened to talk about birth control– it makes me want to move to Mexico and risk being shot by drug lords.)  What do I teach my little girl about that? And what about my little boy?

My first instinct was to ride the hate train and have it ramble right over Mr. Limbaugh.  It’s definitely my gut reaction.  But, I spend a lot of time trying to keep Sadie and Simon from grabbing things from one another and playing too roughly, so introducing hate for Mr. Limbaugh seems at odds with the “lessons” I work on for 98% of my time.

But what’s another approach?

Here’s what I came up with:

Mr. Limbaugh is  a very sick man.  He’s popular and lots of people like him and believe in him, and it’s not the last time you will see someone who is sick who has power and popularity.  But, at the end of the day, he’s a very sick and angry person.  And, when someone with a platform like he has says things that are outrageous or hurtful or offensive, it is easy to get discouraged about the state of humanity.  It’s easy to throw your hands up and say, “Forget it! If Mr. Limbaugh can say such horrible and misogynist things in 2012, then there is no hope.” It’s tempting to Google the bad and scandalous news and saturate yourself in the doom and despair, like Mommy did when the Penn State sex scandal broke.

I would ask you to avoid the temptation to attach to and get stuck on the bad news.  Because the truth is that while Mr. Limbaugh was making his abusive and misguided statements to Sandra Fluke, I guarantee you that something wonderful was happening somewhere else.  Go find that.  If you have to work harder to find good news, it’s work worth doing.  Fill your head with something hopeful and uplifting and generative.  Read about good news in cancer research or Phil Mickelson’s latest win or Beyonce’s breastfeeding in public.

Better yet, write some good news; share something positive or honest or real with the world.  If you are anything like your mother, negative things can be like shiny pennies that are irresistable: you must pick them up!  There comes a point when I am responsible for the information that I expose myself to– Neither Rush Limbaugh nor Sandusky asked me to spend my precious free time scouring the web for more, more, more details on them.  I did that. I chose that.  I missed the chance to visit blogs with beautiful pictures or to read up on the latest developments in autism therapies. 

Attach to what is good, what brings you hope and joy, and what makes you want to go out into the world and be connected with yourself and with others.  And at the end of the day, when you say your prayers for people who are suffering, consider adding Mr. Limbaugh to the list because only someone who suffers mightily would say the stupid sh*t he says. I am not very good at sending compassion for people who trigger me like Mr. Limbaugh does, but I don’t want that hate coating my heart– I need my heart for loving you two.  And daddy. And myself.  And Ryan Gosling.


6 thoughts on “Once and ONLY Once: What do I tell my kids about Rush Limbaugh?

  1. I’ve greatly disliked (spoken through gritted teeth) Limbaugh for years. I’ve run into my fair share of people who think he’s hung the moon. It used to seriously tick me off. Now I just save my energy and feel sorry for them.

    So glad we are on the same page. Comes through more and more on every post.

  2. What a terrific post. It saddens me to have arrived at a moment in our culture where my first instinct is to try to find out more dirt about the people I don’t like – whether they be media windbags or athletes on teams I don’t root for. I know that “shiny pennies” sensation you mention all too well.

    I’m inspired by your thoughtfulness in encouraging your kids (and us) to rise above the tit-for-tat mentality and to focus on the good. I suspect that if we could all do that, the 24/7 cable news channels would be out of business by the weekend.

  3. “I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn’t actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.” -Molly Ivins

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