I understand that Rush Limbaugh has been going on lately about "Obama's America." Really? Does America belong to its President? Are we owned by our President? Does the President proscribe our actions and control the social environment in our country? Though that is the way conservatives would like it to be (only with a conservative authority figure controlling society), that is not the way it is.
Truth be known, this is much more Limbaugh's America than it is Obama's. When Limbaugh started his radio show in 1988 after the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, the political dialogue in this country, though very imperfect, was not nearly as ugly and lacking in civility as it is now. The following is an excerpt from The Conservative Century: From Reaction to Revolution by Gregory L. Schneider:
"One of the most unheralded parts of the Reagan years was the decision made in 1987 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), established by the New Deal in the 1930's, to abolish The Fairness Doctrine. The Supreme Court had ruled that the doctrine-which stipulated that broadcasters provide "equal time" during coverage of political events or discussion- was not law, but rather a regulation, freeing the FCC to get rid of it... With the equal time provision ended, talk radio helped catapult conservatives to the forefront of control of the nation's AM airwaves."
At that time in this country, there was general Conservative complaint about the state of society. One of their biggest complaints was that Liberals were bullying people into "Political Correctness." Nobody was allowed to speak their mind and it was impossible to thoroughly discuss and explore any issue because only half of the story could be told, they complained.
Rush Limbaugh was on the front line of that argument. His eventual rise in power and popularity has allowed him the freedom to say whatever he wants no matter how racist, intolerant, insensitive, sexist or just downright ignorant. His popularity and resultant power have given him the opportunity to spout the following gems over time:
"Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society."
"We're not sexists, we're chauvinists -- we're male chauvinist pigs, and we're happy to be because"We think that's what women want."
"Sorry to say this, I don't think he's [Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb] been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well."
"The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."
"They oughtta change Black History Month to Black Progress Month and start measuring it."
"Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."
And let's not forget the "Barack the Magic Negro" song he plays on his radio show.
As Rush Limbaugh ascended his throne as the voice of the conservative movement and his listenership increased, his followers delighted in their newly found freedom and proudly proclaimed themselves as "dittoheads," agreeing with everything he said not just regardless of the naked racism, homophobia, sexism, and intolerance being communicated, but because of it. Many uncivil tongues were freed to spout hate and intolerance, to whine and finger-point when things did not go their way, to paint themselves as victims and to vilify and attack anyone that disagreed.
While pretending to be a patriot, Limbaugh reveled in questioning the patriotism of soldiers who served their country (though he never did) and dared to come home and air their concerns about war. He childishly attempted to accuse actor Michael J. Fox of "shamelessly" faking symptoms of Parkinson's disease that were actually side effects of the medication that he was taking to combat the disease. Fox's crime? He disagreed with Limbaugh on a topic of which Limbaugh has neither knowledge nor experience-stem-cell research--and had the nerve to speak out in favor of it. In short, Limbaugh has gradually become the bully that he accused the "liberal elite" of being when he started out. And while doing so, he emboldened all of his dittohead followers to speak their minds without filter as well.
Now that there is no true leader in the Republican Party, some have pointed to Limbaugh as the titular head. Though he has officially rejected the title, he is nonetheless reveling in the power of the role. The recent proof of his role was a steady stream of politicians that rushed to apologize to him for saying anything with which he disagreed. The list includes Congressmen Todd Tiahrt and Phil Gingrey and even the figurehead of the Republican Party, Michael Steele.
This phenomenon became so ridiculous that Democrats created a website where you could create your own apology to Rush using a form letter: http://www.dccc.org/content/sorry">http://www.dccc.org/content/sorry<;/a>