The most impressive element of the current World Cup competition from a humanistic standpoint is the fervent commitment to stamp out international racism.
The appeal is all the more dramatic and meaningful in this year's edition of the international football classic in that the host nation is South Africa, for all too many years the home of the racially oppressive system called apartheid.
Pictures of Nelson Mandela, the towering beacon of unity and fervent opponent of racism, are seen in evidence at the stadiums where the games are held throughout the nation.
Before the games begin player representatives of the competing national teams deliver statements condemning racism.
After that, in a show of unity, pictures are taken of both teams as the players that will shortly be locked in determined competition are shown posing together. The focus is on understanding and camaraderie as opposed to hate, bigotry and ignorance.
One morning last week after the final World Cup match of that day ended I turned on the radio. As I switched the dial I came to Rush Limbaugh and listened to him explain how Emma Lazarus' inspiring words were never meant to be a symbol for the nation.
The nation's heritage of immigrants coming to America to better themselves and the message contained in the words of Emma Lazarus preserved for the ages on Ellis Island not only are not that meaningful to Limbaugh, but were never meant to be accepted in any national context.
It was Big Brother liberalism once more rearing its ugly head that gave Emma Lazarus along with her words their permanence.
Later last week Limbaugh struck another of his consistently low notes by speculating on why Michelle Obama had not attended Senator Robert Byrd's funeral. He wondered aloud if the reason was that the nation's First Lady suspected that she had slave blood.
Limbaugh as a commercially successful demagogue learned early to decipher the composition of his potential audience and please it, building his numbers to truly alarming proportions.
As a deliverer of hate messages, Limbaugh learns what is popular. Immigrant bashing is a big ticket issue among the sickest elements of the political right, the staple of Limbaugh audiences.
Rush saw how solidly former Congressman Tom Tancredo scored at a Tea Party Convention delivering a fire breathing anti-immigrant speech. Even Sarah Palin found that it was a tough act to follow.
He also is well aware of what is happening in Arizona. The people in and out of Arizona who appreciate the new law regarding immigration will listen to Limbaugh if he is in synch with their beliefs.
The comment about Michelle Obama shores up the "hate the Obamas on all fronts base" while keeping the racial component ever present with his comment about possible "slave blood" in the First Lady's family history.
Limbaugh has achieved even greater power as a successful radio hate messenger than Father Charles Couglin, who took to the airways in the thirties to excoriate Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal according to Scott Horton.
Horton, an international lawyer and writer, did a piece for the March edition of Harper's where he compared Coughlin, the radio demagogue of the thirties, to Rush Limbaugh. He made a point deserving serious reflection that Limbaugh as well as Glenn Beck hold more power today than Coughlin did in the thirties because they hold power in the Republican Party.
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