well, Mr. Limbaugh
By Mike McArdle
Dear Rush Limbaugh,
As a liberal who occasionally listens to your radio program
I'm writing to offer my sympathy and support in your current
battle with addiction to painkillers.
It's certainly tempting, especially for liberals like me,
to treat your problem with the same callous disregard that
you've made so much money displaying on your radio program.
I know that some people will take pleasure in your current
problems just like they did a couple of weeks ago when you
got fired from ESPN for making that inane statement about
Yes, there are some who will think that seeing your current
problems is as much fun as watching Bill Bennett grovel for
his last earthly five dollars so he could throw it into a
slot machine and then watch a row of lemons come up. In other
words some will think that this is more fun than a human being
should be allowed to have. But I'm not going to be that way.
I'm a liberal, a sensitive understanding person, and right
now you certainly need understanding.
It's possible that you might have sought treatment at this
time even if the Florida drug agents weren't gathering on
your doorstep and your former housekeepers accusations weren't
blaring forth from every supermarket counter across the fruited
plain. But a trip to rehab can never hurt at a time like this.
Just ask Darryl Strawberry or Robert Downey Jr.
So I hope that your treatment is successful and I also hope
that maybe you're starting to realize that the world isn't
quite the simplistic, black and white place that you've made
such a good living telling your audience it is.
For example, given your financial resources I'm sure your
insurance plan covers a month-long dryout at a prestigious
drug rehabilitation center. Fortunately for you you're not
one of those hard-working average Americans whose company
just moved offshore to avoid paying taxes, taking your job
and your medical insurance with it. You'd be in quite a pickle
if that were the case wouldn't you ? I mean the poor guy who
lost his job might even be one of your listeners. Wouldn't
it be a good thing if that fan of yours had some kind of guaranteed
national health care he could rely on if he found himself
in a situation like yours.
And I hope now that you realize that's it's not as simple
you might have thought it was in 1995 when you said the following:
"And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs,
using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because
we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods
which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating
the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they
ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."
By that standard you'd be moving the Attila the Hun chair
to a rather uncozy cell for quite some time.
You said you started abusing drugs because you were in pain.
Herniated discs can cause enormous pain and although the insensitive
might say that if you weren't lugging around a couple hundred
extra pounds at the time your discs wouldn't have hurt so
much the more compassionate people will understand. And the
doctors couldn't help and you had to find a way to deal with
the constant pain. You knew, I'm sure, that drugs, even prescription
drugs can be quite dangerous. Hell, they can tie half your
brain behind your back. But your pain had to go away. Just
saying no wasn't really an option, was it? Of course not.
So maybe now you'll make the connection and see that the
people who are saying yes in America are quite often the ones
who have the worst and most hopeless lives. Maybe you'll realize
that a kid born into an inner city family whose father is
a trash man and whose mother cleans offices when she can find
work really doesn't have the same chance to succeed in America
as a child born to professional parents in the suburbs. And
the drug use and crime that so frequently befall children
born into poverty are often a consequence of circumstances
they had no control over. If it can happen to someone with
your prominence and financial resources how much easier is
it for it to happen to someone who lives in a ghetto. There
are other types of pain than the kind you feel in your back.
So get well, Mr. Limbaugh. I hope that you recover from
your addiction and manage to put a rather sticky legal situation
behind you. And I hope that maybe, while you're holed up in
the rehab and your attorneys are searching for the most -
ahem - liberal judge they can find you'll take another look
at the twisted philosophy you're addicted to.