Before I say anything too critical, let me start by saying that it appears Mr. Rush Limbaugh has lost some weight. I'm not going to try and figure out how he may have accomplished this, be it that he's back on drugs or that the new administration is causing random bouts of nausea, but whatever the reason... Good on ya for dropping some extra poundage!
I got to spend Friday afternoon at a BBQ with persons close to my family. They're good people, although the last couple of visits have been interesting, mostly due to the fact that for some reason, those who know I voted for Mr. Obama take great pleasure in telling others, and in typically conservative Utah circles, it's not viewed very favorably. To their credit, they still treat me with respect (generally), and I in turn try to keep my mouth shut when around them. It's not that I'm ashamed of my choice, but when people take politics as seriously as religion, arguing does no good for anyone.
That said however, some things were said that made me want to slam my head against a wall, and to prevent any cranial damage, I feel I need to let them out... And what better place than my semi-anonymous online forum!
First of all, let me state that there are conservative thinking individuals that do actually think for themselves, and there are those of the liberal persuasion that don't. I just happened to spend the afternoon amongst conservative leaning folks who don't think things through.
Perhaps the afternoon could be summed up by one of the final quotes of the day...
"I don't watch or listen to the news anymore... It makes me too depressed."
Now that's something I can agree with, and I almost stood up and gave the man a standing ovation. In fact I was turning to my wife to give her the thumbs up, when it was followed with this gem....
"All I need to know I learn from Rush, and sometimes Glenn Beck. But Rush seems to know what I'm thinking."
Does anyone have some sharp implements I can shove into my ears?
Here's my take on Rush, and you are welcome to disagree... Rush is an exceptionally wealthy man and he's a marketing genius. I however must take issue with his methods. Rush is a peddler of fear. Fear induces a state of panic within the mind of the listener. Fear shuts down logic. Fear produces a chemical reaction in the brain which is addictive. Thereby, Mr. Limbaugh has become a drug to his audience that replaces their logic and free thought, with his opinions. It's genius and the means by which most religions seem to flourish as well, but that doesn't make it right.
The reason Rush seems to know what people of thinking is that he is doing their thinking for them. He is in effect the Puppet Master and his loyal listeners are the puppets. Perhaps the most ironic part of the whole twisted relationship is that the "Free Thinking" followers refer to themselves as "Ditto Heads". Somehow they take pride in it, as though parroting someone elses political views is honorable.
The problem with men who operate like this is that by taking control of peoples minds, you take on the responsibility to watch what you say. The tragedy with Rush, Beck and likely other commentators from both sides of the political spectrum, is that they don't always mind what they say. Such is the case when Beck quipped that Obama was the anti-christ, and many of his followers took it as gospel - and these aren't white trash, gun toting trailer dwellers either... These are intelligent entrepreneurs, business directors and accountants.
To further make my point, please allow me to share some other gems from my afternoon...
"You can't say Michael Jackson was on drugs, because apparently that's racist."
Say What?!? You can't say he was on drugs because unless you're the medical examiner, it just shows you to be ignorant and assuming fool. Who the hell claimed it was racist?!? Oh and I may blog more on this later, since more needs to be said on the Michael Jackson thing. But the racist theme came up again later in the afternoon....
"I'm worried that these politician don't read the stuff they vote on, and you just know Obama is going to stick something in there that will allow him to be president until he dies."
I only wish I were making these up, or that the person was joking. I mean it would have been a lousy joke anyway, but still...
Seriously, how can the President insert something into a bill being debated in Congress or the Senate?
Wouldn't Fox News find out about this ahead of time and do a huge expose on it? I mean I watched (not by choice), an hour long segment on the President "Checking out a girls butt", which was kind of a leap anyway, since they had to do it in slow motion in order to make the glance long enough to be viable and you couldn't see where he was looking specifically anyway, but apparently these are the lengths you have to go to in order to discredit a man who thinks differently from you.
"You have to watch what you say now on the phone or on Facebook, because you never know who's listening with this new administration...."
I know, the warrantless wiretapping going on under Obama is seriously out of control. Oh - wait a second - warrantless wiretapping... Wasn't that the dude who got told by God to attack Iraq, and wasn't he your guy... I guess as long as he's being guided by God and he's not a Democrat that's OK though, right?!
Moving on, perhaps a couple of quotes on health-care...
"The new health-care plan will allow abortions on children up to the age of 2."
"The new health-care plan is designed to kill anyone over the age of 70."
First of all, as I've said before, these are real quotes, and the originators were dead serious! I found these particularly ironic, because back when I used to listen to Rush (Yes, as one of his "Ditto-Heads"). I remember him bitching about how the Democrats were accusing the Republicans of killing the elderly and the young... And being outraged by such baseless accusations. Perhaps Rush needs to add "Hypocrite" to the list of accolades he affords himself each hour.
Now in their defense, they did cite an example to back up their claims here...
A 103 year old woman who wanted a heart transplant and was denied by a doctor, and then another doctor allowed her to have it, and then she got to live till she was 104.
The thing is... Yes, I'm glad for that woman, but...
Let's say you have a 29 year old man (we can even make him Black or Hispanic, or even make him a woman for this example...). Prime of their life, and sole provider for their family. They're trying to pull themselves out of their rut, working hard, providing for those they have responsibility for. Seeking the American Dream as it were...
Unfortunately they're just barely eeking by right now, struggling to provide food and shelter to their kids, and medical insurance premiums in the $500+ a month range just aren't even close to being in the realm of possibility. Let's say this person collapses at work one day, rushed to the hospital and discovers they have heart problems and desperately need a heart transplant.
Let's say, for sake of argument, that the 103 year old woman has the same blood type, tissue matching and all of that as this young man/woman in the prime of his/her life.
As luck would have it, the hospital comes into possession of a matching heart - but only one. Who gets it?
Under the current system, 103 year old lady has a huge amount of wealth. 29 year old person has nothing of real value, so of course the 103 year old lady get's it, and gets to live another couple of years. 29 year old person dies.
Isn't capitalism wonderful?!?
Under the new system (And I could definitely stand to learn more about it...).
Both people have medical coverage. Doctors, hospital administrators, perhaps even a [gasp] government employee could weigh in on the discussion, and I would suspect the heart would go to the 29 year old. It's sad for the old lady, but it's the right decision. I mean we outlaw selling organs for money, but yet, isn't that what our medical system effectively does? Whoring itself to the highest bidder?
When I've done disaster response training in the past, I was taught about assessing situations where multiple victims are involved. In those situations, you want to focus attention on the person with the most responsibility, with the best chance of survival. They're tough decisions to make, but they need to be made, and it shouldn't be a case of "Show me the MONEY!!"
Interestingly enough, they also claimed that everyone has free health-care anyway, if you don't have insurance, just go to the emergency room, and you get free care. Clearly these people have never been to the emergency room... I took a kid in a while back after he played superman, and flew into the side of the coffee table. Somehow they fouled up the billing and I got charged twice. Within weeks I was getting collections calls and nasty mail about my unpaid bill (at least the unpaid part of the duplicate charge). It sooooo wasn't free!
Why do these people think the health-care reform is a bad idea? Especially when many of them would actually benefit from it?
Because it's going to cost Rush Limbaugh money. And what's bad for Rush is bad for his audience.
Now don't get me wrong here, there are both good and bad points to healthcare reform and the new plan in particular. But what is certain is that the current system doesn't work, and that people need to start understanding and thinking things through for themselves, and they really need to start voting for their interests and not Rush Limbaugh's interests.
The final thing that got me going - actually it got me going to leave the area and go play with the kids....
A discussion on President Obama, and that he's not even black. Their point of contention was that since his mother was white, he's only half black. They discussed whether they should call him a "Nig" or a "Ger". And then someone commented, that you couldn't say that, because
"But that would be considered racist."
[in a rather sarcastic tone, with eye rolling]
I'm sorry, but actually that is.
Let me elaborate...
Nigger: (vulgar, see usage notes) A dark-skinned person, especially a person of, or primarily of, Negro descent.
"Nigger" has taken on pejorative qualities, as it implies not only darkness of skin, but a general lack of intelligence and sophistication. At the time of the word's origin, various English-speaking North American settlers who set cultural standards considered black people fundamentally inferior and less civilized than white people. The term is generally considered offensive to black people, not only because it singles them out on the basis of their skin colour, but also because, due to its origin, it carries connotations of slavery, inferiority and oppression. (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nigger)
So yes, without a doubt, talking about the president as a Nig or a Ger is racist.
And lets examine the whole concept of is he black or not...
Having being raised in a time and place of extreme racism, I know a little about this, although I was fortunate that I was not black, purely because of the harsh treatment and unjust laws directed towards this group of people, whom I consider equals with myself.
I have in my possession a certificate from the South African government, classifying myself as a white person, and thereby subject to all benefits of such a classification.
Being black isn't about skin color really, it's about your ancestry. From what I understand, laws of racial assignment typically operate of a 1/16th rule - and the 1/16th is applied to the color being examined, whether for good or bad. In the case of Americans being considered black, or African American. If you have 1/16th black blood in you, or if one of your great, great grandparents was black, you are classified as black.
For the United States, that definition came about during the time of slavery, when if you were black (by definition), you were not necessarily a full citizen of the Union, and could thus be treated as property and bought and sold.
And while we're on this topic...
Glenn Beck dressing up his Obama bobble head in a turban could perhaps be considered funny, if you hadn't all thrown such a huge fit when Bush was compared to Hitler. Although when you look at credible evidence... Bush being similar to Hitler in ideology is far less of a reach than Obama being an Islamic extremist.
Anyway, I think I've rambled on long enough. Please feel free to refute any of my arguments, but please try and be civil about it!
Oh, and if you're the redneck, inbred member of the KKK, who after my last blog post on African Americans, completely missed my point, and left a comment about how uncivilized blacks are and how terrible america (yes, small a) would be if Obama won the election. Please go test the rope hanging from your tree prior to commenting. Might I suggest standing on a ladder, placing your neck in the noose, and doing a swan dive....