It's been quite a few years since I regularly listened to Rush Limbaugh. With the recent outburst by Limbaugh and other talk radio personalities regarding Sandra Fluke, I find myself once again listening to the defacto leader of the Republican Party and the self-appointed leader of the "new conservative movement". Why am I listening? As a reformed and rehabilitated "dittohead", I hope to cut through the smokescreens and reveal the true "message" that Rush Limbaugh is delivering. I will continue live-tweeting the Limbaugh "show" at every opportunity to give the suffering dittoheads, the vulnerable and the insecure, some hope that they can regain control of their thoughts and their self-determination. In this "Part I", I offer a brief history of my journey into the abyss of "Limbaugh Land".
When George W. Bush was "ruled" the President in 1999, I actually wasn't that concerned. After the Bill Clinton era, I had fallen into the trap that America was basically on auto-pilot. My investments and retirement were solid. The National Debt? Heck, it was just a matter of "when" we would pay it down, not an "if". The new concept of "war" involved a no-fly zone and maybe a brief campaign of bombing, but not an "invasion" or "occupation", are you kidding? After Vietnam? Heck, I was certain that the job of President had somehow gotten so easy, even the son of a former President with rocks for brains couldn't screw THIS Great Nation up. Besides, I was busy. I mean BUSY!
Mandi and I were brand new parents with a brand new son. I was driving 100-200 miles per day as I checked on repossessed manufactured homes for vandalism and maintained compliance with appearance regulations. Little did I know this lucrative opportunity was created by the same conditions that would eventually bring the entire economy to it's knees. The "sub-prime mortgage crisis" was already under way, but no one noticed because the "homes" were in "parks". Repossessions were exploding and Conseco Finance was going bankrupt, but you'd never had guessed it in 2000. And just as the repos started really exploding, two airliners exploded as they crashed into the Twin Towers. Like any good American, I put the American flag on my antenna and turned the radio dial to Rush Limbaugh. Actually, it would be more accurate to say "Talk radio", but whatever Rush was talking about was repeated over and over with a different voice as I drove hundreds of miles per day.
Looking back, it's fairly obvious that the repetition is by design. At first, I was a bit put off by it and couldn't help but think these guys were sort of boring. But with the occasional caller and the breaks for local news reports, within a week I was over the feeling of boredom and something strange happened. I started "anticipating" the commentary. Repetition is a tool that Teachers employ to help students "learn", after all. The basic messages were simple, but in retrospect quite troubling. All Muslims are evil because they're religion is based on evil and Muslims live in Iraq. All of the oil we love so dearly is in the Middle East and that's why we must control Iraq. And when I wasn't "learning" about Iraq and oil? The message was that Gays are somehow to blame and if we let them marry, America will collapse. Over the course of a full year, I became so indoctrinated I actually started debating AGAINST the right of same-sex couples to marry. I honestly can't recall the details of my position, other than something about "there are no special rights to being married" and "marriage is already defined". Did I really "believe" what I was programmed to "believe"? No. In fact there isn't much in detail that I can remember about this strange period in my otherwise moderate and liberal life. Looking back, I was definitely at a vulnerable point in my life. New son, new enterprise, new recession (that was paying me big bucks), new attack on American soil, new President, a new country on the map I'd never paid any attention to...it was a lot of new. Which also meant a lot of unknown and a lot of fear. And I wanted answers. Listening to Limbaugh gave me some comfort because I knew there were a lot of Americans nodding their heads right along with me when Rush would say that Muslims hate us for our "freedom". And then one day I was driving later than usual and I heard Michael Savage. He said a lot of the same things as Rush, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly and I was nodding along like a good little dittohead when he blurted out something regarding Abu Ghraib that woke me up from my stupor. I'm pretty sure this was around the time Rush had said the treatment of prisoners was like a "fraternity prank". Savage said the Muslims should have explosives shoved up their "backsides".
To be continued...