Moderates and Liberals Need to Listen to Rush Limbaugh

Every American who considers themselves a moderate or liberal should listen to Rush Limbaugh, preferable often.
For the record, I fall into that category.

I am also by education and profession, a member of what Limbaugh deems “the drive by media.” I took a brief respite and worked for a doctor’s office, but my love is always going to be reporting.

I have very liberal social views. I prefer adoption to abortion, but believe only the two people involved in the pregnancy have a right to choose the proper option. The courts and the politicians need to stay out of those highly personal decisions. Notice I said the two people. If the father chooses to be involved, I believe the mother has a moral responsibility to discuss the options with him.

I believe in social responsibility and in my mind, sometimes, that includes the responsibility of the masses, i.e. the government, to provide temporarily for the needs of the less fortunate. The key being temporarily.

I believe that when business goes astray there is a responsibility of the masses, usually in the form of government regulations to fix it. For example, when businesses put profit above worker safety, then the government should step in.
When some portion of our country goes terribly awry, I believe in the mandate of the people to step up and fix it. In the near future, I see this happening with health care as that system is so out of whack.

I believe we have a responsibility to future generations to clean up the mess we have made of our environment, but I also believe that this planet is a human habitat and our survival is more important than any other being on the planet. So, I’m a species-ist. Get over it.

I think that environmental scientists have become so wrapped up in proving what they know that they can’t admit what they don’t. And, God forbid something contradict their scientific findings. I believe drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge is potentially dangerous, but so is waking up each morning. And, drilling in ANWAR is much less dangerous than relying on foreign oil sources.

On the more right-wing side, I believe we need to stop illegal immigration. I believe American English must be the national language and the language in which we do business. I believe that people who break the law to come here should not be granted the rights and privileges of citizenship.

I also believe we belong in Iraq. We should not leave until the war is won, not half-assed. I may be one of the few moderates out here who think this way, but personally, I’m a bit disappointed that it took the terrorist attacks to get us in there. Why weren’t we doing something when Saddam Hussein felt justified in killing hundreds of thousands of people based on their race (Kurds)?

I know, Mr. Limbaugh, you would argue that we didn’t have the proper leadership. Sometimes, I agree.

I disagree with the United Nations plan for world appeasement. Apparently, these people have never read a history book or attribute Pearl Harbor as the reason for World War II. I encourage any of them to talk to the Pols who were alive when Hitler was given Poland and ask them how appeasement works. Ask anyone who’s actually read and understands a history text.
Like many Americans, I think allowing the French to lead any international force should be preceeded by a surrender, since we all know that’s what’s coming anyway. And, I agree with Mr. Limbaugh that we as a country have become such pansies that we can’t stomach the idea that death is a necessary part of war.

I believe that we must support Israel in their efforts to defend their country. Don’t give me that bull about it being artificially drawn borders that resulted from some UN resolution almost sixty years ago. So what! Nearly every nation on the planet has artificial borders than were drawn at some point. Since Australia takes up its entire continent, I’ll acknowledge it as an exception, but there are few others.

To be perfectly honest, I believe I speak for a silent majority in the heartland of America. And, so, it seems does Rush Limbaugh.

I began listening to Rush about 3 years ago, on my lunch hour, when I worked for an office full of physicians. It began as sort of a fluke. I’m a news junkie and the only news I could get during my lunch hour, other than three minute updates on the half hour was Rush’s program.

When I started listening, his program left me sputtering. I was so angry not to be able to take the time to call him back and argue his points. But the thought of spending hours on hold, especially when I had to get back to work, left me cold.
I particularly took offense at his assertion that he had rarely, if ever, heard a liberal speak clearly on their views and defend them. I so wanted to be the one to argue the point with him.

Then, I listened a little more. And, I came to see why Rush has such a low opinion of liberals and moderates. He accused moderates of not being willing to take a stand, being wishy-washy. Obviously, Rush is a professional and knows his audience so his call screeners are going to give preference to people who will help the show’s ratings. But I can’t count the number of times someone lied to the call screener to then attempt to pick a fight.

I can’t count the number of times I held my head and groaned when a caller made basic logic flaws in their arguments, or simply did not have all the facts. And, I can’t count the number of times that I wanted to scream at the caller, explaining that name-calling and finger pointing is not a good argument technique.

I wish, just once, a caller had the guts to say that they simply disagreed. To point out the assumptions on which Rush’s arguments are based and to respectfully call him out on those issues. I have yet to hear it happen. But I keep listening, usually just an hour a day, to see if it will happen.

Please understand I do not always disagree with Rush, but I disagree more than I agree. I think his arguments are well-thought out and well-researched. He takes the time to know what he is talking about. That doesn’t mean I agree with the conclusions he reaches. I also find that like many people he tends to use individual cases to prove a larger point and sometimes, I think the case studies may be the exception to the rule, not the way things happened in the majority.

For example, it was widely reported that some victims of Hurricane Katrina used their relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to buy items the reporting parties considered fraudulent. Someone bought a “Girls Gone Wild” video and someone else bought a very expensive bottle of champaign.

Rush used these examples to point to the rampant fraud and abuse of the welfare system. I disagree. Though these items may have been extravagant, I think that sometimes, especially after a tragedy, people need creature comforts. If the wrath of nature and a poor choice of living arrangements caused someone to lose everything except the clothes on their back, I am not going to begrudge them a $20 dvd. I think the broader issue would have been a more comprehensive look at that person’s purchases. If this was evidence of a pattern and not a splurge, then it’s a problem.

Same thing with the champign. Did anyone ever ask what they were celebrating? After the pain and devastation of the hurricane, I can begrudge someone a wedding or anniversary celebration or maybe even a “we-get-to-go-home-again celebration.” Did they know the risks, living in a flood-prone, hurricane zone? Yes, they did. Do I know the risks of living in the tornado-prone Midwest? Yes, I do. And I have insurance in case the worst thing happens, but not all my friends do, especially those right out of college. To be honest, I’ve only had my insurance for personal belongings and household goods for about a year.

Listening to Rush’s program makes me think about these things and that, I think, even more than conservative indoctrination, is Rush’s goal. Now, it may be because he believes all thinking, logical people will become conservatives, but that isn’t the point. The point is he challenges people to think in a society that is becoming too willing to elt soemone else think for them.
I find, as a moderate listening to his program, I am challenged to learn more about my world and my beliefs about it. If anything, after listening for three years, I am more comfortable describing myself as a moderate than ever before. But I am beginning to think the more appropriate label might be pragmatist. I would prefer to collect the facts and make an informed decision about issues rather than have some knee-jerk reaction.

I still don’t see any reason for the average citizen to own an automatic weapon. Hollow points are right out too. (Sorry, doc. You know who you are.)

But I completely understand the right of citizens to own weapons. I think arguing that an assault weapons ban will lead to a hunting rifle ban is the kind of slippery slope argument caused by knee-jerk reactions instead of thinking people, but after watching American politics in the last few years, I can see where the fear comes from.

I believe in providing temporary welfare assistance to any citizen who needs it, but I believe there must be limits. I believe social security should be a last resort for the aged (sorry, Grandma) and that people need to take personal responsibility for their futures.

I believe in freedom of choice, stem cell research and the right to die. I also believe in capitalism and patriotism and a free market economy. I believe without a doubt that I can articulate these beliefs more clearly and with more solid footing now because I have listened to Rush and he has made me think.

I tell a very conservative friend on a regular basis that I listen because I believe it is important to know how the enemy thinks. And, I do. But the statement is actually a little harsh because I do not see conservatives as my enemy. I think the real enemy is ignorance. Rush fights ignorance.

Maybe it’s the fact that Rush has been doing this for 18 years. Maybe it’s values instilled by his family. Whatever the reason, Rush is worth listening to, no matter your political bent. I know I’ve learned from him. Chances are, you will too.

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