Rush Limbaugh died last week. In a way.
The Rush I knew?my principled companion for three hours a day?is in some very serious legal trouble, under investigation for illegally purchasing painkillers.
I never expected perfection from Rush? but I did expect more of him. As I do the President, I hold Rush to a higher ethical standard than I do, say, Kid Rock .
My roots with Rush
I do not, as much of the media assumes of “dittoheads ,” stand by my radio eagerly awaiting the start of his show so that I may base my political direction upon his say-so. He often says what I think, better than I could ever attempt to.
I’m not the only one who can tell that story: Limbaugh’s voice is one of the most listened-to on the planet.
Painkilling and lawbreaking
I am not angry with Rush for becoming addicted to painkillers. These things happen, to people far better than I am and far better than he is. Addiction in and of itself is not a moral failing, much as alcoholism is not.
What pains my heart are allegations that Rush illegally fed his addiction? and, worse, bullied his housekeeper into breaking the law along with him. She could have said no, I suppose, but the thought of Rush?who is, by all accounts, polite and gentle to those around him?threatening anyone is shocking. And very, very disappointing.
The golden microphone
Hollywood folk and rock stars pass through this fire on a regular basis, then exit rehab to standing ovations. Rush won’t get one. Rush doesn’t deserve one, because unlike Matthew Perry and Darryl Strawberry, for three hours a day he sits before a microphone commenting on moral issues.
Is Rush a hypocrite? I think so. Ought we listen to him again? I don’t know.
What the man didn’t say
Some of us, dear Rush, would like an apology. We want an apology for not standing up the instant these allegations appeared and saying, “I am addicted to painkillers. I bought them on the black market and I am so sorry that I’ve let you down in this respect. I will do my best to make it up to you, my friends, and restore the bond of trust between us.”
He has, true to form, refused to portray himself as a victim. I expect that he will bear the consequences of his actions. But in the meantime, there is a hole between noon and three in my weekdays? and, now, a hole in the standards he built for himself.
If Limbaugh is going to take people to task for breaking the law, I deserve to know that he has done so as well. And I deserve a better role model than he has been, because, although he denied being one last week, he is a hero to many people whether he likes it or not. Issuing such documents as The 35 Undeniable Truths of Life and then telling people not to regard you as a moral authority is, to say the least, disingenuous.
Rush Limbaugh probably isn’t feeling tremendously well right now. He is in a dark place, a place far from the euphoria he likely felt under the influence of the painkillers. A dead place.
But after death comes new life. A life, one hopes, that is better, stronger, cleaner?and more consistent with what God wants for us.