Limbaugh is Shameless

Just earlier this morning, before hearing this Limbaugh piece, I left the following in the ACORN thread: "The GOP just chose to make a federal case out of it now because: A) they need a reason to explain why they lost; B) exposing Obama's association with ACORN fits into their narrative that he's a radical black (see the stories in recent days about his support for school programming that included African-American sections), since ACORN is mostly associated with minority voters; and C) ACORN primarily helps minorities get housing, which fits into the GOP's narrative about who caused the sub-prime mortgage collapse."

Now listen to Limbaugh (via C&L; full transcript here) as he feeds precisely those talking points to his conservative listeners, which is as inaccurate on the facts as it is racist and sexist:

Isn't is just adorable how he casually dismisses institutional racism, even as he engages in it? It's like a magic trick! What a charming little shell game he plays as he talks about how Obama's mentors are the sorts of people are keeping blacks back, it's black leaders and black ministers and radicals and progressives and Democrats who don't want or allow black Americans to succeed, keeping his listeners focused firmly on that shell, while hiding the one that begets the question: "If those mentors are so bad for black people, why is Obama thisclose to becoming our next president?"

Equally precious is his faux-wonderment that "people not even born here can come here and in a few short years begin prospering in school, their own business or what have you, yet people who are born in this country somehow have [not]." Let us surmise, just for a moment, that Limbaugh doesn't know the answer to his own question starts at the mendacious and unqualified brag so popular among the conservative set that "America is the greatest country in the history of the world." Let us thus pretend, so I can speak for a moment as the partner of an American immigrant to address his perplexity, as counterfeit as his pretense that he gives a shit about anyone but himself, because there are people who wonder the same without guile.

Now, I'm quite certain it's true for the most straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied males who had access to even halfway decent public school education and healthcare as a kid that "America is the greatest country in the history of the world." But it's not true for all Americans. And the poorer you are, and the darker your skin, and the Xier your chromosomes, just for a start, the less true it's likely to be for you.

Even though a straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied, working class male American kid might have gotten a better education and had more opportunity than my straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied, working class male Scottish husband when he was a kid, he most certainly got a better education than a lot of American kids (and always had access to healthcare, thanks to his government's view that healthcare is a right).

So when he immigrated to America, he was already doing better than a lot of his new peers—and, to boot, his funny accent probably worked as much in his favor in some situations as it worked against him in others; what discrimination he did face was negligible. How many "left behind" Americans can say that?

The truth is that my immigrant partner wasn't failed by his country of birth the way a lot of Americans are. The truth is that he isn't failed by America the way a lot of Americans are.

And the truth is that he's lived here less than a decade and understands that better than Rush Limbaugh, Born and Bred American, does.

Or, perhaps more accurately, cares about that ghastly inequity more than Limbaugh ever will.

Limbaugh claims, loudly and often, to be concerned about all Americans, but he flatly refuses, as is so evident here, to do the fundamental thing that's required for progress—be progressive. As I've said before, progress necessarily precludes the mockery, belittlement, and/or exclusion of historically marginalized groups—and that goes double for scapegoating them, which is Limbaugh's stock in trade. Beyond that, he views social change like he views economics: Make everything as splendid as possible for those at the top and the benefits will "trickle down" to everyone below.

Well, that's bullshit when we're talking about the economy, and it's bullshit when we're talking about justice and equality. The evident reality is that people at the top of the heap, having "got theirs," start to view the conference of rights as a zero-sum game, because they confuse rights with privilege, and fight to protect their privilege at the expense of everyone else. The evident reality is that there is little incentive for most people to yield what is necessary for real equality and lift up the rest of the boats, despite years of promises to the contrary.

People like Barack Obama and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and Jeremiah Wright and ACORN and all the other Lefty demons in Limbaugh's world understand that, to one degree or another, and are trying to do something about it—which is what really separates them from Limbaugh. It's not that he doesn't know.

We all know that equality is a gift rarely granted by people who benefit from its absence.

He just doesn't want anyone to do anything about it.

After all, he profits quite handsomely from the frustration and fury which systemic inequality breeds in those who will never be on the top of the heap and are perilously close to its bottom. Every inch closer to equality we move, the harder it gets for Limbaugh to convince his listener that it's someone else's boot on the back of his neck, that it isn't greedy patriarchs like him who cause their suffering, but those who want to take the little bit of privilege they've got, the little bit of privilege he's convinced them will cushion them when they fall better than a social safety net ever would.

Limbaugh knows damn well the answers to his own questions. He knows damn well he's talking absolutely rubbish. He just hopes his listeners don't, so he can keep reaping the rewards to which they'll never be privy.

Not if he can help it.

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