I don’t have time to write this post and yet here I am. The brouhaha over the issue of allowing women to circumvent their employers and get insurance for prescription birth control has captured my attention and while others have been blogging and debating and talking about the issue for weeks now I had decided not to join the fray, that is until Rush Limbaugh’s commentary came to my attention.
Personally I don’t listen to Limbaugh. I wish I could say I never have but sadly that would be a lie. I do know I never will again unless, like his most recent comments, someone asks me to weigh-in. I realize I am even late to the Limbaugh conversation but frankly, I needed this much time just to temper my anger. The advertiser who have pulled their support of his program are wise to do so. The producers who continue to allow him to have a voice on the public airways are not. His apology was just another slap in the face of those he offended and honestly that should include all women and every man who is not Limbaugh. I am appalled that anyone tries to defend him especially those who say they care about family values. The man’s mic should be silenced!
As a fifty-something woman who spent most of her life in a politically conservative and fundamentally Christian environment I was left speechless by Limbaugh’s rant against Sandra Fluke. And, I am shock that any pastor, politician, or thinking person has allowed his comments to pass without condemning Limbaugh’s behavior. The fact that these rants were allowed to air for three days before Limbaugh was forced to apologize is equally outrageous. Do we even realize what it is that Limbaugh said? Yes everyone is up in arms because he called Fluke a slut. And Rachel Maddow seems to think not understanding the way the pill works is a problem. But that is hardly the worst of it. In his rant on day two, Limbaugh suggested that if insurance companies are forced to pay for her birth control he should be allowed to treat Fluke like a porn actress and watch her have sex, that somehow she owes something to him, that he has a right to dehumanize and objectify her.
Forget that Limbaugh doesn’t pay for Fluke’s birth control any more that she pays for his pain medications. Forget that you don’t take a pill every time you want to have sex but don’t want to risk pregnancy, the way you do when using a condom. Forget that the pill is prescribed for a variety of health issues even though the main reason is to prevent pregnancy. Limbaugh equated women who use birth control–married or not–with sluts and if they want insurance to pay for it–porn actors.
People like Rush Limbaugh and the those who allow him to keep his job make it harder for me to trust men. They make it harder for me to believe the society in which I live will ever see women as more than objects and orgasms. They make it harder for me to respect the men I know, even the ones I love deeply. They make it harder for me to want to talk to men, work with men, consider the opinions of men. I don’t like feeling helpless and hopeless. I don’t like thinking women struggle to step forward only to be horse kick by someone like Limbaugh. I don’t like becoming more cynical as a means of self protection, as a way to keep pushing forward.
I hope Limbaugh loses his job. And while I’ve grown up hearing the forgiveness rhetoric all my life I disagree with Bill Meyer and all the others who says “He apologized. you need to let it go.” When something is wrong we need more than to simply let it go. We need to change it. We need to NOT take it any more.
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If you’re interested in another POV focused especially on the evangelical response to the Limbaugh rant check out Rachel Held Evans’ post.