Wednesday 17 February 2021

Rush to Judgment

When I was a kid, I was exposed to Rush Limbaugh in a filthy car and a desperately dirty apartment I tried to muck out more than once to save my father. 

I heard Limbaugh's hate-filled tirades demean women, celebrate the deaths of LGBTQ activists, and rile the anger and entitlement of heavily armed men. 

If you don't know what it's like to be trapped in that smoke-filled cesspool, wondering what's happening to someone you love, seeing them be radicalized long before that word had entered your vocabulary as a child, then sit down. 

I won't show Limbaugh compassion any more than you'd mourn the death of the dealer who got your loved one hooked on heroin. 

As a grown woman--one of Limbaugh's preferred demographics to target--I look around and find that the vast majority of my friends are not straight white Americans. My nearest and dearest are immigrants, international, first generation, melanated and queer, and they all have come under attack from Limbaugh and the rot he helped fester. 

If you're capable of compassion in the face of evil that targets people you love, good on you, I guess. But don't try to shame or silence people that are feeling relief in the face of the only victory we're going to get as far as this pernicious poison is concerned. 

We live in a society that refuses to hold men like Limbaugh, his buddy Trump, and all their ilk accountable. Refuses to reject them. Instead, these creeps are given medals and presidencies, pardons and praise. They breed Brock Turners, Dylan Roofs and Eliot Rodgers, who in turn are mollycoddled after massacres as the press works to illuminate their pain despite the bodies lying all around. 

This doesn't stop because we turn the other cheek; that may be a power move for men in a world that doesn't expect them to display self-control when faced with attacks, but it's the bullshit status quo for those of us that are already expected to be quiet and kind as we are curb-stomped into submission. 

Know justice, know peace. No unity without accountability. While I somehow still hope that true diversity reaching the highest and most powerful levels of our society will relieve this grim pressure to be pliant in the face of abuse, in the meantime we might have to simply exhale more fully in the absence of a monster.