Rush Limbaugh has been a household name for nearly three decades. Depending on which household you’re talking about, his name has evoked usually one of two emotions.
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III flew under the radar for the early parts of his career as a dj on various radio stations. When he started at WABC-AM in New York, his rise really accelerated. He came out with several books and hosted a tv show for a number of years.
Limbaugh is and has been a divisive character in American politics, a trait he has acknowledged numerous times. He’s been waving the republican flag while booing all of the “libtards” for generations. He is passionate. He works a lot. He has a wife. He is a person.
Social media is a place that shows the full spectrum of humanity and forgets others are part of it, too. Under the metaphorical cloak of anonymity, some people feel open to share unfiltered emotions and reactions the same way one might share after getting really, really drunk.
When Limbaugh announced this on his radio show on Feb. 3 he was diagnosed at two different medical centers with “aggressive lung cancer,” people immediately reacted on social media. Just as the utterings of drunkards, often these reactions make no sense at all. Often they are in unrighteous praise, and all too often they are filled with ignorant hate.
“Remember when Jeffery Epstein died, and nobody was sad? When bad things happen to bad people, while not a good thing, it definitely isn’t a bad thing. I agree that people should not be happy about this. But I won’t be losing any sleep,” said someone on Twitter in a thread about Limbaugh’s sickness. Link 1
Another person on Twitter said, “F- him.” Link 2
Every person has value and even if people have done bad things or good things, that does not make them bad or good people. Rush Limbaugh and Kobe Bryant are both people who have definitely done both good and bad things. Both are immensely famous. And for some reason, when both were on death’s doorstep, people decided to take sides on whether they deserve to be alive or not.
Only half of our country’s states have the death penalty, and less than half of our world’s countries have the death penalty. Meaning, no matter how bad you are proven in the court of law to be, most people agree that killing someone, or someone dying doesn’t help our society.
The second word in the term ‘social media’ seems to take the backseat to the word social. I say this because when Kobe Bryant died we saw the same types of emotional reactions, on twitter and such, both praising him as a national treasure and celebrating his death.
I’m here to argue that it should be unacceptable in social circles as well.
Firstly, the way to a better world is not through ultimate judgement before or after death. It is through communication and understanding. Humanity does not benefit from the loss of human life. It sounds like common sense, but many people make the debate more complicated than it needs to be. People can explain and justify things in extremely convincing and complex ways.
I find the best arguments are short ones.
It is imperative that every member of our species understands this, because there is a fine line between deciding life would be better off without someone and pulling the trigger oneself. Murder and genocide.
This is not to say no one can bring up any bad thing someone has done after they die or when they announce a sickness. People do good things and they do bad things and then they die. We all have that in common. What is important to me is that we have a whole and accurate representation of the truth.
When some people are posting things like, “How can anyone criticize and wish any harm on Rush?!? He’s a Patriot & Hero in every sense of the word. He’s always been the man who goes the extra mile no matter who you are, the most selfless man I’ve known in American politics!!,” I can see why some people feel it necessary to “balance the scales” so to speak. Link 3
However, the internet already has all this information. There is little help in repeating People know about Kobe’s scandal, people know Limbaugh is sometimes scandalous and always loud. Judging people for these mistakes is better left to the professionals. Whether you see the professionals as a criminal judge, here on earth, or some figure like God, your judgement is going to hurt more than it’ll help, especially when someone is dead or facing death. That is not the time to form an angry mob. C’mon.
In the words of a great pillar of morality, the late Mr. Rogers said, “As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has- or ever will have- something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”