Archive for the ‘Rush Limbaugh’ Category

I spent much of the week following the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial and the not guilty verdict online trying to reason with Zimmerman supporters.

Now, being a trained journalist and a fairly astute judge of people, particularly based on what I have seen and heard following the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black youth by an armed, shall we say, non-Black adult, many Zimmerman supporters will already take umbrage with what little I have written above. But I tend to choose (at least most of) my words carefully and I chose the words “reason with” on purpose, knowing that they might offend some.

I do not use this terminology to impart some sense of superiority or to be purposely divisive but to point out that if you say something as (what I think is) innocuous as “Trayvon Martin was just a kid walking home minding his own business” before he was killed, you unleash a stream of passion that no amount of argument seems able to penetrate.

Another way of saying this is, although I expressed no opinion one way or another as to the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman, people made assumptions about my opinions  as to the outcome of the trial based on that one statement and my race, which, I might point out, was apparent in my postings. One thing is clear in the online “conversations”; if race was not a part of the trial, it is the driving force behind all of the discussions about Trayvon Martin’s death and George Zimmerman’s resultant trial.

What many — not all —White people can’t understand or admit is that it is not just Black people who see all of this as a race issue. They do too. Not only do Black people see this case as having social ramifications beyond one case. White people do too. They are just loath to admit it honestly and openly. They couch their race discussions as presentations of “facts” while accusing Black people of being overcome by “passion”, racial paranoia or worse.

Let me be clear. When I say, “if race was not a part of the trial” I am not saying race did not enter that courtroom or that race did not color that encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin on that February evening in 2012 when Zimmerman followed and ultimately killed the 17-year-old. I am not saying that race did not enter the jury room as deliberations unfolded. I am saying that just because you don’t speak the word doesn’t

Al Sharpton lynching

This Investor’s Business Daily cartoon by Michael Ramirez, leveled at the Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and MSNBC host, after the Zimmerman trial verdict, uses racially charged imagery to make its point. Lynchings were used well into the 1900s to oppress African Americans, a fact that remains close to the consciousness of many Black people.

mean it isn’t there. I am merely acknowledging those who state that race played no part in this case. I hear you, but you’re wrong.

So, on the one hand you have people — White and Black — saying this trial outcome offers an opportunity for an honest conversation about race and on the other hand you have White people saying “What are you talking about? This case wasn’t about race, why should we talk about race?”

This is how you know this case and its aftermath was and is about race for the White people who say it is not about race or those who have charged Black people with making a racial issue where none existed. They dredge up every racial grievance against Black people they can think of even though those grievances have absolutely nothing to do with Trayvon Martin, the Zimmerman case or themselves! They rant about O.J. Simpson, President Obama (he’s not only racially divisive, he’s a socialist), the Duke lacrosse team, Tawana Bradley, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rodney King  and any other story they have ever heard or read that even remotely involves a Black person in a negative light. They cite “facts” promulgated from every White nationalist blog on the Internet by rote as proof that Blacks as a whole are bad people and just don’t want to admit it.

Interestingly, those posting these “facts” about African-Americans are either unaware or uncaring that what they are writing (or in the case of television or radio saying) might be perceived by African Americans as insulting, hurtful or untrue. There seems little recognition that Black people are people. That we are, well, humans, just like White people. We have some unique challenges, yes, but we breathe air, we eat food, we bleed red blood and we have thoughts, feelings and problems just as they do. There seems to be an overwhelming attitude that Black people are not entitled to any kind of feelings — whether it is fear of being stopped by police or of being followed by strangers or of being insulted by those emboldened by the anonymity of the Internet or by those earning the millions of dollars they earn from the racist idiocy they spew about us in print and on the airways.

Trayvon Martin

This photo of 33-year-old Jayceon Terrell Taylor aka rapper, “The Game”, is being circulated as a recent photo of Trayvon Martin, the photo the mainstream media won’t show you. Zimmerman supporters are using the photo to support their argument that Martin was actually 6’2″ and 175 pounds and could easily have crushed George Zimmerman in a fight.

So many White people have taken this tragedy to chastise the President as being racially divisive just for saying “if I had a son he would look like Trayvon” when if we truly lived in the post-racial, color blind society they claim we live in they could envision their own son standing in Trayvon’s shoes. Can you ask yourself, what is it that makes you unable to accept that Trayvon Martin was a child, a human being, who could have been your child, your brother, your nephew, who was confronted by a full-grown adult? In a situation involving a child, a teenager, a young adult, who has the ultimate responsibility to act in an adult manner? Those of you who want to proclaim that the President is not Black because his mother is White, pretend he was speaking of his “White half.” Could you then find some empathy toward a family that has been nothing but classy through this whole ordeal?

White people seem extremely comfortable telling African Americans how we should think, feel and act when they would never accept the same from us. Many of them have taken this as an opportunity to do so. Can you imagine the backlash were Black commentators to fill the airwaves every night lamenting the 38.8 % of White people on welfare as obviously only wanting to suck on the government teat rather than work or if they lamented the disintegration of the White family because of those 9.5 million White kids living in single-parent households, and that all of those children (under age 18 who live with their own single parent either in a family or subfamily) were certain to grow up to be thugs? And what about that staggering 84 percent White on White murder rate? Pretty horrifying. Why aren’t White people doing something about that?

To be sure, many White people are aware of their Whiteness and the privilege that attaches to it. Unfortunately these people are often dismissed by other White people as victims of “political correctness” gone amok, as blinded by White guilt or attacked as what used to be called “race traitors”. People like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and many of their viewers and listeners would do well to listen and learn from them. Here’s a newsflash: not all of those who see a problem are President Obama supporters or left-wing radicals. Even if they were, that would not disqualify them from understanding what it means to be a White person in America today or from exhibiting compassion or empathy toward people who do not look like them (as far as color goes), traits the exhibition of which have been severely lacking in the aftermath of the death of Trayvon Martin and the trial of George Zimmerman.

Those who are seeking a conversation about race are not trying to take your Whiteness away from you. You are welcome to keep it. You are welcome to talk about it with us. That is not a bad thing to do. We are not willing to accept it as a badge of superiority where you get to use it as your birthright to tell us how we should feel or live. The last thing we need is White people lecturing to us about race and racial issues when they themselves have not come to grips with them. African Americans are forced to live with the consequences every day.

So, my White sisters and brothers, if you’re still not convinced, let me try one more line of argument to try to persuade you that we should talk about race. We should have this talk because you are angry, you’re hurting and you’re afraid. We should talk about it because you have some legitimate grievances but you’re taking out your hurt, anger, fear and grievances on the wrong people. Despite the fact a lot of people are trying to convince you otherwise, Black people are not your enemies. We should talk about race because there are some very important people who don’t want us to talk because they are afraid that if we do we might discover that we like each other and then we will focus our anger in the right places. We should talk about race because we have more in common than you might recognize because we don’t talk. We should talk about race because you don’t seem to know that it is okay to notice or even talk about your own or another person’s race. To notice that a Black person is Black is not in and of itself racist. It is what one does with this knowledge that determines whether one is “racist,” a term which is really of limited value in a conversation about race.

This case could provide an opportunity, but it won’t unless something drastic happens — and it hasn’t yet. At least it hasn’t for a lot of White people. You can’t have a telephone conversation if the person on the other end won’t pick up the phone. And too many White people aren’t ready to accept the call for an honest racial conversation. They believe the call for such a conversation all by itself is racially divisive. They fear that to accept the call is to accept the label “racist.” Once again, they would be wrong and that is precisely why we need to talk.

So as I see it, we are at a crossroads, one of many we will approach. White people can stick their fingers in their ears and say, “Lalalalalala, I can’t hear you,” or you can be willing to listen before you talk, and learn.

Please read “A Race is a Nice Thing to Have: A Guide to Being A White Person or Understanding the White Persons In Your Life” by Janet E. Helms, Phd

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Actor Robert DeNiro comes along and makes a stupid joke about the Republican Presidential candidates’ wives and Newt Gingrich wants the President to personally apologize.

With all due respects to the Hatfields and the McCoys, the hillbilly families who carried on a famous 30-year long feud, this fight between progressives and conservatives about which side is the more misogynistic is a bit like who stole whose pig first.

I spent hours on the Internet researching Bill Maher trying to determine whether he was a bigger misogynist than Rush Limbaugh is because that’s how I am. I like to be fair and I don’t accept anyone else’s word on anything.

So when Sarah Palin goes on and on about how progressives didn’t say anything when Bill Maher attacked her and how President Obama ought to give Maher’s campaign contribution back because of it I decided I needed to check it out for myself.

Then I realized something. I don’t care.

Yes, Bill Maher is a misogynist. I know that. He knows that. Everyone knows that. I also know he’s not really a liberal.

That’s not the point.

We can argue from here to eternity about comparisons between the two but the fact of the matter is that conservative women, and I’m addressing women on purpose, are never going to accept any argument that says there is no comparison. I’ll make it again, Limbaugh is a political leader and Maher is (a not that funny) comedian, but it really doesn’t matter. This is not what we should be fighting about.

What really matters is that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death because he was a Black kid walking down the street at the wrong time and the alleged murderer may never be charged because Florida has a “stand your ground law”, which allows people to claim self-defense if they “feel threatened.” The state also has a law that allows people to carry concealed weapons despite continued evidence that handguns serve no useful purpose.

What matters is 130,000 low-income women will lose cancer screenings, contraceptives and basic health care because of Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) decision to implement a new law that excludes Planned Parenthood from Texas’s Medicaid Health Program.

What matters is that the US Supreme Court will be considering whether to strike down the Affordable Care Act, which provides for free mammograms, colonoscopies, vaccinations and health care screenings. An act that will prevent insurance companies from charging women more for health care coverage, from excluding clients for pre-existing conditions and from establishing lifetime maximums on how much they will pay when a patient becomes ill.

What matters is that that Voter ID laws are being used to disenfranchise minorities, students, the elderly and the poor.

What matters is that the Violence against Women Act, which has never been a contentious issue before, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee without a single Republican vote because of new provisions having to do with Native American jurisdiction and protections that extend to immigrant women and same sex couples.

What matters is that he Supreme Court may strike down affirmative action, which has most benefited white women since it was enacted, because a white woman who scored a mere 1100 on her SAT believes she was unfairly discriminated against by a Texas university because she is a white woman.

If you can sit back and watch these things happen without saying a word in opposition while arguing about who called whom an offensive name then I pity you and I fear for our country. There ought to be some things that are so awful that dealing with them crosses party lines. If you want to argue about misogyny, there are plenty of new and proposed policies across these 50 states that are prime examples.

Can’t we just agree that they’re both crude and should be chastised and move on to the more important issues? The more important issue between the two of them is whether either can affect policy. That is up to the marketplace to decide and the marketplace is deciding.

We will never reach consensus on the important issues if we are forever arguing about who insulted whom first and whether the other party reacted appropriately. No offense to men, but I’m particularly appealing to women as we tend to think of them as the more reasonable class, even as I recognize that men should be offended by boorish behavior, too.

After conservative women deal with all of the real issues that are offensive to women, I’ll start worrying about the insults. The rest are just words.

Bill Maher indicated that Rush Limbaugh has apologized for his vile remarks about Georgetown Law Student Sandra Fluke in which he called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” for speaking up for her classmates who needed prescription birth control for cysts and other health issues, tweeting:

Hate to defend #RushLimbaughbut he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting.

First of all, Bill Maher doesn’t recognize what an apology sounds like, as he never has to apologize for anything he says. As he points out, he has no sponsors for his television show, “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

But let’s not pretend that Maher is any kind of role model either. No one, and I mean no one, looks up to him as any kind of leader or quotes him like they do Rush Limbaugh or even, say, Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. Maher is a comedian, who is sometimes funny and who has a show on HBO that has guests who express both liberal and conservative political views. Yes, he can be crude, crass and juvenile and is often insulting to conservative women and men. Maher specializes pretty much in one-liners, which makes him a whole lot  different from Rush Limbaugh, who appears five days a week and can, and does, carry on his tirades against innocent young women for days.

We could argue about the differences between Maher and Limbaugh or whether Limbaugh or Keith Olbermann or Chris Matthews or Ed Shultz or Maher are more misogynist but let’s not. Let’s leave that conversation for another time. The issue is the apology, or the lack thereof, not so much what he said.

Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher are rarely on the same side of any issue but on this they are uniformly wrong, Rush Limbaugh did not apologize for his tirade against Sandra Fluke – and to the rest of American women he insulted. Ms. Fluke was right not to accept the so-called apology and so were the “liberals” Mr. Maher is so interested in rushing into acceptance of the apology.

Forget whether you felt offended by any of these men and focus only on the fact that there was supposedly an apology. Apologies are actions that are offered by one party because that party is acknowledging that he or she has hurt or otherwise offended the other party. It’s not something that’s supposed to be automatic, pleasant or defensive.

Apparently, we have a lot to learn about apologies and how they should be proposed. I say proposed because there is something we need to understand about apologies. We can propose an apology but the other party doesn’t have to accept it.

Just saying that you apologize and that your apology is sincere doesn’t make it so. There have been a number of recent public examples of what are claimed to be but are not apologies. Mr. Limbaugh’s is but one.

As has been pointed out by others, Rush Limbaugh said his choice of words were not the best. He said he thought listeners would understand that that his schtick was satire. He said he was sorry he descended to the level of the  the leftists. Although he said his apology was sincere he never apologized for distorting the facts of her testimony or for saying that she was “having so much sex it’s amazing she can still walk” or for implying – during his apology – that she deserved derision because of her history as a gender activist.

His apology basically boiled down to, as the late, great comedian Flip Wilson used to say, “the Devil made me do it.”

He felt no remorse for his actions. He exhibited no regret for his words. He did not acknowledge the hurtfulness of the events he set into motion.

As much as it hurts to do it, apologizing preserves your dignity as well as that of the other person. When properly done, they force you to swallow your pride and act with grace and humility.

When I’ve had to apologize to someone, I’ve always had this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I suspect comes from the combination of shame I feel from what I am apologizing for and the fear I feel that the person I am apologizing to will not accept my apology. I feel the apology. It is not something I do for show and it is something I would really rather not do. It’s about repairing the injured party not about making me feel better.

It is important to note that an apology requires one to take full responsibility for the offense. This modern-day excuse for an apology is not acceptable: “If I offended you (or anyone) I’m sorry.” That’s a coward’s way out. Either you’re sorry or you’re not. When you phrase it that way, you’re not. When you share the blame with the person you’re apologizing to or with anyone else or if you try to offer mitigating circumstances, it’s an excuse not an apology. An apology with an excuse is simply not an apology.

Take full responsibility for what you did. If you say, “I’m sorry if” or “I’m sorry but” then you haven’t taken responsibility. You’re placing the blame somewhere else.

I’ve seen two really good apologies from unexpected places recently; one from Keith Olbermann and one from a man some would call a racist Montana federal judge.

Olbermann seemed genuinely perplexed that comments he had made in the past were being compared to Limbaugh’s and deemed misogynistic rather than merely mean but he apologized anyway and swore to do better in the future.

“I’m going to try to raise my standard about not using gratuitously abusive remarks about women, and men,” he said. “In fact, I’m going to suspend the Worst Persons segment again, possibly permanently.”

His apology isn’t enough for many conservatives, including conservative commentators S.E. Cupp and Michelle Malkin, to whom he is apologizing but remember your responsibility is to make the apology. You can’t force anyone to accept it.

Richard Cebull, Montana’s chief federal judge, apologized to President Barack Obama for emailing a joke from his federal email that suggested that the President’s mother had had sex with a dog and that the President is lucky that he is human. The apology letter (attached) actually seems heartfelt. H e assumes responsibility and blames no one but himself for his actions.

“Please forgive me and, again, my most sincere apology,” Judge Cebull wrote.

We don’t know how the President felt or responded, but several advocacy groups and lawmakers have called for Cebull’s resignation in the interests of fairness and justice. That seems fair. Given that the man’s job is to dispense justice to everyone no matter their race or politics, his action has cast doubt on whether he is able to do that. His self-identification as a Tea Party member who disagrees with the President’s policies and who emailed what he knew was a racist joke seems reason enough for the community as a whole to reject his apology. Judge Cebull doesn’t know what else he can do beyond apologize. He can resign.

Implicit in an apology is the fact that you really mean it. If you don’t then don’t say it because you’ll find yourself in Limbaugh’s position. No one will believe it. Remember, sometimes you can mean it and an apology is not enough.

The reason we have such a hard time making a proper apology is we’ve come to think of apologies as bad things. They’re not. We make them when we make mistakes. For example no one would take offense at someone saying, “I’m sorry I accidentally stepped on your foot.” But if a group of U.S. soldiers accidentally burn a bunch of holy Qurans, we’re incensed if the President says “I’m sorry we made a mistake.” GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum during an interview said at least seven times that the burnings were unintentional or a mistake but that the United States should not have apologized because the burnings were a mistake and apologies show weakness.

Understand this. Apologies are a sign of strength. A true leader, a true human being can apologize; without reservation, without excuse, without equivocation, without blame. We should respect people who can take responsibility for their actions, pledge to do better in the future and make every attempt to follow through on that promise. Anyone who does otherwise is merely a pretender and not worthy of our attention or our respect.