I don't know about anybody else -- that's one of the reasons I decided to write this, to try and find out -- but I'm thoroughly fed up with listening to Rush Limbaugh blather, as he was doing once again just the other day, about "Wacko, Texas".
As Rush informs us smugly in the pizza commercial he's so proud of, when he's right, nobody in the Known Galaxy could possibly be more right than he is. And it's unquestionably true that we get news from him -- or at least a perspective on the news -- that we can't get from anybody else. Naturally, as a Libertarian, I disagree with him fully half of the time. But at least it's a refreshingly different half than I'm accustomed to disagreeing with the mass media about. And there's always the inestimable pleasure of knowing the way he makes our mutual antagonists' blood boil, their stomachs churn, and other portions of their anatomy pucker and shrivel with even the least of his pronouncements.
But when Rush is wrong, nobody can even approach the cosmic magnitude of his wrongness. And Rush is wrong, totally wrong, embarrassingly wrong -- just as he was totally, embarrassingly wrong back when the whole thing happened -- about Waco. It's enough to make you wonder which god his talent is on loan from.
I remember my frustration -- and you probably remember your own, as well -- at the way Rush sat back on his big fat ratings, all through the despicable Branch Davidian siege, having a grand old time at the expense of the dozens of innocent, helpless men, women, and children whose religious beliefs failed so feloniously to coincide with his own, and whom the United States government was working up its microscopic courage to obliterate with a callousness and brutality seldom witnessed even at the height of the Third Reich's malevolant sway.
It's all too easy to lose hold of the ugly facts, sometimes, too easy to let the hated memories fade, of a hundred individual human beings surrounded, threatened, tortured, shot, gassed, and burned to cinders by a State whose one and only reason for existing was the protection of their lives, liberties, and property. God -- or somebody -- forbid that any of us ever get protected the same way.
Protected to death.
The reason, one is forced to presume, for the big man's inappropriately jocular indifference to the Waco atrocity is that Jackboot Janet and her orcs were only following through -- pretty damned stupidly, as it turned out -- on a plan conceived, approved, and rehearsed by their predecessors in the Bush Administration.
I remember how Drug/Education Czar William Bennett, the authoritarian bully-boy Rush toadies up to so disgustingly -- a philosophical thug who amounts to little more than Pat Buchanan with a vocabulary -- helped to get the whole mess started by having his staff write up the first version of the so-called "Clinton" rifle and magazine ban for introduction by Newt Gingrich in the House and Phil Gramm in the Senate, proposing to strip millions of otherwise blameless gun-owning citizens of their social respectability, and turn them into criminals overnight with the stroke of a pen, setting the stage for what happened at Waco and for a thousand incidents just like it still to come.
I remember, too, how the revered and beloved Nancy Reagan was chosen to cut the ribbon on the War on Drugs -- which we all know now was really a war against the Bill of Rights -- that made something like Waco thinkable. And do-able.
What disturbs me almost as much as these appalling lapses of Republican morality and courage is my perception (correct me if I'm wrong) that, in this context, the Great Mouthpiece speaks pretty much directly for the current party establishment, which has missed the boat again by failing to comprehend the significance of what history will come to regard as the definitive event of our times. If so, it means the changes last November and a future change of Presidential regimes, will bring us no relief, not from unconstitutional gun laws, nor from the likelihood that something a lot like Waco will happen again.
So what to do? I won't try to boycott Rush or his sponsors (proving that I'm smarter than the average liberal). But if you share my concerns, and you agree with me that the easiest way to change the course of the Republican Party may be to change the mind of its real leader, then join me in writing to him at:
2 Penn Plaza, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10121
Even better, for the individuals most likely to be reading this, Rush's Compuserve address is 70277,2502. If you're on internet, like I am, then make it email@example.com.
Tell him he's dead wrong about Waco and that he's been dead wrong for two years. Tell him that, if he ever used both halves of his brain, he'd know he's wrong. (And he'd probably be a Libertarian, to boot!) Tell him that if he's honest, when he finally figures it all out, he's going to be more ashamed of himself than words can adequately express. And if you can't think of anything better, or you haven't got the time for anything else, forward this essay to him.
Think of it as an experiment in integrity, Rush.
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 19 books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Pallas, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn and Lever Action. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.
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