Thursday, October 02, 2003

Florida Man Makes Himself Deaf

It sounds like an Enquirer headline doesn't it? Well, in a way it is. The National Enquirer broke the story of Rush Limbaugh's addiction to prescription drugs. But it did not tell readers that one of those drugs may have caused Limbaugh's hearing loss.

Limbaugh is accused of abusing Lorcet, which is one of the brand names for prescription painkiller Vicodin. It turns out that Vicodin may cause deafness when misused.

What is a good Christian to do? I have to confess that my first reaction upon reading this story was to laugh out loud. It can't get any better. El Rushbo is a drug addict and his addiction caused him to go deaf. But of course Christians aren't supposed to take pleasure in the misfortune of others. In fact I am supposed to pray for Rush. No schadenfreude for us.

The problem with having any empathy for Limbaugh is that he has no empathy for anyone else. On December 16, 1994 he had this to say about addicts.

"So we're not going to get on--we don't fault these animals for a lack of discipline, but we get on human beings who are fat for lack of discipline and you know it and I know it. But here's the thing that struck me about this. We have alcoholics and drug addicts in our society, don't we? And what do we say about them? Well, they can't help it. Why, it's genetic. Why, they have a disease. Why, put one thimbleful of scotch in front of them and they can die.

We totally exempt them from any control over their lives, do we not? Some athlete will spend two years snorting lines of coke. He can't help it. You know, it's--it's just--it's not--it's--it's genetic. These people--they're predisposed to having this addictive syndrome. They--they can't help--yeah, like that line of cocaine just happened to march into the hotel, go up to the athlete's room and put itself right there in front of him on his blotter."

I think that addiction is a very complex issue. Greater minds than mine have studied and disagree over causes and treatments. Ordinarily I don't believe that anyone is obligated to publicly discuss their addiction problems, but Limbaugh has made a career out of being mean spirited and bigoted. I think he should be very public about explaining his drug use. Yes it is a private matter, but a public figure who is so unsympathetic that he calls the unemployed lazy has a different standard to meet.

As for me, the Christian life is not an easy one and Jesus didn't make compassion exceptions for hateful talk radio hosts. I guess I better start praying for Rush. I will pray that he has a more open mind and heart. I will pray that he understands how much he has hurt other people and apologizes. I guess I am praying that he learns and works at the Twelve Steps. He has his work cut out for him.

When you think about Limbaugh it really isn't surprising that he is a drug user. Conservatives are funny people. Look at Bill Bennett, Mr. Virtue, who turned out to have a serious gambling problem. They spend a lot of time wanting to control the rest of us. Could it be because they don't know how to control themselves? Both of these men were among those who used Bill Clinton's weaknesses to undermine his presidency and ignore the will of the voters. I guess Clinton is having a little schadenfreude of his own.

"You Can't Hide from Yourself"
Teddy Pendergrast song

Asked who his heroes are, he answered, "I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it."

He is quoted as saying he wished he could have an experience, "like Hitler in the Nuremberg stadium. And have all those people scream at you and just being total agreement whatever you say."

Thank God Arnold didn't think about running for office when he was young. He might have kept his fascism secret. We now know that he admired Hitler, praised apartheid and thinks that any breasts within reach are his personal property. But I am still nervous about the recall vote. I believe that Gray Davis or Cruz Bustamante should leave the race.

It seems that no one wants to admit how dangerous a Schwarzenegger victory would be. Let's look at it this way. California is the only state Gore won that has had an increase in the number of electoral votes. Republicans have not won the governorship or a presidential vote in that state in nearly ten years. If Schwarzenegger wins and the republicans get some traction then Bush might have a chance next year. A victory in California would give him an easy electoral victory in another close race.

I am sure that none of this was lost on the republicans when they conspired to get Davis out of office. They are always way ahead of the democrats in the strategy department. I just hope that Davis or Bustamante take a page from Arianna Huffington's book. She wasn't going to win but in a tight race she could have helped Schwarzenegger. It is time for someone to fall on their sword.

Do you remember Darrell Issa? He was the republican Congressman who bank rolled the recall effort and planned to run for governor himself. But Karl Rove told him to step aside for Schwarzenegger and he did just that. An admirer of Hitler should not be the governor of California, or any other state for that matter. Are you with me Oprah?