Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Paul Ruth Headshot

I Would Boycott Limbaugh, If I Could

Posted: Updated:
Print

It would be decent to assume in a free market that if a figure can exist, it will. In this particular case, Rush Limbaugh may take the podium accepting this award of economic reality. It is true, like many personalities, he says things to cause a reaction and to put words into mouths that can't find them. His comments on the recent birth control debate are not surprising, but alarming. The public outcry that follows, and the apology that continues the outcry is just another sign of how America divides itself for the sake of entertainment.

The reason why I cannot boycott Mr. Limbaugh is because I do not follow him. I simply do not find him to be entertaining. It is interesting to see the companies pulling their ads from his broadcast, as if Rush has never made flamboyant statements characterizing the far right in a political spectrum of cartoons. It is almost as if advertisers hook up with his show waiting for a moment such as this. Wouldn't it be more of a value and product placement to suddenly yank your product from the airwave shelves to make a moral stand? In truth, there are people who follow him so that he can do what he does, which a casual observer can see that he does well.

The sadness that protrudes into American politics is that Limbaugh's words (as many phrases do) create a split in the earth. The split is sudden and like an earthquake. The sound bite forces someone to pick a side to jump on, and to pick quickly. It is a sort of tunnel vision that ends up defining a debate. Shock value is political value. The idea is to make it simple and to make it stick, but the problem lies in the fact that no national debate is ever so simple and shouldn't be so sticky. When a society is so divisive, there must be reasons. Politics, whether in media or in chambers, must be about listening as much as it is about screaming. Mr. Limbaugh, your comments keep people from listening.

Having convictions and holding them to pursue what is right has shaped modern life for the better in many instances. Yet, a conviction is not ignorance and is not deaf. The reasons for holding true to such a strong conviction means being as convinced of the opposition's reasons as much as you are of your own. It is more than knowing your enemy, but understanding your fellow citizen's position to see why so many oppose what you feel to be so true. It takes consideration and sympathy to the opposition in order to grasp why such a topic is so divisive. Limbaugh's comments cut both sides off from each other, which impedes the democratic process of debate through dialog.

Too often people allow a sound bite and internet search request to define meaning for them. There must be a consensus, a compromise, or acceptance starting at individualism and ending in a newly formed majority. Not a populism that rallies for a moment, but a conclusion that grounds the nation in peaceful progression into the future. I would boycott if I could, but politics must refuse to be defined by short verbalizations designed to cut, split, and divide whether by airwaves or campaign trails.