I once booked a hire car to drive from Binghamton in New York State to Toronto. As I recall it was a four by four with plenty of space in the back and pretty reliable when it came to gas consumption – or petrol as we call it over here in England. My family were with me, and we were all looking forward to the trip, especially as there was a planned stop-over at Niagara Falls. Not even the fact that I managed to misread the map, and instead of heading North managed somehow to find ourselves heading towards a town called Scranton, spoiled the adventure.

That is until I tuned into to car radio. Now there was something clearly wrong with this radio. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many stations I tuned into, there was only one that was audible. Bear in mind that this was a long journey and it was important to fill in the equally long silences.

The monotonous drone of the show host didn’t really register at first, for none of us were really listening to what sounded like a bunch of home grown homilies. But then the voice began to assume a degree of urgency; it became more and more difficult to ignore. Like a bout of flu or a cold, it almost became impossible to shake off. In turn irritating and puerile, the voice on the radio surely couldn’t be taken seriously by anyone?  Could it?

The voice in question, so bizarre and extreme, so shocking that it was impossible to shake off, belonged to so called ‘shock-jock’, Rush Limbaugh. And it was with a strange sense of fascination that I listened to an outpouring of verbal diarrhoea directed at his various hate figures. It struck me then that it would be funny, if it wasn’t so serious, because Mr Limbaugh, I had read, was an influential figure, and one who carried some influence with what was described as the ‘moral majority’.

Fast forward to this week and the utter devastation and desolation of the Haiti earthquake; as desperate Mothers and Father searched for their children in the rubble, as the already bloated bodies began to be piled in the streets and as United Nations staffers were being hauled dead or alive from their crumpled headquarters, Mr Rush Limbaugh, the voice of reason, added his low whine of invective.

“This will play right into Obama’s hands – humanitarian, compassionate. They’ll use this to burnish their, shall we say, credibility with the black community, in both the light skinned and black community in this country. It’s made to order for him”. Note the caveats and the weasel words as in “shall we say”. Note also that Limbaugh realises that even he has, shall we say, “Gone beyond the Pale”, as he is forced to add the words “light skinned”. That’s just in case anyone should mistakenly think he is a racist.

Limbaugh was as equally disparaging about the legendary generosity of the American people; “Would you trust that the money (given by the US Government) is going to Haiti? Would you trust that your name’s not gonna end up on a mailing list for the Obama people to start asking you for campaign donations?”

From these outbursts we can only conclude that a) President Obama is only interested in helping the desperate people of Haiti because they are black, and b) that there is no point in donating any money to help them.

Fortunately Mr President must have somehow missed these outbursts, and also has never been stuck in car North of Binghamton with only Rush Limbaugh for company. The US administration has been quick to mobilise resources and has pledged more than any other donor country to at least begin a relief operation that is tragically partially doomed by the scale of the devastation.

But then, just as we all thought we might be safe, up popped the ludicrous figure of the “Reverend” Pat Robertson, who in between counselling to the needs of his ever generous flock, is variously described in the media as a “televangelist”. Robertson apparently suggested on his “700 Club” programme, that the earthquake was pay-back for Haiti’s “Pact with the devil” that Haitian slaves made to free themselves from Napoleon’s armies, and not so long after American colonists had thrown off the British yoke. No doubt the Reverend Pat Roberston had some strange notions of Voodoo on his mind as he crashed into the airwaves. Or was he thinking about some of his hellfire and damnation sermons?

That the Washington Post devoted a well reported and argued piece by Paul Fahri, might seem to suggest that the above pair are not crackpots, but do actually hold sway amongst some people.

But for my part I truly hope that real Americans will show this shower the door. More to the point, I hope that those they have been baiting for the past two decades finally show some mettle and take them on. There is no point in playing their game, no point in genuflecting, triangulating or trying to placate, the Limbaughs and Robertsons of this World are as cynical as they are utterly bigoted.

In fact, I have a suggestion, and if Obama won’t do it, then maybe “Big Think” readers might. How about passing around the hat and collecting enough to send Limbaugh and Robertson to Haiti, with just enough left over for a shovel for each of them?

Let’s see them try and shift the piles of corpses who Obama seeks to court and who the devil loved.

 

I once booked a hire car to drive from Binghamton in New York State to Toronto. As I recall it was a four by four with plenty of space in the back and pretty reliable when it came to gas consumption – or petrol as we call it over here in England. My family were with me, and we were all looking forward to the trip, especially as there was a planned stop-over at Niagara Falls. Not even the fact that I managed to misread the map, and instead of heading North managed somehow to find ourselves heading towards a town called Scranton, spoiled the adventure.

That is until I tuned into to car radio. Now there was something clearly wrong with this radio. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many stations I tuned into, there was only one that was audible. Bear in mind that this was a long journey and it was important to fill in the equally long silences.

The monotonous drone of the show host didn’t really register at first, for none of us were really listening to what sounded like a bunch of home grown homilies. But then the voice began to assume a degree of urgency; it became more and more difficult to ignore. Like a bout of flu or a cold, it almost became impossible to shake off. In turn irritating and puerile, the voice on the radio surely couldn’t be taken seriously by anyone?  Could it?

The voice in question, so bizarre and extreme, so shocking that it was impossible to shake off, belonged to so called ‘shock-jock’, Rush Limbaugh. And it was with a strange sense of fascination that I listened to an outpouring of verbal diarrhoea directed at his various hate figures. It struck me then that it would be funny, if it wasn’t so serious, because Mr Limbaugh, I had read, was an influential figure, and one who carried some influence with what was described as the ‘moral majority’.

Fast forward to this week and the utter devastation and desolation of the Haiti earthquake; as desperate Mothers and Father searched for their children in the rubble, as the already bloated bodies began to be piled in the streets and as United Nations staffers were being hauled dead or alive from their crumpled headquarters, Mr Rush Limbaugh, the voice of reason, added his low whine of invective.

“This will play right into Obama’s hands – humanitarian, compassionate. They’ll use this to burnish their, shall we say, credibility with the black community, in both the light skinned and black community in this country. It’s made to order for him”. Note the caveats and the weasel words as in “shall we say”. Note also that Limbaugh realises that even he has, shall we say, “Gone beyond the Pale”, as he is forced to add the words “light skinned”. That’s just in case anyone should mistakenly think he is a racist.

Limbaugh was as equally disparaging about the legendary generosity of the American people; “Would you trust that the money (given by the US Government) is going to Haiti? Would you trust that your name’s not gonna end up on a mailing list for the Obama people to start asking you for campaign donations?”

From these outbursts we can only conclude that a) President Obama is only interested in helping the desperate people of Haiti because they are black, and b) that there is no point in donating any money to help them.

Fortunately Mr President must have somehow missed these outbursts, and also has never been stuck in car North of Binghamton with only Rush Limbaugh for company. The US administration has been quick to mobilise resources and has pledged more than any other donor country to at least begin a relief operation that is tragically partially doomed by the scale of the devastation.

But then, just as we all thought we might be safe, up popped the ludicrous figure of the “Reverend” Pat Robertson, who in between counselling to the needs of his ever generous flock, is variously described in the media as a “televangelist”. Robertson apparently suggested on his “700 Club” programme, that the earthquake was pay-back for Haiti’s “Pact with the devil” that Haitian slaves made to free themselves from Napoleon’s armies, and not so long after American colonists had thrown off the British yoke. No doubt the Reverend Pat Roberston had some strange notions of Voodoo on his mind as he crashed into the airwaves. Or was he thinking about some of his hellfire and damnation sermons?

That the Washington Post devoted a well reported and argued piece by Paul Fahri, might seem to suggest that the above pair are not crackpots, but do actually hold sway amongst some people.

But for my part I truly hope that real Americans will show this shower the door. More to the point, I hope that those they have been baiting for the past two decades finally show some mettle and take them on. There is no point in playing their game, no point in genuflecting, triangulating or trying to placate, the Limbaughs and Robertsons of this World are as cynical as they are utterly bigoted.

In fact, I have a suggestion, and if Obama won’t do it, then maybe “Big Think” readers might. How about passing around the hat and collecting enough to send Limbaugh and Robertson to Haiti, with just enough left over for a shovel for each of them?

Let’s see them try and shift the piles of corpses who Obama seeks to court and who the devil loved.