Marolt: A bum Rush to the exit on party politics
I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh. For the past 30 years I have traveled every month to Grand Junction for work and in the pre-satellite radio days I tuned into AM talk stations because they had more range than the FM and I didn’t have to mess with the dial as often when programs faded in and out, whistling and coughing beneath power lines and overpasses.
I don’t know exactly why I stopped. I don’t remember when I stopped. There was no transcendent moment when I had suddenly heard enough and snapped off the radio with a vow to never listen again, like so many former Broncos fans have proclaimed to do for fear of being unable to control an impulse to throw a brick at their television sets.
There was no straw that broke any camel’s back. I would say it must have been more like a dry seed that worked its way into the weave of my sock that irritatingly poked my ankle as I wandered off a trail and through an open field of tall grass looking for another path to follow. There was no feeling of panic, so I wouldn’t say I felt lost. I don’t think I was bored, because I still like exploring the airwaves. I guess I just have to chalk it up to a mild case of “whatever dude.”
I do remember being entertainingly perplexed by people who called into the show. Most would begin their moment on the air with the common fawning admission that they agreed with everything Rush said, while the dupes who disagreed with him would be summarily skewered for their horrible logic and stupidity.
I enjoyed it when he put people on the hot seat and turned the current up until their butts would surely have felt blistered on the other end of the airwaves. As shameful as it is to say now, I felt it was thoroughly entertaining then. Of course I knew he was bullying these callers who had been set up for the pummeling by the show’s call screeners, but I figured any fool who phoned in thinking they had the upper hand in a debate with the guy controlling the mic and a seven-second broadcast delay as an insurance policy was getting what they had coming to them. It was like the oblivious dopes in horror movies who walk into the dark hallway where everyone else knows a faceless ax murderer is hiding behind the grandfather clock. Great drama!
I think if it was only that, I might still enjoy the program. But, what may have worked its subliminal influence on me to eventually seek other forms of drive-time entertainment was probably the stream of ditto-head voices gushing unwavering agreement with everything the show’s host proclaimed. It’s creepy. I am a guy who is stubbornly proud of his opinions, but confrontations with truth, age and my wife have forced me to alter my views more times than I care to admit, so I know with certainty that I don’t even always agree with myself.
“The Rush Limbaugh Show” got boring. It is predictable. Instead of an honest debate with callers, it is a virtually scripted dialogue with hand-picked participants planted in a hothouse to produce a big, fat flavorless fruit. It’s like a WWE wrestling match. At least there, however, fans know they’re being fed baloney-wrapped melon balls. In the end, I think my desire to be informed drew out my sense that the show’s intent was to manipulate. I slinked to the exit, sorry for wasting precious time.
I did, however, discover that I am old school on politics. I don’t trust the bums! I go issue by issue. I am smart enough to know that one side or the other is not always right. I am humble enough not to affiliate unwaveringly with any side because I cherish the freedom to change my mind. I am wise enough to not trust anyone who never admits fault. I am observant enough to see what politicians get out of the game is wholly different than what I will receive. I respect myself enough to be offended when I am lied to. I value my time enough to resent political advertising’s ubiquitous intrusion. I understand that politics is a necessary evil and I maintain healthy skepticism regarding political deals made with the devil. In short, I realize it is better to watch the circus from the bleachers than from on a bandwagon.
Roger Marolt thinks it is better to shop around than go all in with a professional politician or a used car salesman. Email at email@example.com