Defending the family

Rush Limbaugh, American Treasure

written by Michael Giere for the BULL ELEPHANT

He talks to each of us individually because he knows us - he's lived just like us. He is us.

There is no other person who has shaped and explained modern conservatism, traditional values and the American story with more insight, sagacity, and profoundness than Rush Limbaugh. No voice in this country, or frankly the western world, which better captures and articulates the story of human freedom, liberty, and dignity.

Rush's opinion speaks for tens of millions of average citizens who have no voice, addresses politicians who have no honor or spine, and shines the searchlight of common sense across the dark corners of the culture.

For over thirty years he has lived a public life that has reminded us that we're all broken pottery in this world. He has lost his hearing and battled addiction. But his audience and popularity have grown just the same - because he spoke what so many of us knew and were unable to say to those who would be our kings. He fumes for us and with us at the tiny, soulless and petty minds of bureaucracies who attack the lives and spirit of average citizens, demanding that they live this way or that way as they direct. He talks to each of us individually because he knows us - he's lived just like us. He is us.

There is no one between Rush's "golden EIB microphone" and us.

Today Rush told us that he had been diagnosed with "advanced lung cancer." It was just Rush talking to his friends. I heard a trace of sadness in the announcement, but it was hard to hear over the noise of profound thankfulness to us, and his love for us, and this country.

I know the haters will hate. I've often had people tell me how terrible Rush has been for the country, for the dialogue of the nation. When I quizzed them, invariably they'd never even heard him, they were merely parroting the line of the culture. Others, conservatives, have scoffed at him, and I only heard jealousy, not reason.

Rush to my mind, is one of those unique persons God gifted from birth to do one thing. Rush knows that.

I pray for a miraculous recovery from this dreadful disease for Rush. I know that he has a deep and abiding faith in God, and I believe that if this wretched curse is not thrown from its course, Rush will meet it with the grace and good heart with which he has always met difficulties.

But, if I'm honest, I'd admit that I fear the vacuum his leaving us would create. I'm sad for us. God speed Rush. God speed.

Here is Rush's full message today:

RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, this& This day has been one of the most difficult days in recent memory for me because I've known this moment was coming in the program today. Now, I'm sure that you all know by now, I really don't like talking about myself, and I don't like making things about me other than in the usual satirical, parodic, joking way.

I like this program to be about you and the things that matter to all of us. The one thing that I know that has happened over the 31-plus years of this program is that there has been an incredible bond that has developed between all of you and me. Now, this program's 31 years old, and in that 31 years, there are people - you hear them call all the time - who have been listening the whole time. They've been listening 30 years or 25 years.

I just had somebody say they've been here three years. But, whatever, it is a family-type relationship to me, and I've mentioned to you that this program and this job is what has provided me the greatest satisfaction and happiness that I've ever experienced, more than I ever thought that I would experience. So I have to tell you something today that I wish I didn't have to tell you.

It's a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today. I can't escape& Even though people are telling me it's not the way to look at it, I can't help but feel that I'm letting everybody down with this. But the upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions back on January 20th. I first realized something was wrong on my birthday weekend, January 12th.

I wish I didn't have to tell you this, and I thought about not telling anybody. I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, 'cause I don't like making things about me. But there are going to be days that I'm not gonna be able to be here because I'm undergoing treatment or I'm reacting to treatment, and I know that that would inspire all kinds of curiosity with people wondering what's going on.

And the worst thing that can happen is when there is something going on and you try to hide it and cover it up. It's eventually gonna leak, and then people are gonna say, "Why didn't you just say it? Why'd you try to fool everybody? " It's not that I want to fool anybody. It's just that I don't want to burden anybody with it, and I haven't wanted to. But it is what it is. You know me; I'm the mayor of Realville.

So this has happened, and my intention is to come here every day I can and to do this program as normally and as competently and as expertly as I do each and every day, because that is the source of my greatest satisfaction professionally, personally. I've had so much support from family and friends during this that it's just been tremendous. I told the staff today that I have a deeply personal relationship with God that I do not proselytize about.

But I do, and I have been working that relationship (chuckles) tremendously, which I do regularly anyway, but I've been focused on it intensely for the past couple of weeks. I know there are many of you in this audience who have experienced this, who are going through it yourselves at the same time. I am, at the moment, experiencing zero symptoms other than& Look, I don't want to get too detailed in this.

What led to shortness of breath that I thought might have been asthma or - you know, I'm 69 - it could have been my heart. My heart's in great shape, ticking away fine, squeezing and pumping great. It was not that. It was a pulmonary problem involving malignancy. So I'm gonna be gone the next couple days as we figure out the treatment course of action and have further testing done. But, as I said, I'm gonna be here as often as I can.

And, as is the case with everybody who finds themselves in this circumstance, you just want to push ahead and try to keep everything as normal as you can, which is something that I'm going to try to do. But I felt that I had to tell you because that's the kind of relationship I feel like I have with those of you in this audience. I say it every Christmas, which is when I feel more thankful than at Thanksgiving.

And I feel thankful at Thanksgiving, but Christmas it really gets to me. But over the years, a lot of people have been very nice telling me how much this program has meant to them. But whatever that is, it pales in comparison to what you all have meant to me. And I can't describe this. But I know you're there every day. I can see you. It's strange how, but I know you're there.

I know you're there in great numbers, and I know that you understand everything I say. The rest of the world may not when they hear it expressed a different way, but I know that you do. You've been one of the greatest sources of confidence that I've had in my life. So, I hope I will be talking about this as little as necessary in the coming days.

But we've got a great bunch of doctors, a great team assembled. We're at full-speed ahead on this, and it's just now a matter of implementing what we are gonna be told later this week. So, I'll be back here. I hope I'll be back Thursday. If not, it will be as soon as I can - and know that every day I'm not here, I'll be thinking about you and missing you. Thank you very much."

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