Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve received several inquiries relating to how any of us could possibly “let go” of that man called Rush and all of the unconsciousness that he spits out over the airwaves each day. For the record, my preference is to choose music over talk whenever I can. I should also note that while I’ve only listened to Mr. Limbaugh a few times in my life, I have found his commentary, political and otherwise, tends to embody the very attachments that veil awakening from our sight. And these veils are spread easily. But this doesn’t make him evil. Unconscious, maybe. Egocentric, for sure, but evil? If he’s seen as evil, his unconsciousness must be spreading.

Unconsciousness, like the common cold, gains traction on the terrain of those who see the world as being divided dualistically between in here and out there; I’m right and you’re wrong; and, us versus them. A deep and authentic stillness practice will eventually show anyone brave enough to commit to its rigors many significant things, among them: first, that us is them, and second, that no one is brilliant enough to be 100% wrong.

Seen through the Dharma’s lens, Mr. Limbaugh can be an amazing teacher since, at least in my sangha, he seems to put people in touch with many of the thoughts and feeling that they cling to. So bows to Rush, and any other person in this life who forces us to face our attachments. His words and deeds might just inspire compassionate and mindful action that intimately, and intentionally, meets all of the unconsciousness thus lessening its charge, decreasing its valence within us as well as within those who echo his sentiments.

With this in mind, I was struck by an article in the Huffington Post, where Mike Papantonio makes an interesting numerical argument regarding Limbaugh’s affect:

The analysis on Rush is easy. Historically, he has had zero impact on the outcome of elections. Every day during the 2008 presidential primaries, he attacked John McCain and predicted McCain would never win in the primaries. All the anti-McCain hate talk Rush could dish out had no effect on the outcome. Next, Rush tried to show that he had political muscle by calling Barack Obama a communist and a Kenyan illegal immigrant. Rush was certain that his vast political influence would end Obama’s presidential hopes. But the truth is Limbaugh’s political influence is not vast at all.

He goes on:

Let’s buy the spin and assume that 13 million people at some time during a week listen to Rush’s rants. If every one of those listeners does exactly what Rush begs them to do, as they march off the cliff they will have zero impact on elections. In the last presidential election 125 million people voted, and the Democrats whom Rush vilifies daily pulled off sweeping victories all over America. Rush has an approval rating with the general public that is even more dismal than the one W. left behind when he left office. Gallup puts Raging Rush’s favorables at around 28%. An entire generation of young voters tuned Rush out years ago. Instead, they tune into places like Jon Stewart’s Daily Show or the Colbert Report to follow politics.

What do you think?


Michael McAlister

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