FEAR AND LOATHING: A Tribute to Rush Limbaugh

9 Mar

FEAR AND LOATHING: A Tribute to Rush Limbaugh

Louise Annarino

March 9, 2012


Have you ever been sexually assaulted? Have you had a man put his hand up your skirt an drag you along by pulling on your pubic bone? Have you been walking along campus with 2 friends and been pulled away and thrown to the ground by a group of young men; your friends escaping while you were held down kicking and screaming as 3 of the 6 men tried to rape you? Have you been stopped at a red light when a man runs up and jumps into your car and reaches for you, running the light at top speed to dislodge him from your front seat? Have you been cornered, shoved and punched by a man when you were alone doing research in the library stacks? Have you been hunted down like prey until you were running through the streets walking home from the law library at 3 a.m. where you had been preparing for moot court the next day; saved by a neighborhood dog who attacked the man so you could reach your apartment door? Have you been warned by a judge that your client’s husband is asking how to find you, has a gun, and is threatening to rape or kill you? Have you been called a “f…ing bitch” by a defendant whose deposition you are taking? Do you carry the photo of a rapist in your purse and look at it daily to memorize his face because prison officials and police have warned you his letters threatening to rape and kill you upon his release from prison are deadly serious? No? well, I have. The climate of hate against women is strong; and Rush Limbaugh increases its strength every day.


To all those who describe his most recent verbal attacks against specific women as a matter of “free speech”, you are dead/rape wrong. I am a writer, a teacher, a lawyer. Words are my trade. Free speech is the love of my life. What Rush has done is NOT protected by the U.S. Constitution. Assault “placing another in fear of bodily harm” is not protected speech. It is a crime. Mr. Limbaugh has placed Ms. Fluke and American women under threat of bodily harm. Those of us who have experienced the results of misogyny, are well aware that sexual attacks are not based on lust, but on anger, anger directed against women. People like Rush Limbaugh use women as targets for anger because they see us as “the weaker sex”, easy victims. Rush stoked that anger for several days, and continues to do so despite an apology for 2 words. He has not apologized for stoking hatred against and causing fear in women. He has given people license to attack, threaten, rape and even kill women. For years he has done so, in a more general way, using words to describe strong women who defy his perception of what a woman should be like (weak and easy to manipulate) as “feminazis”. But, in this case he has directed his threat at a very specific woman; lying about her to make her weaker and easier to victimize. His followers have taken up his cause. Even Barbara Walters tells us to “just change the channel” because people could come after her and those on THE VIEW. Really? Rush Limbaugh’s behavior is nothing like what Ed Schultz, Bill Maher, Roland Martin, or Keith Olbermann were disciplined for. Too strong for you? Read my 1st paragraph.


Am I sensitive? Of course, and you should be also. you should be sensitive for the sakes of your daughters, grand-daughters, wives and girlfriends, mothers and sisters, cousins and aunts, even your grandmother. Most disturbing to me are the women who defend Rush Limbaugh. I can understand that men may not feel the fear of a Rush-triggered assault; but, women? Thank Goodness we have a president with empathy who can cross the divide between men and women, as he crosses so many divides in this country. For his daughters and his wife, he tried to ease the fear and the pain Rush Limbaugh caused Ms. Fluke. He understood that Rush assaulted her and all women when he asked Ms. Fluke, “Are you OK?”


I have shared my fear and disgust, hoping that when you listen or participate in a discussion of free speech and Rush Limbaugh you will feel what I and millions of women feel…utter disgust that our lives are held so cheaply! But not by President Obama; never by President Obama.


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