Those who don’t see everything in black and white, they’re the ones that, by God, if you don’t say it in the black and white they accept, then there is no gray area for you. You’re finished, especially if you have the opportunity to say things that might influence others. So as a result there’s been a genuine chilling effect. There’s a chilling effect in the classroom. There’s a chilling effect on campus. There is definitely a chilling effect at the workplace. There’s a chilling effect in the media. I mean, the media is one of the greatest practitioners of political correctness. Here’s the media – which is constitutionally enshrined, constitutionally guaranteed its freedom of speech – and even in the media you’ve got people saying “back off, going to offend somebody.”
You know, if you’re not offending somebody, you’re not saying anything. Really when you get down to this, if you go through it – when you were young, were you ever obsessed with a desire to make everybody like you? We all are at one point. None of us wants to be disliked. We all want to be liked. We all want to be popular. We all want to be the focus of activity in a room. We all want to be the life of the party. But hey, how long did it take you to learn when you were very, very young that not everybody is going to like you? Well, what are you going to do about that? Are you going to be who you are or are you going to try to change who you are from person to person you meet so that they’ll like you?
If you choose the latter, there won’t be a you after a while. There won’t be a core you. You’ll be an interchangeable robot. You’ll be what you have to be to get along with that person or group over there, or what you have to be to get along with that person or group over there. But if you don’t succumb to that, if you’re going to be who you are, comfortable in your own skin, and if you’re going to be comfortable with what you believe – and, by the way, another aspect of this, make no mistake that this is a factor, too. There are some people that just do not like somebody that’s sure of themselves.
You know, you’re not supposed to be that firmly decided to things, supposed to have a little gray area, supposed to have a little open-mindedness, supposed to have a little allowance for the fact that you might be wrong, not supposed to be dead set on the fact that you’re right. That will really offend people. But you quickly learn that if there is a core you, and it’s simply a matter of odds that there’s going to be at least one person – and in reality thousands more – who don’t like you, who don’t agree with you, whatever, and what’s happened is that there’s a majority opinion in the media of people who simply have been able to set the speech codes.
They’re not written anywhere, they’re not established, there’s no book or any of that, but we all know what it is. I mean, the term “political correctness” is not just something that exists because people like the way the syllables sound. It’s a real thing, and it does affect the way people think. It affects the way people talk, and all I’m saying is I’m not going to let it affect the way I talk. I’m not going to let it affect the way I think. I’m not going to apologize for the things that I think I’m right about that I’ve taken the time to think about. But if it can be demonstrated to me I am wrong, I’m not too proud to admit that, either. But to say that there are those among us who ought to shut up and lose their jobs because of this?
You know, I’m fortunate; I didn’t need the ESPN job. That was a weekend gig for me. That was just a thrill, something I wanted to do on the side – although I approached it with as much energy as a full-time job because I took the opportunity seriously. But still, if I lose it, I lose it. I can afford to. A lot of people can’t. So a lot of people don’t tell you what they really think. A lot of people come off as really wishy-washy, marshmallow, Milquetoast, because they’re afraid. They’re afraid to say something that might offend something who is more powerful than they are or who is intimidating or what have you. They’ve seen it happen and they don’t want to go down that road. So they just clam up, shut up or try to get along as best can be.
Fine, if that’s what everybody wants. But there are times such as during political campaigns. Political campaigns, the world of politics, that’s how we manage the affairs that determine our future. This is where we all get together and determine what we as a people are going to be governed by, who we’re going to be governed by, and how, and what we’re going to be supporting. If some of us are afraid to say so, and if candidates are afraid to actually be who they are – and, you know, there are examples of that running around even today – then, you know, we’re not being presented honestly to people who are presenting them to us. So, I mean, there are some bad aspects of this above and beyond just the fact that it’s plainly wrong to want to punish somebody for an opinion you don’t agree with.
You know, a point was made to me, strangely enough by an executive. This is a very positive thing for me – just kidding in there, John. An executive made the point to me during the break what the First Amendment says, what the whole Constitution says, what the whole Bill of Rights says. Now, this is, I think, after you get past the humor of it, this is somewhat serious. The First Amendment of the Constitution says Congress shall make no law abridging the right of free speech, people to assemble, and blah, blah, blah. There’s a number of clauses in the First Amendment.
But as I have said over the course of the many years that I’ve been hosting the program, the purpose of the Constitution is to limit government. The Constitution does not limit us. The Constitution is a document that limits the role of government in our lives. That’s why I’m a big believer in limited government. That’s what the Constitution does. I’m a constitutionalist. The Constitution does not spell out how government gets big, doesn’t spell out how government can usurp power. It’s all about how government shouldn’t and can’t! The government that will make no law respecting the right of free speech.
And yet, what is it, two or three? Two, I know for sure, two presidential candidates, two Democrats running for president actually suggested that I be fired! These are people who, if they were to be elected, would swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. They’d be the nation’s chief this, chief that, chief executive, and here they are in total defiance of the Constitution, demanding that a company fire somebody. The Constitution says government can’t do that. That’s really how besmirched the document has become.
And there’s another thing, folks. You may not remember this, even you subscribers, but back in March we seriously endorsed Al Sharpton for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Limbaugh Letter. We weren’t joking. It was a serious nomination. We thought Sharpton was a great representative of what that party is. We thought Al Sharpton should be the next Democrat nominee for president. And here’s Al Sharpton running around demanding that I be fired. This is a hell of a way to treat supporters Al. There’s no gratitude with these people at all. Jason in Fort Pierce, Florida. You’re next on Open Line Friday. Hi.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush. I want to know, did the pressure from the Democratic presidential candidates to resign over the comments on ESPN affect your decision at all, and do you think that they would have gotten involved if he say Chris Berman or Steve Young would have said the same thing?
RUSH: No, I don’t…well, in essence that is sort of what happened as I’ve been told. You mean if Chris Berman or Steve Young had demanded I be fired?
CALLER: Yes, would the Democrats have gotten involved with it? Would they have had any comments to make on it at all or do you think just because you were labeled as a Republican.
RUSH: No, I think the presidential candidates were simply piling on. I think Sharpton and Wesley Clark saw an opportunity to get their names attached to a big story. It’s a big story happening in the Philadelphia media and they’re trying to appeal to people in their party who think like they do that the government ought to have a right to shut certain people up and so they’re going out there, “Okay, you can vote for me. I agree! I think guys like Limbaugh should be shut up,” and there’s a bunch of Democrats who agree with that.
As I explained earlier, the reason I resigned – and, folks, I’ve got to tell you something. It’s just tough because I’m not, I don’t want to indict any news organizations or cable channels here. But, you know, things happen to you, and your perspective changes a little bit based on participatory experience. This ESPN story is being touted. I’ve got a number of television sets here in my broadcast complex, and I’m watching these various networks deal with this. They just 20 minutes ago did a segment on this whole ESPN thing. It was a debate. Larry Elder was on with – I don’t know – Ellis Henican is who it was, yeah, and Henican said, “Well, if he’s so innocent, why did he quit?”
I only answered this two hours ago. I’ve answered this two or three times. There has been a statement on my website, I answered it on the radio today, and the statement I gave ESPN explained why I resigned – and here’s a news network debating, ‘Why did he quit?’ They didn’t even know. Now, the perspective is, here I am the subject of the story and I’ve made it public for over a day now why I quit, and here is a segment on a television show with two quote, unquote, experts, don’t know one of the answers to the questions they’re debating. So it is going to have an effect on the way I watch this stuff in the future.
But here’s why I quit, resigned. I was told by the management at ESPN that some cast members of Sunday NFL Countdown were uncomfortable with all this attention, that they would prefer this just be a football show. They had gotten criticized by friends and family for not responding to me at the time this comment was made on the program last Sunday, and they’ve been made to feel very unhappy about all this, uncomfortable, and don’t want to engage in things like this on the show. And I assume that ESPN, just assumed maybe they might lose some. I don’t know, I have no clue. But it was made plain to me that the staff, the cast that’s been there for the longest time, was uncomfortable with all this.
And when I heard that, I didn’t want to cause or be the source of any discomfort for those people. I admire them too much. I like them too much. They’ve become friends and it’s their show. They’ve been doing this, as I say, for a number of years. I don’t want to be part of anything where something’s forced on them. In fact, you know, before this all started, their tantamount approval had to be gotten before I could even be talked to and negotiated with about going on this program. They talked to all of the cast members and took their temperature on it, and they all said fine, that would be great.
That attitude has changed. But I only resigned to limit the tension and the angst on the other cast members. As I say, this is what I was told by the management at ESPN. I have no reason to not believe that. I guess there could be something else to it, but I don’t think so. So it’s real simple. I didn’t resign because I’m not willing to fight. But I’ve got forum here to do that, and if the other castmates of mine are going to be not happy and uncomfortable with whatever they think might happen, then it doesn’t make any sense to be there anyway. So that’s it.