Liz A. Stratton is the host of Spare Me!, a daytime talk show, and the Presidential Candidate for the Women’s Action Party. (She’s also fictional, but don’t tell her that!)
Follow Liz’s adventures in the novel Liz A. Stratton Closes the Store, and keep watching this blog for Liz’s posts (they will be listed in the sidebar).
It should be no surprise that Rush Limbaugh is my nemesis. That I hate him and all he stands for with every inch of me. That 90% of the sputum that flies from his lips makes my hair stand on end. That should go without saying.
Mostly, however, I can ignore him. Mostly, his hate-filled speech rolls of my back like greasy oil of his head.
But not this week.
The healthcare debate has taken a strange turn lately. The threat of crossing the beams of church and state (usually dismissed by the likes of Limbaugh) has derailed the process of insuring the American people because of birth control. Rush is just the pinnacle of a great mountain of stupidity surrounding the debate up to now.
Ms. Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University (a Jesuit university), was denied in a request to testify at a congressional hearing about how the government should make insurers cover birth control. She did testify at an unofficial hearing held by Democrats where she declared first that the university's lack of birth control coverage was harmful, and second that she, herself, used birth control.
On February 29, Limbaugh said on his show, "What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex"(1 ).
If that weren't enough, he then said, "If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I'll tell you what it is: We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch" (2 ).
Four days later he " publicly apologizes ."
My favorite part of his apology was this: "I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke."
So, was this attack aimed at all women who would like to control their rates of reproduction and have this treated like the health condition it is and have it covered as such in their health insurance?
All of those women are sluts and prostitutes, too, and he wants us to post our sex lives on YouTube? I have half a mind to call on all women to do so. And every lady who hypothetically might do this should hypothetically send Rush a bill for the "service."
Rush has successfully taken this debate out of the sphere of whether the government should force institutions to pay for insurance which covers medical treatments like birth control which are counter to their religious inclinations, and transported it all the way back to the original debate about birth control: should women have sex before they get married, and should they be able to control when they have children whether married or not?
A recent New York Times article revealed that half of the women under 30 years old who have children have them out of wedlock. Some conservatives have pointed to this statistic as an indicator of our decent into the pit of moral anarchy. However, no matter how I chew on this statistic, I can't help but think that more available birth control could do nothing but decrease the number of out-of-wedlock births.
As of this writing, 26 advertisers have abandoned Rush's show. I hope the rest follow.
The First Amendment protects free speech like Rush's from legal repercussions within limits that he often tests. The First Amendment does not protect him from social backlash. I say we backlash that asshole until he dries up and blows away in the wind.
Liz A. Stratton