By Merrill Lynn Hansen
I don't know what they're serving at Rush Limbaugh's house for dinner, but I'm glad I'm not invited.
I recently watched a video of a Rush Limbaugh rant about how patriotic Americans should deal with COVID-19. When I'd last heard Rush talk about COVID-19 in March, he said it was just a "common cold" (which is as ridiculous as if I’d said that his lung cancer was just sinus drainage). But, in his July 15th rant, Rush was proclaiming COVID-19 to be America's enemy, and he accused Americans of cowering and being fearful. According to Rush, "So much of the way we are dealing with this [the virus] is unprecedented — and it’s un-American. It’s nothing compared to the way we have overcome enemies and obstacles in our past.”
As a shining example of his idea of American courage, Rush referred to the Donner Party, a group of pioneers who in 1847 made the mistake of trying to get to California over the Sierra Nevada mountain range, in the middle of winter. They got stranded and resorted to cannibalism to survive. But, said Rush, "they didn't complain about it, because there was nothing they could do. They had to adapt. This is what’s missing. There seems to be no concept of adaptation." (Rush forgot to mention that the Donner Party got stranded, because they followed the advice of an unscrupulous trail guide, who went on ahead with another party, and promised he would mark the trail for them, and didn't. He didn't even know the trail.)
Despite what Rush says, I am an American patriot. But the truth is, I don't adapt well. The Donner Party didn't complain about the weather being cold. They adapted. I always complain when it's cold outside (or when it's hot, raining or snowing). If I were stranded outside with friends in the middle of winter, without any food, unlike the Donner Party, I wouldn't pull out a recipe book to see how to roast them over a campfire and pretend they're some-mores. I would probably complain about being cold and hungry. I might even cry, which according to Rush, is not only unpatriotic, it's wimpy (a liberal thing). But, while Rush might think I'm a liberal wimp, it is my liberal sensibility that makes me certain I would not have trusted an unscrupulous leader who bragged that he was the best trail guide. ("I have the world's greatest memory, and nobody knows this trail better than I do.")
I was so surprised about what Rush said, I contacted all two of my Republican friends, who normally embrace Rush's every thought, and repeat them on their Facebook pages and other social networks, as if his words are their own. "So, do you still think TAKING a knee during the National Anthem is un-American?” I asked. "Absolutely,” they both replied. "How about EATING a knee?” I asked. They both stiffened up. "Rush said we should adapt the way the Donner Party adapted --and if we're stranded in this unknown pandemic wilderness, we should do what the Donner party did, and eat each other." Neither of them spoke. In fact, they looked a little queasy. "What's wrong?” I asked. "Not hungry?" Apparently, even Republicans can be wimps.
But, Rush, who was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Trump for having said that “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society,” is now the self-proclaimed poster boy for the new American way--the Donner Party way. Rather than advising us how to protect ourselves from unmasked crowds of people spreading a highly contagious and relentless life-threatening disease, Rush wants us to embrace the notion that eating flesh is virtuous and builds good character. He says that "Life has to go on. Life is to be lived” --presumably in-between meals.
Merrill Hansen is a legal assistant, living in West Bloomfield, Michigan. She describes herself as a frustrated writer, who wishes she could be Nora Ephron (when she was alive), if only for a day. She is a news-, political- and FB-junkie, a combination that requires a constant reminder that she needs to take deep cleansing breaths when responding to people who don't agree with her.