February 10, 2020
Laura Ainsworth, Staff Writer
I’ve had a couple of days now to process your news, and have decided it would be a good thing to write to you. As a writer/researcher for Gov. Mike Huckabee, I thought I’d also post it on the Huckabee website (with his blessing) and share it with many others who have listened to you and loved you for years. Certainly a lot of your fans are the Gov’s fans, and vice versa.
President Trump’s triumphant State Of The Union Address has just ended, and I was so happy to see you sitting there with Melania, as were many millions of others who had tuned in. This was the most powerful, confident and upbeat SOTU speech I’ve ever watched, and actually being there in that room amidst all that unspoken seething drama must have been an amazing experience. The news that you would be receiving the Presidential Medal Of Freedom had come out earlier in the evening, but who knew that you would be sitting there in the box tonight, that the honor would apparently be a surprise to you, and that it would be bestowed on you right then, on the spot! I guess they must have somehow kept you away from news reports for just long enough.
How appropriate that you would be presented this honor. I had the tissues out, to be sure. Your life cannot be separated from the American history of the past few decades, as they are so closely interwoven. You’ve been instrumental in shaping the radio industry and modern politics, and in touching lives. I’ve been listening to you for a long time and have seen all those changes.
When my then-boyfriend-later-husband (Pat Reeder, who also writes for Gov. Huckabee) first turned on your show for me while we out driving around, I have to admit I groaned. You were in the middle of talking about feminism, and you happened to bring up one of your Undeniable Truths Of Life: that feminism existed to give unattractive women easier access to mainstream society. To me, that seemed more like a defense of feminism, though I couldn’t tell if you meant it that way. Unattractive women SHOULD have access to mainstream society, I reasoned, and if they don’t have it without feminism, then feminism is a good thing. But if you were going to be critical of feminism, did that mean you thought unattractive women should NOT have access? You see my quandry. So my introduction to you was not altogether positive.
But I kept listening and gradually learned that you had an amazing view of the political landscape. So much insight. As for feminism, I’ve always thought of myself as a feminist in the classical sense, believing I should just move forward in the world as it is, as a man would do, and live the life I want to pursue rather than be pressured into something that’s wrong for me. But I came to understand that you were talking mostly about the feminist MOVEMENT, and the feminist movement did betray me, with its laser-beam focus on “reproductive rights” (abortion on demand) and its insistence on having a lot of things both ways. (The inconsistency is even worse today, as can be seen when you juxtapose the “principles” of the #MeToo movement with J-Lo’s sexed-up “empowering” pole dance at the Super Bowl.)
Anyway, the point is, I haven’t always agreed with you, but most of the time, certainly on politics, you were spot-on. It was obvious that critics of your show either didn’t listen at all or didn’t listen enough to understand what you meant, to know when you were being tongue-in-cheek. So often, they didn’t get the joke. Leftists hardly ever get the joke.
Since my husband and I are comedy writers, we have especially appreciated the humor in your show. Looking back, it seems there used to be more of that than there has been in recent years. Maybe that’s just a reflection of the times we’re in right now. (Humor today is not for the faint of heart!) Still, over the years, the many fall-down-funny song parodies you featured inspired me to write more of them myself. Thank you so much for that!
I’m indebted to you in another way, Rush. About 15 years ago, I lost the hearing in my left ear after surgery for Meniere’s Disease. The vertigo attacks were gone, but I was deaf on that side, with loud tinnitus. As I am a singer, this has been extremely challenging to deal with. But when you became totally deaf in BOTH ears, you still managed to continue your career in RADIO, no less! I was stunned at your determination to keep at it and find a way not to give up the work that so many of us value and count on. If you could do that with total hearing loss, then maybe I could find ways to keep going with music, recording and even live performances. You have been such an inspiration to me in that way, and I did eventually find help. Thank you so much.
I also admire you for sticking to your guns when you were savaged, not just by leftists but by some conservatives, for supporting Trump in 2016. As President, he has proved his conservative critics wrong --- wow, he truly has governed as a conservative --- but you seemed to really understand his potential as a conservative leader before many others on the right did.
I hope you’ll be able to be at the Golden EIB Microphone most of the time during this crazy political year. When you need some time away, we’ll understand, wishing the very best for you and hoping you’ll be recovered from treatment and back soon. I think this year will pretty much determine the future of America, so please be here for us when you can, Rush.
You’ve always said you were “having more fun than any human being should be allowed to have.” How wonderful to lead such a rich life, doing exactly what you want, and create an amazing legacy while you’re at it.
Well, I guess that’s about all. I just wanted to say how much you mean to me and to so many, but in the process I realized that mere words don’t quite get there. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to meet you personally and shake your hand, so I’ll just imagine I’m shaking your hand now. (Pause for imaginary hand-shaking. Sorry, my hand is sweating a little.) Thanks for everything, Rush. Much love to you and yours.