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Rush Limbaugh’s Effect On My Marriage

The world just learned of the passing of Rush Limbaugh, dead at the age of 70 following his battle with lung cancer. I’m not dancing but if I’m honest, I am mildly celebrating. My thoughts are similar to when Falwell died: the world is better off. I do feel badly for his family and friends. But make no mistake, he was awful and gets no gloss-over in death from me.

My ex-wife discovered “The Rush Limbaugh Show” in the late 1980’s. She became a ditto-head (as fans often called themselves), and listened to his radio program nearly every day. As time went on, she began recording his radio program onto cassette tapes. Over the course of several years, she accumulated towering stacks of cassettes in the laundry room.

To this day, I wonder if she still has them. She was definitely not one to throw things away.

Looking back, I know that Rush Limbaugh had a definite effect on my wife, and it wasn’t a good one. His conservative talk show spewed conspiracy theories and hatred towards a long laundry list of topics. I listened to his show off and on for a year or two. And on the days when I was home for lunch, my ex-wife often had it playing during the mid day hours. He was compelling, confident and authoritative. And usually entertaining. But he was a ginormous asshole too.

There’s a documentary called The Brainwashing of My Dad that I watched recently on Amazon. The author shares the story about the radical change of her once Democratic father who turned into an angry right-wing fanatic thanks to his immersion in talk radio and Fox News. It’s a fascinating piece and I found myself nodding with understanding.

My ex-wife was never democratic, but she did turn into an angry right-wing fanatic. Rush Limbaugh’s radio program excelled at making people angry, and my wife admitted to me that she liked being angry. It became her drug of choice.

I’m not here to say that Rush Limbaugh destroyed my first marriage. I chose to end my marriage for a variety of reasons, but I am certain that Limbaugh had a negative effect on my wife. When you have an ass-hat like Limbaugh spewing his hateful rhetoric for 2 – 3 hours a day to attentive listeners, it’s bound to leave a lasting impact.

On a positive note, I have also come to realize that his conspiracy theory shit helped me to develop and exercise critical thinking skills over time. Becoming skeptical about right-wing propaganda made it easier for me to leave the faith in my late 40’s. So for that, I’m thankful.  But I do not mourn his passing.



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