This past week a great voice of conservatism was silenced as Rush Limbaugh succumbed to lung cancer.
Over the past week, much has been written and said about the life and legacy of Rush Limbaugh; the fact he revitalized the declining genre of talk radio, galvanized the conservative message, gathered together the largest daily radio audience in history with his dedicated "Dittoheads" who listened to Rush each and every day, and how he constantly reminded us his first job was to keep the show entertaining. Those of us who go back decades with Rush certainly remember Paul Shanklin's parodies.
More than anything else, Rush informed. With "talent on loan from God" (Rush believed all of us had some natural talent on loan from the Almighty we could and should tap into to benefit ourselves and others), Rush was able to coalesce conservativism and explain it to his audience, winning converts, opening the eyes of those who were conservative, but voting against their own self-interests, and helping those of us who were conservative with talking points to evangelize the message of conservatism and speak to the folly of liberalism.
For his boldness, Rush was constantly maligned by the left. They tried to cancel him before "Cancel Culture" would become the de facto left-winged tactic. When Rush tried to become a commentator for the NFL, the left made sure his tenure was short, as was his attempt to become a co-owner of the St. Louis Rams. But Rush didn't dwell on either snub too long.
Rush had his private personal struggles, but they were struggles that he brought us in to, because he considered his listeners his family. We went through his battles with addiction and his hearing loss with him. The compassionate left still mocks Rush for these struggles, but he was never shy about them, hoping his experience would give courage and strength to others fighting their own private battles.
Rush was so influential that many of us remember the first time we heard him. For me it was in high school, sitting in my step-father's car running errands. He had Rush on the radio. My political beliefs were already well formed, but this guy on the radio was speaking about my beliefs in a way I had never heard. I was in school when his radio program aired each day, so I stayed up late to watch his far too short lived television show. I bought and read his books. I listened. I learned. I didn't always agree, but even in those very rare times I didn't see things the way Rush did, I always understood his arguments and analysis.
I never met Rush, but once I actually got through and was in the line-up to speak to El-Rushbo. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay on the line. I also was once mentioned on the Rush Limbaugh Show, but it was when Erick Erickson was sitting behind the Golden EIB Microphone.
Rush may be gone, but he will live on. He will live on in the lessons, his writings (the Rush Revere series of books sits on my children's book shelves), and in how he helped many of us to refine our voice, if not outright find it.
During World War II, in the darkest days of Winston Churchill's tenure as Prime Minister, it was said later by President John F. Kennedy that Churchill's ability to weave together words to inspire and uplift the British people and the British nation "mobilized the English language and sent it into battle."
Rush Limbaugh did the same thing with the English language and the message of conservatism and patriotism. He mobilized it and sent it into a campaign to change our nation, taking up the mantle left by Ronald Reagan to encourage, inspire, and uplift conservatives during the years of Bill Clinton, through the Republican Revolution of 1994, Bush v. Gore, and so many other struggles, reforms, victories and loses, for over 30 years, Rush was there.
We have lost so many this past year even in our own Cobb County Republican Party due to cancer; Bette Tempest, Phyllis Slaght, and Fairuz Rafique, who also died of stage 4 lung cancer, which is what took Rush as well.
Now, as of this week, his talent is no longer on loan from God, and Rush is no longer on loan to us as well. Rush's battle is over. His struggles have ended and he is no longer suffering. For us, the work still goes on. Rush has given us a model. He spent 30 years teaching us to find our voice. At some point, it is always necessary for the student to leave the instruction of the teacher and to teach others what was taught to them.
As Rush always said, we all have talent that is on loan from God. It is time for all of us to find that talent within ourselves and continue to spread the message of freedom, liberty, individualism, prosperity, and most importantly, the special place of greatness that the United States of America occupies in the long history of the world, the message that Rush spoke about each and every day.
If we do that, if we continue to use our talents to spread the message of America's greatness like Rush did, then when all is said and done, we will be Rush's lasting legacy.