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Playing the Rush Drug Addict Game

by Rachel Mills Thursday, Nov. 13, 2003 at 1:12 PM

Rush must realize the implications for what he espouses, so every time you hear the phrase "drug addict" use "Rush Limbaugh" instead: "When drugs come into our neighborhoods, violence follows and thugs and criminals like Rush Limbaugh dominate our streets"


Playing the Rush Drug Addict Game
Rachel Mills, Up & Coming Magazine, November 12, 2003

Here's a fun game. Every time a Drug Warrior uses the phrase "drug addict," replace it with the name of their favorite hero, Rush Limbaugh, and see if they'd still agree with the statement.

Here's one from a Republican Drug Warrior, Vermont Governor James Douglas, from his budget message speech on January 23, 2003.

He said: "More than anything, these drugs threaten our way of life. All the values that make Vermonters great - our independence, thrift, work ethic, and community spirit are endangered when drugs command our bodies. Addicts are not independent; they are dependent; they are not prudent in their finances, only concerned with funding their destructive habits; they are not industrious, but unproductive. When drugs come into our neighborhoods, violence follows and thugs and criminals dominate our streets."

Translated: "More than anything, these drugs threaten our way of life. All the values that make Vermonters great - our independence, thrift, work ethic, and community spirit are endangered when drugs command our bodies. Rush Limbaugh is not independent; Rush is dependent; Rush is not prudent in his finances, only concerned with funding his destructive habits; Rush is not industrious, Rush is unproductive. When drugs come into our neighborhoods, violence follows and thugs and criminals like Rush Limbaugh dominate our streets."

See what I mean? Do you agree with that statement? I don't. I call it egregious stereotyping and generalization. I invite you to find more statements and run them through this translator.

Rush himself made statements in 1995 on his TV show demanding we come down harder on not only dealers, but addicts and users, too.

He said they should all be "sent up," and that too many whites were getting away with drug violations. But now a pass is given to him in that the investigations surrounding him most likely won't turn into criminal charges. The police are more interested in the dealers. To not be a hypocrite, Rush needs to volunteer to be "sent up." Given his past no-shade-of-gray pontifications and present public confessions, his freedom is inexcusable.

Yes, he was self-medicating. And he was functioning at a level most of us will only dream of. After "treatment," he will attempt to function at the same level with no medication for what appears to be debilitating back and neck pain. What will they give him - acupuncture? Self-hypnosis? Will he be sucking down Advils to the point of liver failure?

What if he can't sit in front of the golden microphone for the full three hours now? Will we hear Rush end shows abruptly some days just to go lay down? My heart aches for him. It really does.

But to be fair and to make an example of him, he should be sent to prison. In fact, he should volunteer, if not charged. We have, I believe, a taped confession, so evidence is no problem for the prosecution. Go for it! He should go willingly, pain untreated, to writhe in agony for a mandatory minimum sentence, like the rest of us without political friends, at the mercy of the pundits and moralizers.

Do I want to see Rush suffer? Am I hateful and uncompassionate? Emphatically no. But what I do want is for Drug Warriors to be subject to the same scrutiny they impose on others. Fairness.

I want Rush, a person with intellectual access to more people, arguably than any other political analyst, to witness first-hand what the implications are for what he espouses; that lack of understanding for others, limiting the freedom of others, can also mean prison for you.

I want him to go to prison, have all his assets forfeited, be taken away from his family and career for 5-10 years, and then after he's paid his "debt," never be able to vote or own a firearm again because he's a convicted felon.

Is it so much to ask for seeking relief from excruciating pain? I only ask what he and the other drug warriors he stands behind demand of the unwashed and faceless masses that suffer under these policies every day.

Look at prison statistics. Look how mandatory minimums overcrowd our prisons with non-violent drug offenders while rapists and murderers are sent back out onto the streets. Look beyond "Drugs are bad, okay?" to the implications and unintended consequence. Because that is what Rush ultimately and tragically represents here -- a Big Fat Unintended Consequence.

I want the conservatives to finally say: Rush wasn't hurting anybody with what he put in his own body. He shouldn't be punished.

When they begin to say that for Rush, but not for everyone else, maybe then their Prohibitionist hysteria will be laughed out of Congress and we will again be the land of the free and the home of the brave, where not only are you assumed to be responsible enough to keep your money and feed and clothe your own kids, but decide what medications to take without a by-your-leave from the government.
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