One of These Things Is Not Like the Others: Rush Limbaugh and the Presidential Medal Of Freedom

By Olivia Pan ’20
Chief Opinions Editor

Radio host, Rush Limbaugh, was recently, and quite undeservedly, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Mr. Trump. It seems that this administration has created a whole new low bar for what constitutes heroism and outstanding citizenship. Recently, we had Edward R. Gallagher, the disgraced Navy Seal, who is nothing more than a war criminal, receiving the President’s intervention to keep his standing in this elite branch of the military. Now we have racist, misogynistic, homophobic, former drug addict, and hypocrite Rush Limbaugh receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s like our leader has decided Webster’s definition of heroism is all wrong.

Limbaugh recently took a series of homophobic digs at Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, who’s openly gay and married. On February 12th and 16th, Limbaugh discussed a kiss that was publicly exchanged between Buttigieg and his husband. According to the New York Daily News, Limbaugh is quoted as saying, “A gay guy, 37 years old, loves kissing his husband on debate stages. Can you see Trump have fun with that?” Limbaugh continued, “America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president.” Buttigieg responded to Limbaugh’s comments, stating, “Well, I love my husband. I’m faithful to my husband,” continuing, “On stage we usually just go for a hug. But I love him very much, and I’m not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.” Nor should he. 

Photo courtesy of the guardian.com

I guess homophobia gets you a Presidential Medal of Freedom these days. And I suppose, in Rush Limbaugh’s eyes, it’s better to elect a president who makes disgusting and degrading remarks about women, and who’s been accused of sexual harassment and/or assault by twenty-four women to date, than to witness real respect and love in a marriage between two gay people. I suppose it’s better to elect a president who advocates for sexual assault, and who implies that only attractive women can be raped. I only have two words to say to Mr. Limbaugh: STOP TALKING. Well, I have other words, but we can’t put those in print. The fact that this individual was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award whose past recipients include Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr. is not only disgraceful, but insulting to those past recipients. It also seriously brings to mind the old Sesame street song that goes, “One of these things is not like the others.” A Sesame street child fan could figure this one out.

Limbaugh is the same individual who once said, “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society” as well as “The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.” Is this really the best we could find to award this prestigious honor to? Was everybody else deserving of this honor out of town? This administration is not lowering the bar bit by bit, but is ripping higher standards to shreds. Who should we reward this Medal to next after Rush? How about Wendy Williams? Didn’t she just openly offend those with disfigurements and a plethora of other groups from gay men to a murder victim? MLK is rolling over in his grave. We can and must do better. 

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