by McKayle Davison
When Rush Limbaugh opens his mouth, often, I do my best to ignore him. I usually feel that his rants don’t merit a response, but his most recent comments are too petty and ridiculous to overlook. The ultra-conservative talk radio personality accused actor Michael J. Fox of exaggerating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in a campaign ad for Democrat Claire McCaskill, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Missouri. Fox appeared in the ad because of McCaskill’s support for stem cell research, which could lead to a cure for Parkinson’s. As he spoke, Fox swayed back and forth violently, resulting in Limbaugh saying that “And it's purely an act.… This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting." (For more background on this check coverage in "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times." You can also hear selections from The Rush Limbaugh Show, posted at Media Matters for America.)
In the years since Fox announced that he was suffering from Parkinson’s, he has made several public appearances, tremors and all, to show his support for research efforts. He has been very outspoken and frank about what Parkinson’s means to his life, even if it means appearing vulnerable. Anyone who has seen Fox in the past ten years or so is aware of the tremors and spasms that now rule his life. It makes sense that these tremors would worsen as the disease progresses.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Limbaugh would stoop this low, considering his past record of offensive and off-base remarks. I should be grateful that I only have to hear about him when he says something absurd. Of course, Limbaugh was also in the news when he, somewhat admirably, owned up to a pain-killer addiction. I just never thought he would resort to picking on people with grave illnesses to promote his own agenda. While he is certainly entitled to his opinion, I can’t help but think that if Fox had appeared in an ad for a Republican candidate, Limbaugh would be singing his praises.
I think the issue is not that Limbaugh had a problem with the ad. He is obviously not a proponent of stem cell research, and that is certainly his right. He could have talked a little about why he disagreed with the ad’s message, or why McCaskill’s opponent may do a better job. But Limbaugh didn’t take a stand. He tried to take the easy way out by undercutting the credibility of a man who had the courage to fight for his beliefs. I just look forward to the time when this all goes away and I can spend a few blissful months forgetting about Rush Limbaugh.
(The photo of Rush Limbaugh is his mug shot from an arrest in Florida obtained via the website The Smoking Gun.)
(To see the original ad, please see below. For a response ad with other celebrities, click here.)
Michael J. Fox
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