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Their View: After Rush Limbaugh, America struggles with how to unite and if unity is even possible
Rush and us:

Their View: After Rush Limbaugh, America struggles with how to unite and if unity is even possible

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In this file photo, U.S. radio talk show host and conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh looks on before introducing then-U.S. President Donald Trump to deliver remarks at a Make America Great Again rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in 2018.

Dead at the age of 70 is the talented, tenacious and tremendously influential voice that more than any other built conservative talk radio. We don’t enjoy speaking ill of the recently deceased. May Rush Limbaugh, who suffered the ravages of lung cancer, rest in peace.

But neither on this day or any day can the nation turn away from what Limbaugh represented — and the new American political climate he more than anyone else helped usher in.

It is a climate in which “they,” which is to say one’s political opponents, are enemies seeking to profoundly alter the character of the country. In which Black men who play professional sports are “thugs” and gang members, and in which feminism was only invented “to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society.”

In which facts don’t just take a backseat to narrative and innuendo and conspiracy-minded thinking; they’re locked in the trunk. In which responsible reporting, carefully sourced, is reflexively distrusted and discarded. In which even politicians on one’s own side of the aisle are tested for their fealty and punished for the slightest deviation from dogma. In which good old ordinary Americans and their God and their guns are being endlessly threatened by the left-leaning pundit class.

Without Limbaugh and the many who tried to run a version of his playbook on radio and television, the four-year term of Donald Trump never would have been possible. Without Limbaugh, the all-consuming sense of victimhood that still animates so many Americans who thrall to the sound of Trump’s voice could never have found full flower.

President Joe Biden has set about to try to move this diverse and divided nation toward unity, which is to say to find the common ground on which we all stand as Americans and plant lasting seeds of progress in that soil.

As much as there is to admire in the goal, it is likely naive given how entrenched in our corners and suspicious of our countrymen we have become. Rush Limbaugh didn’t create those rifts, but he turned widening them into an art form.

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When Sen. Jesse Helms finally expired, Gail Collins of the New York Times wrote that when an old warhorse dies the temptation is to honor their longevity, or their commitment to a cause, however ignoble it might be. In case of Rush Limbaugh, let us avoid that temptation.

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