Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke and The Weirdness of It All

This is not a defense of what Rush Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke. But it is my 3rd attempt to write on this event.

What I want is for us to think about this scenario without all the sloganeering and the self-righteous grandstanding, which is so easy. It’s really what we need to do, we just never really take the time to do it. Most of us – liberal and conservative – hear a particular narrative and then ride it till the next event happens. For all the diverse voices the new media has brought us, we still tend to imbibe the conventional wisdom as heartily as ever.

My guess is we feel the need to have an opinion on everything so as to be informed and just like my kids we need to have an opinion on it early. We have to be first.

Hopefully, I’ve waited long enough to at least escape this criticism.

I did cringe when I heard what Rush said. But probably not for the reason you think. My first thought was about how this woman will continue to be a pawn. And now she will be a pawn/martyr as the one insulted by Rush Limbaugh.

If you step back and think about it all, it’s just weird. Really, really weird.

And I don’t think you have to be a fan of Limbaugh to see this.

Let’s go back. Sandra Fluke, a 30 year-old law student at a Georgetown University testified during a House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee meeting about the lack of contraception available for female students. The Catholic University does not pay for contraception in it’s insurance plans for students or teachers. So she is testifying about her support for the current Obama administration’s plan to force religious institutions to pay for health insurance and so, contraception. She wants to have consequence-free sex and not pay for it but have the government force the religious institution she voluntarily joined, to pay for it. She has to have sex but can’t afford the contraception which would keep her from getting pregnant.

Rush Limbaugh asked his audience if that make’s her a slut or a prostitute. And he asked the question with the expectation of an answer in the affirmative.

Strategically, it was dumb question and it was unkind. He has since apologized.

OK OK, but I have a question –

Can we criticize her behavior on no other level than the level of governmental policy?

I mean, she voluntarily got on TV to talk about how she wants others to pay for her sex life. The fact that she wants our federal Government to force a religious institution to pay for something which would violate it’s convictions is abhorrent. (And it’s abhorrent for a number of a reasons, not the least of which is a government that has the power to force a religious institution to provide contraception can also force contraception on it’s people.)

But that’s just evil, not weird. What’s weird is we now have no negative words to describe the behavior of a Sandra Fluke. Has anyone stopped to think about how weird it is that everyone is morally outraged about what Rush said in the context of what she is asking us to do for her?

(Now is probably a good time to remind you that I am not defending Limbaugh.)

Please tell me, readers, this is weird to you. We aren’t talking about a Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter here. We are talking about a woman who wanted this fight. She wanted to make her sexuality a public issue. She sought out this confrontation. She is a self-avowed activist.

So Rush insinuated…said she was being a slut. A prostitute. It may not be the kindest thing to say. It may not be kind at all. It may be the very opposite. But is this worse than requesting the federal government to force someone to provide something they think is wrong so you can do something they think is wrong, while you are a student (voluntarily) at their institution?

Isn’t it just a little weird that no one is asking her to apologize for that?

Isn’t it weird that Limbaugh is being excoriated for exercising his First Amendment rights while the subject of his speech is lobbying to take away the First Amendment rights of the religious institution’s in question?

Just a little weird?