Here's a few words I thought I'd never say: Rush Limbaugh posted something on Facebook recently that was genuinely honest and insightful. He wrote:
"Now that I've outgrown the 25-54 demographic, I'm no longer confident that the way I see the world is the way everybody else does. I've gotten old enough now that there are younger people, generationally(sic) younger, who have an entirely different view, an entirely different experience."
It's truly surprising to find someone who has gotten very wealthy off mean spirited, thinly veiled racist, sexist and homophobic attacks admit that his time has passed. While I wish it had happened sooner, I'm glad that it's happened and that he and other extremist right wing media figures will slide into irrelevancy.
|The face of reason, for once|
And no recent events confirm Limbaugh's prediction better than the two Supreme Court rulings that have just come down. First, on June 25th. Obamacare was once again spared in a 6-3 vote. This ruling was a bit surprising because many conservatives felt that Chief Justice John Roberts was going to "redeem" himself by gutting the same law that he voted to uphold in the first ruling on Obamacare years ago. Instead, not only did he vote for it but so did swing vote Justice Kennedy, making it not even close. The case was based literally on a typo in the bill that because of various legislative maneuvers in congress, could not be easily fixed. While the Supreme Court never should have heard this case in the first place, upholding the Affordable Care Act is a good thing. While some improvements clearly should be made to Obamacare, the fact of the matter is that millions of Americans now have healthcare because of it.
And the Obamacare ruling was followed by an even bigger decision: the US has now joined twenty two other countries in making gay marriage legal. This great blow for common sense equality is a stunning turn around for the country. It's amazing to think that just 11 years ago, with the Iraq war crumbling, George W Bush was sadly able to squeak out a reelection victory by using gay marriage as a wedge issue. And now the tide has turned, and a majority of the American public agree with the court's ruling. Conservatives can yell all they want, it's a new day of equality in America.
And then there's the Confederate flag; in the wake of the horrific shootings of 9 innocent people in South Carolina, the fact that the shooter Dylann Roof had pictures of himself holding the Confederate flag and posted a racist tirade online caused many politicians to reconsider the waving of a flag that, to many people, remains a symbol of bigotry. Surprisingly, even Republicans like South Carolina Govenor Nikki Haley and Senator Lindsay Graham have said that the flag should be taken down. This conversation is long overdue: although it's perfectly fine for someone to wave that flag on their own property, having it in front of government buildings sends an ugly message. Amazingly, the movement to remove it has been swift and overwhelming, with social media outlets swamping the state government, and even corporate groups like the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance support the removal. For years white southerners have argued that the flag is just a symbol of rebellion and pride, but that argument seems weak given Roof's and other white supremacists embrace of it. While I wish the tragic shooting could have resulted in some common sense gun control, if bringing down the flag springs from it, then at least there will be an important symbolic change. It's time for the South to admit the Civil War was about slavery and the right side won. And that was over a hundred years ago. Get over it.