March 3rd, 2012

An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh

March 3rd is International Sex Worker Rights Day. My post in honor of it is combined with a few other things I want to address and is in the form of an open letter to Rush Limbaugh.

Dear Mr. Limbaugh:

From what I have interpreted in the last week, it seems you do not like the idea of birth control being funded by health insurance companies. It further appears that you found it appropriate to speculate about the personal life of an individual who disagrees with you about that and spoke about it before members of Congress.

Do you have health insurance, Rush? Would it be safe to say that you feel you should be able to eat all the french fries you want and that your insurance should still pay for treatment for you were you to develop heart disease (I certainly do not wish this on you or anyone), and that if you did happen to experience a heart attack, insurance should pay for your medical care during and after that as well? If so, we are on the same page.

If not, then for whatever reason, we do appear to disagree. Not that I would describe the above situation as taxpayers being asked to satisfy the eating habits of radio personalities, but if we are going to have a system of health insurance, it seems appropriate to me that it should cover the health care needs of the people it insures—even if those health care needs seem influenced by the lifestyle choices the holders of it, citizens of a free and democratic republic, make.

You mentioned that you felt that Sandra Fluke, who spoke before a congressional forum about contraceptive coverage in relation to health insurance, was a “slut” and a “prostitute” because she she feels birth control pills should be covered by health insurance. “Slut,” of course, is a subjective term—since it seems to me it has no actual definition, it would be hard to claim it to be slanderous. Furthermore, some of us don’t see it as a denigrating label. You could call me a slut, for example, until you’re blue in the face, and it wouldn’t disquiet me in the least because I simply don’t perceive the word as an insult.

Similarly, I don’t see labeling someone a prostitute as an insult. In the case of that word, it does refer to an actual job, so the label could be incorrect. Claiming that I am a prostitute at this time, for example, would be incorrect, but it would hold about as much power to insult me as claiming I am an accountant. Both are erroneous, but I certainly don’t take offense to either.

Because we have ignorant, puritanical, and inappropriate laws in this country about it, however, prostitution is illegal. So stating that someone works as a prostitute is claiming that person does something illegal. Thus that, if not true, is slanderous. I wish Ms. Fluke all the best in introducing legal action against you as such should she choose to.

Probably you didn’t know that today, March 3rd, is International Sex Worker Rights Day. One of the things supporting that means to me is advocating for the decriminalization of prostitution so that one day what you said about Ms. Fluke would not be slanderous because 1) it wouldn’t be accusing someone of doing something illegal, and 2) the ignorance and judgment of collective society would have subsided so that what you said would not even be perceived as an insult.

Of course, the energy with which you said it would probably still make it an unsavory thing to say. It wasn’t the words but the judgmental and disrespectful energy with which it was said, the relatively unconscious place from which it came, that made it so unfortunate.

To be frank, it would seem to me that one who underwent what became a public challenge with substance addiction as you did would have developed more empathy both for the basic struggles of your fellow humans and also for those whose personal business is intruded upon by a culture that seems to find it okay to do so to those considered famous or public figures. Why that didn’t appear to happen, I don’t know, but it seems doubly sorrowful to me because I suspect it means you are suffering all the more in order to close your heart off to the natural development of empathy.

I don’t doubt that you struggle a lot. Anyone who treats others with the degree of vitriol and contempt I have observed in you almost certainly feels those things toward oneself, whether it is realized consciously or not. I wish you all the best with the struggles and challenges you experience. In truth, it is not actually hard for me to do so—I recognize that we are ultimately all one, and even when I feel enormous frustration with what I perceive to be the ignorance or unconsciousness someone displays, I am still aware that there is something much bigger than that.

The truth is, Rush, I suspect that someday you will perceive and feel true regret for the degree to which you’ve treated your fellow human beings with disrespect. It may be on your deathbed, perhaps before. Or, perhaps it will not happen at all. I just suspect it will. I don’t want to intrude on your process, so I beg your pardon for saying that; it is not for me to speculate, really. It’s just something that has occurred to me as I have observed this situation. Remembering that reminds me of the compassion I feel for you, as true compassion (which I feel we all have the intrinsic capacity for, whether we recognize it or not) is compassion for everyone—it’s indivisible.

I wish you all the best, and indeed I do plan to continue to have as much sex as I want, with however many partners as I want, as often as I want. That happens to not be the reason doctors have recommended birth control pills as part of my health care, but it is a choice I make just like many citizens who choose to eat french fries and still receive health care for heart and other diseases. As long as I work for or pay for health insurance, I expect it to cover my health care needs to the same degree it does the rest of the citizenry, regardless of what my employer finds appropriate.

Sincerely,
Emily McCay
aka Emerald

Tell your leaders love’s in town, to turn this whole thing upside down, yeah, we can’t take it anymore…
-LIVE “Transmit Your Love”

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33 Responses “An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh”

  1. This is so eloquent and thoughtful, Em. You have a beautiful and gentle spirit. I am in awe.

  2. Erobintica says:

    It’s so nice to see someone NOT throw the vitriol right back at him. As is said – be the change you want to see in the world. Thanks for this, Em.

  3. pax romano says:

    Bravo!

  4. A very inspiring and healing response to an ugly deed. I definitely am taking this resurgence in anti-women rhetoric personally, but your letter helped me find a place of calm and perspective. Limbaugh is certainly not aware that his anger and hatred affects everything in his life, but it’s very true.

  5. Tears, Ms. McCay. I am brought to tears by the compassionate beauty of the thoughts laid out here.

  6. Emerald says:

    Hi everybody, and thank you so much.

    Kristina, thank you—I feel deeply humbled by that.

    Thank you Robin. I appreciate that much.

    Thank you Pax, and welcome. :)

    I hear you, Donna (on all of that). Thank you and hugs.

    Welcome, Erin, and thank you so much—I am truly honored by that.

    I appreciate very much all of your comments, and thank you for reading. Xoxoxo, Em

  7. ste says:

    Like Kristina said, eloquent and thoughtful… and dignified too. That was great to read, Emerald.

  8. Emerald says:

    Thank you, ste. Xoxoxo

  9. I know I’m a bit late here, but I just want to add my appreciation for this post.

    Truly magnificent, and such a strong statement in its truth and spirit.

    It would be wonderful if he could read this and understand.

  10. Emerald says:

    Craig, hi! I just came from your blog! :)

    Thank you so much, and of course it’s lovely to see you here. I appreciate your reading, and your comment. Xoxox

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