I wanted to share this as a diary. Not sure whether this is appropriate, but I wanted to make a more public statement. I thank kossacks angelajean, whose excellent diary and letter inspired me to write, as well as kossack antonrobb, whose excellent letter also provided inspiration. I'm sure you'll see elements of their correspondence (if not entire sentences or paragraphs that I could not have written as well as they did) in my letter to my congressman.
I don't write my elected officials very often. Probably not often enough. Maybe it's because I don't give a rip about most of the crap they do. Maybe I've been beaten down enough that I don't think I can make a difference. I guess that's probably a common thing. More below the fleur-de-kos...
So I don't write often. But today, I penned a quick note (thanks to the above kossacks who provided inspiration and text) to my congressman - the retiring Dale Kildee.
A little context - I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. I make my living here. We've been a favorite target of Limbaugh and pretty much everyone else on the right. And I thought it'd be a delicious bit of irony if our own congressman could be the one leading the charge against Rush, striking a blow for us on the way out. Could be too much to ask. I don't know.
Anyhow, the text of my letter to the esteemed Dale E. Kildee (D-MI).
Dear Congressman Kildee:
First, let me begin by thanking you for your service to our district over the years. It has been my honor to volunteer for your campaign in the past and it goes without saying that your district will miss having an experienced public servant representing us.
I am writing today with great concern regarding the Armed Forces Network. I write to you as a husband and a father of a young girl, and I was greatly offended (and not for the first time) by the recent comments by Rush Limbaugh, whose broadcasts are carried on the Armed Forces Radio Network.
Mr. Limbaugh has a well established track record of peddling hate speech on his broadcasts, and has frequently found himself at the center of controversy. That is by design,and there are obviously quite a few people who love listening to his show. I will keep my opinion on that, as well as his regular listeners, to myself.
However, where I draw the line is the fact that my tax dollars are being used to subsidize his hate speech. I am not upset that there is a conservative show being broadcast on the Armed Forces Network. I am upset that funds are being used to line the pockets of a radio host who has conducted himself in the most reprehensible manner, and has done so with impunity.
Forget for a moment the recent comment, where Mr. Limbaugh referred to a college student as a "slut" and suggested women who wanted contraception should put videos online - go back to when he joked about Chelsea Clinton being the White House dog. Or when he mentioned on his program that Amy Carter was "the most unattractive presidential daughter in the history of the country".
I could take more time but I am certain that if you haven't tuned Limbaugh out, as many people have, you are aware of many more examples.
Speech such as this has no place in respectable public debate. While there has been a marked decline in civility recently (thanks to people such as Mr. Limbaugh), we should not have to subsidize hate speech.
While the Armed Forces Network has a long, proud tradition of uncensored access to political debate, the speech voiced by Mr. Limbaugh goes beyond the pale. And it is hardly the first time that Mr. Limbaugh has conducted himself in an unacceptable manner.
What he is doing is not political debate - Rush Limbaugh engages in personal diatribes against whole classifications of people. Whether he picks his target by gender, or by race, Mr. Limbaugh is certain to unleash his vitriol in a most inappropriate manner.
And sure enough, when he turned his attention to Sandra Fluke, Mr. Limbaugh made more than 50 false or slanderous comments about Ms. Fluke in a three-day period.
And again, this is hardly a first-time occurrence.
I am asking you to strongly (and formally) urge Defense Secretary Panetta to advocate for the removal of Rush Limbaugh's broadcast from Armed Services Radio. I find it disgusting that my tax money is being used to pay for this programming and worse, that is is being delivered to those serving in harm's way.
I am not advocating censorship mind you. People have a right to tune into his show if they so choose (and the market provides for his show to continue). But it is a travesty that all Americans should be paying to infect the minds of our troops overseas with such diseased discourse.
I appreciate your time in considering my letter. I can only imagine the pride of my friends in the Flint area if it was our congressman who led the charge to strike a blow against the hate speech spouted by a man who once said on his show that our town should be bulldozed.