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Driving back and forth across my homeland, the American South, doing my best to be a good family member and to give and receive love from those most important to me – my two wonderful kids, my brother and his family, and my dad who is dying of Alzheimer’s. During this long drive, I’ve had a tremendous opportunity to listen to the radio this week.

And the radio is shocking and appalling.

And it is no longer just the American South. Radio is now a national crisis and disgrace.

Driving through Alabama this morning, I heard Glenn Beck – who was too rightwing even for Fox News – followed back to back by Rush Limbaugh.

This was not the kind of little AM stations they used to be confined to. This was a huge station that reached at least two-thirds of the Alabama population and a sizeable chunk of the Mississippi population.

When people get their news, their perspective, their personal talking points from such rightwing crazies, how could we ever expect them to see who’s really taking their money and why they work so hard for so little – and why there is a HARDENING HATRED in America.

I well remember when radical rightwing racist Republicans figured out their two message strategy in Georgia. It was in the mid-1990′s when they saw that racist ads on tv cost them votes because of backlash, but racist ads on radio only helped their turnout so they began to run completely different campaign messages on radio and tv.

Today El Rushmo as Limbaugh calls himself was spouting that government or “welfare” dependency (never mind there is no welfare anymore) is taught by parents to children to pass on generations of laziness.

Can you imagine how absurd?

El Rushturd was also saying that undocumented workers should be called unregistered Democrats, because that is the only reason for immigration reform.

Can we afford to cede an entire medium to the most hate-filled racists since George Wallace and Orval Faubus stood in the schoolhouse doors?

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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.
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