You’re supposed to speak kindly about the dead? That’s what my grandmother told me. But she hated Rush Limbaugh as much as I did. So I’m guessing that the rule doesn’t apply now. How can you speak kindly about the dead when the deceased didn’t speak kindly about you?
Rush Limbaugh died, and it’s so easy to pile on. There is probably not one single person, over the course of my life, who I detested more. He never knew me. But I sure as hell knew him. Anyone with a shred of decency reviled the man. I’m not the most decent person in the world. I can admit to that. However, I knew in my heart I was gay, and Limbaugh came about during a time when there was enough humiliation about my sexuality and myself, and all Limbaugh did was pile on during that confusing time, and made me wonder, Why does he hate me so much?
Limbaugh was the biggest and worst windbag of his generation, which is to say that of this generation, Limbaugh was starting to take a backseat to the plethora of hatemongers who raced in behind him, all attempting to be the next Limbaugh. Alex Jones, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, the list goes on and on, all striving to vomit out as much hate as Limbaugh did. Limbaugh got sick. With lung cancer. It should have been brain cancer, since his mind was a sieve of slime. And his mind thought I was out of my mind because I was gay. All along, he was the one who was sick. It was never me.
Limbaugh hated me. There’s no question about that, and he’s hated me since he first opened his big mouth to vomit vile venom about “gays,” “homosexuals,” and every conceivable and unacceptable descriptor that was me. He used every word in the vocabulary in his attempt to diminish me. He was verbose and gross and he used his disgusting-ness to hammer away at me, and those like me, as well as women, people of color, even a pre-teen Chelsea Clinton.
Limbaugh loathed me more than I loathed myself, and he loathed anyone like me, and he loathed people like me during the AIDS crisis, when his sickening, repugnant voice screeched abhorrence to anyone sick with the disease.
He did not speak kindly of the dead during that era. I imagine he never had a grandmother or anyone with an ounce of decorum who told him not to speak ill about the deceased. He was the antithesis of truth and honor. The anti-Larry Kramer. Limbaugh lied about the disease, about the supposed decadence, and about the deceased. Souls and lives didn’t matter to Limbaugh, only perpetuating falsehoods to score ratings points. And give him more money to spend on his filthy habits. And he loved to rile up the emerging Christian right, gaining fans during the worst days of the AIDS crisis, like the equally horrific Sen. Jesse Helms and Congressman William Dannemeyer.
Today, Helms and Dannemeyer’s narrow-mindedness and evilness would fit in nicely with the current slate of Senate and House Republicans. That’s why Limbaugh felt so at home during the Trump administration and with the new crop of haters in Congress. Limbaugh was free to push his prejudice, his privilege, and his so-called manhood.
Limbaugh was married four times, so he was of course the arbiter about matrimony. He railed against same-sex marriage. He compared us to pedophiles. Limbaugh said that the movement for marriage equality was akin to a movement to normalize pedophilia. How could any of those four women look at themselves in the mirror every day while they were married to him when he talked the way he did? How could they kiss a mouth so full of shit?
His outer ugliness was only outmatched by his inward deplorableness and bloated bigotry. Limbaugh was furious when the Supreme Court affirmed that LGBTQ+ people were entitled to protection from employment discrimination. He who could not be fired, despite all of the viciousness that emanated from his mouth, despite all the boycotts of advertisers, despite his utter, open revulsion for someone like me. Yet he thinks it’s fine that I can be fired just because of who I love – that’s a word Limbaugh could never speak He only loved money, fame, and himself, just like the evil dictator wannabe he groomed, who now sits in exile in his tacky Florida mansion.
Sorry, Grandma, I can’t speak kindly about someone who detested me so much. I can’t say anything nice about someone whose heart was filled with hate. I can’t think anything but ugly thoughts for someone who thought I was disgusting. I can’t recall anything pleasant about someone who recoiled from decency. I can’t wish the best for his soul when it was filled with nothing but evil. Rush Limbaugh, may he not rest in peace.
John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate, a sister publication to Plus.