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Rush and Race
by David M. Huntwork
6 October 2003

The simple truth is that if you are a conservative white male you are not allowed to utter a word on race. Crying “racist” is simply a tried and true method to stifle true intellectual debate.

"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there's a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

That was Rush Limbaugh’s ever so memorable observation on ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

The furor and backlash has been tremendous and overpowering. The reaction of the “mainstream” media was predictably extreme, hysterical and hateful. The headlines on every network and in every newspaper screamed about the uttering of a “racial remark” by Rush. Everyone from presidential wannabes to 3rd string bench warmers unleashed a furious condemnation of the statement.

Even this mighty oak of the conservative movement could not survive the ensuing firestorm and was quickly forced to resign from the show.

A host of publications and online news sources went so far as to call his comments a racial slur and Rush himself a racist. Dick Meyer, editorial director of CBSNews.com, was quick to weigh in. “Am I delighted to see Rush Limbaugh attacked, ridiculed and forced out of his ESPN gig?" Meyer asked. "Absolutely, justice is being served." The NAACP rather predictably called the comments "bigoted and ignorant." Wesley Clark decided to join the effort of making a mountain out of a molehill by calling the comment "hateful and ignorant speech." Not to be outdone, Howard Dean chimed in with the observation that it was "absurd and offensive." And that beacon of racial unity, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, told The Associated Press that Limbaugh's remarks were "a painful insult." The knee jerk assumption that bringing up the subject of well known racial preferences is akin to a racial epitaph is both illogical and unfair.

The mistake that the king of talk radio made was not in his logic but in his choice of subject matter for a sports show. Race is the deadly third rail of both politics and popular culture. Right or wrong, the facts of the matter mean absolutely nothing. The only true sin is to go against the grain and question the politics, preferences, and agendas of race in modern society.

The simple days of “Just the facts, ma'am," have been hopelessly diluted with hyper-sensitivity, political correctness and racial advocacy.

As the initial furor died down, logic and statistics have started to actually enter into the debate. Lo and behold, many have come around to the viewpoint that Rush was right, at least in regards to McNabb being an overrated quarterback. Though there is always room for argument, it does appear that Donovan McNabb is an over-hyped mediocre quarterback who has been carried by his defense, sports no super bowl ring, and has been given undue attention by sports writers because of his skin color. And thanks to the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons in our midst, there is little real dispute that the NFL has been obsessed about the issue of black coaches as well as black quarterbacks.

Instead of rushing to check the facts the media rushed to judge the man who has spent a lifetime using logic and humor to combat hysteria and irrationality.

The real question is whether Rush Limbaugh should have injected social commentary into a sports show. The answer is no. Is it a worthy topic that should be addressed? Absolutely. But it should have been brought up at a more appropriate time and place than on a lightweight pre-game show. I would have to think that the syndicated Rush Limbaugh radio program would have been the ideal vehicle for a national exploration of media, race and sports. But alas, that was not to be.

There is plenty of blame to go around. ESPN and the world of sports should have expected, anticipated and perhaps even welcomed a bit of “controversy” by hiring the best known political radio personality in the country. One has to wonder at the “shock and surprise” everyone seemed to exhibit when Rush chose to rock the boat a bit. This is a man who has made a huge career, not to mention untold millions, by not being politically correct and by not being afraid to challenge the sacred cows of the Left. It was just a matter of time.

The simple truth is that if you are a conservative white male you are not allowed to utter a word on race. The subject is taboo. Crying “racist” is simply a tried and true method to stifle true intellectual debate. Those who have attempted to set the national agenda on race do not want any questioning of their goals, motives or tactics and will ruthlessly squash those who dare to challenge the status quo. Race should be a subject that is discussed openly and freely without the constant threat of personal destruction and character assassination. In the end, both Rush Limbaugh and the search for truth will carry on.

David Huntwork is a conservative activist and freelance columnist in Northern Colorado where he lives with his wife and three young daughters. He strongly believes in the importance of Faith, Family, and Freedom as the formula of success for a good life and a healthy nation.
Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions at [email protected]. You may view his bio and past columns at: http://dkhunt.tripod.com.

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