Sunday, March 11, 2012

Time to weigh in on the Rush Limbaugh situation...

I've waited for the better part of two weeks to comment on the Rush Limbaugh comments about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke and the contraception issue.

To review, this clip pretty well sums up the Limbaugh side of things...

There's quiet a bit more to Limbaugh's verbal flourishes over the years. He's gone after everyone from Hillary Clinton, to the National Organization for Women, to Michael J. Fox, to Micheal Steele, and so on. This post isn't meant to be a catalog of his most sensational insults, so if you're interested in that, google Rush Limbaugh and the target of your choice and you'll find plenty of examples. As a big fan of radio, especially talk radio,  I'm interested in seeing what long term effect this situation has on Rush's ratings. I suspect, they will either remain constant or perhaps improve slightly. He is a living legend when it comes to talk radio.

As the father of three daughters, all of who are over the age of 16, I'm pretty familiar with the value of prescribed contraceptives. Perhaps more than Mr. Limbaugh is. While two of my daughters have moved into adulthood and in fact, started their own families, each has been prescribed birth control pills to address other medical issues by their gynecologists.

His generalization that if you need this medicine its somehow because you're a sex maniac and getting laid non-stop is well, idiotic. I don't have a uterus and frankly am pretty happy about that. Apparently, its not all fun and games. Fortunately, medical science has developed some medications that provide relief for any number of feminine issues OTHER than preventing conception. Sometimes its devastating headaches, sometimes its to help regulate the monthly flow or address severe cramps. In some cases a woman will suffer from a disease called Endometriosis which is a painful disorder when tissue that is usually eliminated from the body via normal menses activity is not, and leads to a great deal of pain and discomfort. It is not a small thing. Hardly a mild inconvenience in most cases. In other instances prescribed contraceptives can be used to treat acne. Hormones wreak a good bit of havoc on women and as a husband and father of women, I don't enjoy seeing them uncomfortable let alone in pain.

The suggestion I've heard on facebook and cable talks shows of late that "why can't their guys just use condoms?" is moronic. If you are of such an opinion, please ask your wife or some other grown woman you're close to about this. Common sense tells most people that person A wearing a condom has no effect on the hormone imbalances of  person B. If you've written or said such a thing around any females understand that they probably want to hurt you. Badly. Apologize if you can, be very careful if you can't...

I think its very fair to bring up Mr. Limbaugh's use of viagara. Its perfectly normal for an aging man to experience difficulties having and maintaining an erection after the age of 50 or so. Testosterone levels drop and nature takes its course. Thankfully, medical science has developed medicines that can provide some help with this disorder. That Mr. Limbaugh needs a little help before sex is meaningless to me. Who cares? The point I will take issue with is the apparent double standard when it comes to addressing hormonal inefficiencies via prescribed medications. Why is it just fine for men to use any number of erectile dysfunction products with very little in the way of verbal attacks on them when, according to him, its not ok for women? Television advertisements are common for products like viagara, but I don't see them for similar women's products too often.

Maybe its the "who has to pay for it" question? In both cases, the vast majority (up to 85%) of health insurance plans cover a benefit for both erectile dysfunction medications and birth control medications. Which means all the people that share that same insurance help pay for it. In the recent controversy involving the White House's announced intention to require coverage from all non-religious organisations, the major health insurance companies have indicated where the employer is uncomfortable providing that benefit due to "moral issues" the insurance company will provide the benefit, out of their own pocket at no cost to any employee who wants it. The thinking being, from a bottom line point of view, its more profitable for the health insurance companies to minimize the number of full blown pregnancies, which are thousands of times more expensive for them than paying for contraception.

I do think this (the issue of contraception) is much ado about nothing. If the Republican party feels its a timely and pressing political issue that needs addressed right now, God bless them. I think its a major mistake, in a string of mistakes and mis-calculations that the GOP has made over recent months. Given that women are one of the largest voting blocks in the country, its probably not a good idea to mess around with this and other "ideas" that Conservatives seem pre-occupied with recently.

To Limbaugh's comments themselves, I found them pretty offensive. That said, he's shown a repeated pattern of verbal abuse to various individuals/groups over the years and if anyone is surprised by this, they shouldn't be. Whether he will pay a real price for his speech remains to be seen. There's been many stories in the press about the sponsors of his radio show dropping him over the last week, but Rush is a wildly popular entertainer and I suspect in time, he'll be whole again. To attack a private citizen, even one who has injected themselves into a public discussion I think is weak and rude. Its certainly not civil and those of us with daughters probably find ourselves more inline with Ms. Fluke's position on these matters than we do Mr. Limbaugh's.

If you're a husband or a father and you don't find Limbaugh's comments troublesome to say the very least, I'd suggest giving this issue some thought. Its a form of bullying, and if somehow out of a sense of "being a fan of Rush" it trumps the decency and protective nature you should feel toward the women in your life, you have failed. To fail a wife, a daughter or perhaps a sister or a mother or a co-worker or a friend is nothing to be proud of. Not at all.


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