Bigots Die Everyday. Systemic Oppression, Not So Much

Rush Limbaugh, the openly racist, misogynistic, xenophobic nationalist conservative radio host died today at age 70 from complications of lung cancer. Limbaugh spent nearly four decades spewing some of the most inflammatory and hateful rhetoric across airwaves to millions of listeners. In many ways, he was the quintessential mouthpiece for the right-wing, pivoting in the extremism in his language be it the Gingrich/Bush-era of politics, the formation of the Tea Party and in final form amid the Trump era.

Hell, Donald Trump was so enchanted with Limbaugh’s loud-mouthed bigotry he gave him a Presidential Medal of Freedom during a State of the Union address just last year. 

But even though the world is no longer susceptible to Limbaugh’s toxicity, his death does not bring about the eradication of bigoted white folks with a platform to spew bigoted ideas. At some point, all of us will transition but the systems that oppress us will remain intact and there will always be someone willing and able to use their pulpit to champion our marginalization.

Which is why the work of tearing down systemic oppression is not tied to the demise of its individual gatekeepers, and must consistently be the fight of those of us who seek freedom.

I do not feel any grief whatsoever for Rush Limbaugh. The suffering he endured in his final days was the same cosmic energy returning to him that he put out into the universe. I just recognize that his permanent silence does not mute the rhetoric of people like him that wish people like me dead long before we are able to live to our sunset years.

Bigotry lost a soldier, but we have not won the war against systemic oppression. And until we can consider racism, sexism, homophobia/transphobia, xenophobia and nationalism as a casualty of war in our quest for freedom, we still have a fight on our hands.

About the Author

Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate, and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be