Rest In Peace, Rush Limbaugh

On Feb. 17, listeners of The Rush Limbaugh Show were met with a solemn statement from Rush Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, announcing her husband’s passing and reflecting on his monumental legacy. “Rush will forever be the greatest of all time,” she told millions of listeners. “Rush was an extraordinary man: a gentle giant, brilliant, quick-witted, genuinely kind, extremely generous, passionate, courageous and the hardest-working person I know.”

Truer words have rarely been spoken. The impact that Rush Limbaugh left on our society is difficult to overstate. When conservatives felt alienated, ostracized or completely unrepresented by the mainstream media, Limbaugh took to his beloved “golden EIB microphone” to eloquently give voice to these people’s concerns. Not only did Limbaugh offer a compelling defense of rightism in the United States, but he always did so in a manner that managed to be both thoroughly entertaining and remarkably cogent. The common sentiment among the Limbaugh fans in my life was that Rush “gets it,” in stark contrast to the legions of out-of-touch political commentators who do not. This point of view was not unique to my friends and family members, or to any one demographic; Limbaugh had the keen ability to understand where the average conservative was coming from, regardless of whether they were a college student or a truck driver.

Rush’s legacy extends beyond politics, however. Limbaugh’s innovative use of the AM radio medium paved the way for an alternative media that eluded the stranglehold of the major television broadcasters. His unpredictable rise to stardom through the AM airwaves took the broadcasting world by complete surprise. In sparking this movement, he transformed AM radio from a seldom listened-to relic of the early twentieth century into a cultural force to be reckoned with. Without Rush Limbaugh and his fellow pioneers in talk radio, non-establishment voices from all over the political spectrum would likely be without a platform today. Who even knows if podcasting, an offspring of talk radio that has gained considerable momentum over the past two decades, would have gotten its start without The Rush Limbaugh Show’s influence?

Since his passing, thousands of conservatives across America have shared personal stories about how Rush Limbaugh’s lengthy career has impacted their lives. For my part, I will add that Rush Limbaugh’s voice was ubiquitous in my household. From my parents’ car, to the radio that blared while my father and grandfather worked on any number of construction projects around the house, to the IHeartRadio web player from noon until 3 P.M., Rush was a near-constant presence in my life to an extent which I never fully appreciated. Whether or not I fully agreed with him, he never failed to be a source of laughter, wisdom, patriotism, and faith in one’s principles. As a fellow conservative sharing Limbaugh’s passion for the medium of radio, Rush will always be someone whom I greatly admire. He will be missed.