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Rush Limbaugh Lights an Antigay Fire He Hopes Will Consume Buttigieg


The disgraced talk show host will not be leaving this world quietly -- or gracefully.

Well, that didn't take long.

No sooner had I written that we should brace ourselves for a "scorched earth" campaign from the Republican presidential nominee (I'm trying hard not to mention his name) and the far-right, Rush Limbaugh opens his malicious mouth and begins the crusade to crush Mayor Pete. Bullying behavior certainly not unexpected from the -- and this really hurts, so let's change the title -- "Unpresidential Medial of Intimidation" recipient. That sounds much better.

Loud-mouth Limbaugh blurted out that the Republican presidential nominee will "have fun" if Buttigieg is the Democratic presidential nominee and confirmed what we all knew was bound to happen, saying, "America's still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president. (Democrats) have to be saying this, don't they?"

Well, not all of them are saying that, but we know there are some, and they will be goaded to "coming out" against an LGBTQ candidate by the likes of Limbaugh. And it's sickening and mind-boggling that voters in 2020 would be susceptible to an ancient radio relic of the past who's warped fear mongering comments over the last 30 years knows no bounds and no truths.

Among the many comments received from the column about my fears for Mayor Pete and our community during the upcoming primary were from readers that said Buttigieg will have it "...worse than Obama." And in deference to President Obama's valor, outstanding campaigns and dignified time in the White House, they are correct. Because there are no guardrails for LGBTQ ridicule and condemnation. And because the mainstream media in all its hype about the wunderkind Mayor Pete has studiously avoided the term "gay" and "married to a man" and the ramifications of what a gay candidate truly means during the primary.

My suspicion is that the media is afraid to touch the third rail of discrimination -- LGBTQ -- since they too recognize that the subject might be combustible. That, and they probably have no idea how to handle a frontrunning gay presidential candidate. Dwell too much on it and they are called out for making it a big deal. Ignore it, and be accused of, well, ignoring it.

And that's where Limbaugh comes in. He knows that he does not to have to worry about going too far. He also knows that he does not have to codify "gay." The many times he went after minorities or women, sponsors pulled the plug, and he got a warning. But railing on gays? Not a chance for retribution.

When he puts "gay" and Mayor Pete in a string of sentences, he knows he's been given a license to take a full gasoline can and douse it on a simmering, low burning fire. Now, boom! It's out there, spreading, exploding onto the base, the right, and ultra-conservative Christians. Giving them a match to help burn down Pete, his campaign and our community. Gay Mayor Pete and all of us be damned to eternal hell where the real fire burns.

So, while Rome metaphorically burns in Washington, as we lose, piece by piece, the essence of our democracy, the right would have you believe that being gay is the ultimate tyranny. After an immoral acquittal of our supreme leader, and as the Department of Justice succumbs to autocracy, as presidential power runs unbridled and unscrupulously, and as a Purple Heart recipient is banished from the White House, God help us all that a gay man kissing his husband is the ultimate betrayal of sovereignty.

The irony is that when Limbaugh flings filth like, 'OK, how's this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband onstage next to Mr. Man Donald Trump?" he's really pointing out a great distinction between freedom and despotism and not the way he'd have you believe.

Mayor Pete represents what is honest and good, and what can be achieved in America by literally pulling up your boot straps. He's Harvard- and Rhodes Scholar-educated, a Navy Lieutenant who served in Afghanistan, and a mayor from the microcosm of middle America. And he is gay, a mark of diversity that represents the look of multifaceted America in 2020. Buttigieg showed courage fighting in a war, but being an openly gay candidate, running for president of the United States? Does anybody realize how enormously and utterly brave that is? And he's 38. He's represents all that is right, strong, and bold about the future of this country.

And I'm not even going to drag this column down by describing who is the opposite of every attribute of Mayor Pete. We can figure that out for ourselves, with the most glaring contrast between the two, forward versus passe. It takes a 70-something hasbeen like Limbaugh to ruminate on all that really has been. For people like him and his followers the past is a comfort, the future of a young, bright, brave, diverse and free America is a frightful thought, just like Limbaugh getting that medal in the House chamber in "honor" of his backward, bigoted bluster.

I remember attending speeches in that revered sanctuary by Nelson Mandela and Lech Walesa. Unforgettable moments by two extraordinary world leaders who fought for the cause of freedom and equality in their countries. So much history in that well of deliberation, and to see it desecrated with the Limbaugh lunacy was heartbreaking. A week later, he's spewing his hate with a medal around this neck. It should be a prison shackle. His latest comments not only criminal, but so, so destructive.

Limbaugh's not finished. In fact, his comments will provoke others to follow suit. A full out, hate-filled denunciation of gay. He, like all the other hate amplifiers, will be blowing out about Mayor Pete in an attempt to blow him up. They're afraid of what he stands for, and they think that because he's gay, others will be afraid of him too. America, or at least the one I used to know, and hope for, knows better than that.

JohnCasey is a PR professional and an adjunct professor at Wagner College in New York City, and a frequent columnist for The Advocate. Follow John on Twitter @johntcaseyjr.

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John Casey

John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.
John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.