Interesting and instructive exchange on Rush Limbaugh yesterday.
First, Rush’s premise:
RUSH: This is yesterday in Chicago, the Joint Luncheon Meeting: Working Together to Address Youth Violence in Chicago, hosted by the mayor, Rahm Emanuel. First Lady Moochelle (My Belle) Obama spoke about youth empowerment.
MICHELLE: Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her. But I got to grow up and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School and have a career and a family, and the most blessed life I could ever imagine. And Hadiya — oh, we know that story. I started out with exactly the same aptitude, exactly the same intellectual, emotional capabilities as so many of my peers. And the only thing that separated me from them was that I had a few more advantages than some of them did. That was the difference between growing up and becoming a lawyer, a mother, and First Lady of the United States, and being shot dead at the age of 15. Are we truly meeting our obligations to our children? It’s a question we should also be asking in Chicago and in every corner of this country.
RUSH: I thought we were making it harder to gun down our kids, number one. But what is this? What is it with these people? “If I had had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Now here’s Michelle Obama, “Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her.” What is this? I don’t understand this. The need to compare herself to this girl who was gunned down by illegal guns in the hands of gang members. What’s the point? She’s saying it could have been her, but for what? It could have been her but for what? She had advantages? What were her advantages? I mean, the idea that we’re all in this together and we’re no different from one another and it coulda just as easily been me except that it wasn’t. I don’t know that Moochelle ever was in black gang or black gang neighborhoods.
I’m tempted to jump in here, but a caller beat me to it:
RUSH: Here’s Torsa in Mobile Alabama. Hi, Torsa! You are first today. Great to have you with us. Hi.
CALLER: I’ll get right to the point. I’m a black woman. My views are more conservative. I am not an Obama supporter. I do agree with the majority of things that you say and/or you report. However, I feel that you went too far about Michelle Obama trying to show empathy for the young woman who was gunned down in a senseless crime in Chicago.
RUSH: Interesting. How did I go too far?
CALLER: Well, you kind of mocked it, and you tried to belittle what Michelle was saying. Michelle was similar to this young lady. This young woman was not a gang member. She was an honor student who was gunned down in a senseless crime. She was mistaken for another gang member, which she was not. So Michelle was right in a sense. She was just like this young woman.
RUSH: You know what?
RUSH: You know what, Torsa?
RUSH: You are, for the most part, exactly right. The reason you’re exactly right is this is a no-win. Even if I were able to articulate what my real discomfort with this is — and I’m not able to. It’s not that I don’t know what it is. I’m just not able to put the words together.
CALLER: My dad, we always talk politics. He got me to listen to you. However, when I first started listening to you, I would continuously turn it off because some of the stuff that you said, some of the points that you made, even though they were correct, there was a bias in me.
RUSH: See, here’s the thing. Let me try again. My problem with this is there are laws. There are gun laws that are not being prosecuted in Chicago. Chicago’s run by the Democrats. Obama’s from there. There’s no reason for this to be happening in that city. They could be making far more concerted efforts to stop this and punish the perps than they’re doing.
So would Mrs. Obama go to her husband and get him to start prosecuting federal gun laws and violations? I mean, we don’t need any new gun laws. We got plenty of laws already on the books that make what’s happening in Chicago illegal. Why isn’t somebody going after these people that are pulling the trigger, instead of exploiting these circumstances for the advancement of the Obamas? That’s all I’m trying to say here.
CALLER: Right. And that right there, I could take that point. If I tried to get one of my friends to listen to your show to get a different point of view, if they heard the mockery — you know, the points that you were making earlier — they would turn it off, and they would hear no more.
I despised Rush Limbaugh—until I started listening to him. Now I listen, at least a little bit, almost every day.
But though the caller is right, he is too. There is something unseemly about the Obamas inserting themselves—not their opinions, but their actual selves—into these stories. Michelle is Hadiya Pendelton; if Barack had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin.
As to the first, no she’s not. As far as I can tell, Michelle didn’t grow up in a neighborhood infested with gangs. The tragedy of Hadiya has nothing to do with Michelle and everything to do with tolerating the intolerable. In spite of (because of?) some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, Chicago is the Wild West. It’s not pretty.
So, when Rush says: “My problem with this is there are laws. There are gun laws that are not being prosecuted in Chicago. Chicago’s run by the Democrats. Obama’s from there. There’s no reason for this to be happening in that city. They could be making far more concerted efforts to stop this and punish the perps than they’re doing.” He’s exactly right. There’s no excuse for Chicago’s state of violence. None. The First Lady could have said what Rush said. The President could have. But they didn’t.
Hadiya Pendleton didn’t just die, she was murdered. We can and should remember her brains and beauty, but we need to talk about her killers. Talk of magazine size and “assault” weapons is bull[bleep]. Who’s pulling the trigger is what matters.