Opinions & Editorials

Mocking ancient culture sets a new low for radio


By Joe Fitzgerald
The Guardsman

“Ching cha, ching-chong cho cha! Ja chi che! Jo-jo ba ba!”

You won’t believe what those sounds actually are.

I’ll give you a hint. It sounds a lot like free speech breaking. It sounds eerily similar to a straw breaking a camel’s back.

It could even be mistaken for the sound of the crack of Sarah Palin’s shotgun, but it’s far and away less violent. At least on the surface.

More accurately, it’s the sound of radio personality Rush Limbaugh performing an impression of China’s prime minister Hu Jintao on his talk show.

For those who have been living under a rock, Rush Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated Republican talk show host. He is not a fringe member of the conservative community, and his influence is not small.

He has the highest talk radio ratings in the country, and is known as the mouthpiece of the Republican party. Rush claimed that by making those sounds he was only trying to repeat what he heard when Prime Minister Jintao met with President Barack Obama for dinner at the White House.

And he has an audience of millions.

Republicans and their FOX News and talk radio representatives (Limbaugh being one of many) have been under fire from liberals who claim that their hateful speech was largely responsible for inspiring the shooter who killed nine people in Tucson, Arizona. Now, Limbaugh is just fanning the flames.

His impression of China’s prime minister was hardly asking anyone to be violent, but it’s part of a larger tapestry of the Republican narrative. He once played a song on-air titled “Barack the Magic Negro,” set to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

He has even told his listeners to outright kill liberals, and to only leave a pair alive at every college campus.

Republicans do say the darndest things. The frightening thing is, Limbaugh is not alone.
Ann Coulter, a commentator on FOX News, once said, “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.”

“Get rid of [Bill Clinton]. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him,” Republican Representative James Hansen once said.

Now, I’m not saying there is a correlation between this violent speech and the actions of the Tucson shooter. It was a silly argument when politicians tried to link video games to violent behavior, and it’s a silly argument now.

Sane people do not pick up a gun just because Limbaugh said so. Sane people don’t become racists just because Limbaugh performed a stupid, crass and infantile impression of an ancient language used by billions of people worldwide.

Hate speech doesn’t have to incite murder to be wrong. The collective character of our elected leaders and their ideological spokespeople has deep influence on the character of our country at large.

The hate that Republicans have been spreading in recent years exactly reveals the content of their character.

They are bigots. Frightened, violent, short-sighted bigots.

Hateful rhetoric from some of the leaders of our country may not cause violence in and of itself. But it is damaging, and acts as a distraction from this nation’s dialogue — how we talk about our country, our politics and our morals.

For representatives of the American people to the world, for people that lead the dialogue of the entire United States of America, isn’t that bad enough?

The Guardsman