Conservative radio legend Rush Limbaugh is one of the only people I consider to be a personal hero. The following is an open letter from me to Rush, started about 20 minutes after he announced his malignant lung cancer diagnosis. This note is about Rush, but the only way I know him is through the effect he’s had on me, so please forgive the self-references.
I’ve started this letter and restarted it about seven times now because after hearing your announcement I can’t figure out how to say what I want to say. That’s no small problem because words are my job. I’m going to try one more time. Whatever comes out from this point on — for better or worse — is from my heart.
Rush, if someone told me he could stick a Post-it note on your desk with a message from me to you, I know immediately what I’d say. Without hesitation, I would tell that person to carry back to you four small words: You are my hero.
That’s maybe a silly thing to say, especially to someone who is doubtless a hero to so many, but I would want you to hear those four words anyway. It would mean so much to me for my hero to know, if only to be forgotten moments later, that I admire him. After all, admiration is the only thing of any value that I can give you, and there is nothing more valuable I have to give. I would want you to know what you’ve meant to me.
So, since this space affords more room than a small Post-it note, I want to share what you mean to me in a little more detail — and maybe I can speak for some of my fellow listeners too.
My admiration for you goes back over 20 years and is born of two things: First, the impact that you’ve had on me personally, and second, the integrity you’ve had for as long as I’ve listened to you.
Rush, there are very few people who, on their own, manage to radically change the course of another person’s life without ever having met that person, but that’s what you did for me.
When I started listening to you as a 15-year-old kid, you crystalized my interest in politics and passion for conservatism, and you’ve gone everywhere with me since. You went off to college with me, helping fuel my fight for conservatism against leftist faculty and students. You went with me to grad school (Harvard — that’s right, a die-hard ditto-head got accepted to Harvard based on the passion you instilled in him) and helped me fight there. Now I work in conservative publishing, and you’re with me here. I still listen to you for inspiration and insight that I simply can’t get from anyone else.
You have been my mentor from afar, and as sometimes happens with mentors, at some point you became my hero.
But your effect on me personally isn’t the only reason I admire you. The other reason, maybe the more universal reason, I admire you is that you absolutely refuse to compromise on what is right and true.
I don’t mean that you’re never wrong. What I mean is that on the most important things — God, family, truth, freedom, liberty, America — you have never, ever flinched, backed down or settled. To this day you are one of only three people I can say that about. One of the other two is my dad.
As far as I can see, the word for what you really are, Rush, is “incorruptible.” Instead of trading bits of your integrity for cocktail party invitations and popularity with the muckitiest of the conservative muckety-mucks, you stayed true to yourself, conservatism, America and the unborn — and you never looked back.
Rush, do you realize how important that is to so many people? Can you think of anyone else alive today who has refused to intellectually compromise every single time he had the opportunity? I can’t. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t.
That makes you an inspiration to Americans. And it makes you indispensable to conservatives.
The conservative movement does not yet have anyone who can take on your mantle — anyone who can consistently articulate conservatism and reliably unmask leftism as effectively as you do.
That means that your work isn’t finished. Just as there was William F. Buckley at the right time, then there was you at the right time, there will be someone to take up the position you occupy at the right time. But the time isn’t right yet. To borrow from Robert Frost, you have promises to keep and miles to go.
It looks the next few of those miles might have just gotten a little steeper, but know that there are millions of us out here who support, adore and cherish you. As much as is possible, we will be with you every step of the way. And we would be with you much more than that if we could.
You have millions of people praying for you … because you have millions of people counting on you. We love you. We support you. You are our hero.
The Western Journal
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.