Readers Write: Give Rush a Chance!

Mob Justice
I feel compelled to respond to the comments some readers submitted regarding Rush Limbaugh's recently revealed drug problem ( Readers Write: Don't Give Rush a Break). Most of these comments reiterate the same theme: "He did the crime, let him do the time."

The frightful mob-justice tone in these letters reminds me of the decline of our intellectual, honest and even-handed leftist tradition into the squabbling partisanship of pop politics. Our "side" does not score points somehow by depositing Limbaugh in prison. Removing one obnoxious hypocrite from our airwaves does not make us a more free and just society. This, I believe, is a golden opportunity to show Limbaugh and his listeners that treatment of (dangerous) drug use as a public health problem is at once a humane, financially sensible, and effective way to address drug addiction.

Dimitrije Kostic
College Station, Texas

Give Rush a Chance
I must confess being dismayed by the batch of letters recently printed, all condemning Rush Limbaugh and hatefully advocating his incarceration.

Is this how liberals are supposed to behave? We're against extraordinary prison terms for drug offenses... unless they're in front of someone we really dislike? That hardly sounds fair to me. No, the case of Rush is one where our convictions are truly tried – can we hold true to our beliefs even when the oh-so-tempting opportunity to see one of our largest opponents humiliated presents itself?

I'll quite publicly say that I despise Rush Limbaugh's politics. I think he's one of the worst forces for hate at work in America today. Nothing would make me happier than seeing him off the air. But this is NOT to say I hate Rush, the man. In his current crisis, I only wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery. No one, no matter how misguided, deserves debilitating drug addiction. And even for him, I would advocate the possibility of redemption over the idea of incarceration.

Just like the rabid homophobe who is, in fact, deeply closeted, Rush's comments on drugs in the last few years strike me as nothing more than hateful attacks on himself. Just imagine the horror and revulsion at suddenly realizing you have become everything you despise.

As liberals, we should be always looking for the possibility of redemption. To apply our ideas of fair justice ABSOLUTELY EQUALLY across all Americans, even those we dislike. And to see the potential for good in any situation, even if it means giving up a measure of self-satisfaction. For the mere potential good of a reformed Rush, I would happily give up what little, egotistical pleasure I'd derive from seeing him incarcerated.

Jason Blalock

Don't Blame Oxycontin
I am an Oxycontin patient and have been for over eight years. My problem is a botched spinal fusion and the subsequent nerve damage I suffered. Finally I agreed to try Oxycontin as a last resort. In the seven years that have followed, I have not increased my total dosage of the medication and have managed my pain and medication on a daily basis with great care.

People should not jump to the conclusion that Oxycontin is a "bad drug" or that it is any different than any other controlled substance. The drug is not the danger, rather it's the person.

As regards Limbaugh, I'm sympathetic to his pain. However, he clearly had no reason to take the type of medication he has apparently taken, and by no means imaginable should he have been taking it in the quantities he has. Limbaugh is the type of person who gives the drug a bad name and contributes to what has become a national hysteria when the word Oxycontin is mentioned. Limbaugh knew the first time he asked his housekeeper "can you spare a few" pain pills from her husband's prescription that he had violated a law. He only got himself in more deeply when he began asking her to be his dealer.

No doubt his celebrity will cause even more harsh restrictions and further add to the struggles of those nameless and faceless people who legitimately use the medications in order to live an ordinary existence and who would give anything to feel the way Limbaugh once felt before choosing to get his kicks from the abuse of drugs.

Name Withheld by Request
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