Rush didn’t come to work today.
I fear that he might not ever come back.
I fear that now, or soon, my friend of 30 years will be gone. And I already grieve him.
And I don’t think I’m alone.
There are millions of us across the country, tens of millions, many tens of millions, who hold this brother and father of the heart dear. Many tens of millions of us who have laughed and raged and resolved while he has led in the vital heart of American public thought.
Rush Limbaugh has been an evangelist of the American spirit, a Billy Graham of our founding principles. And he has done it with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, a shy man with a calling, bringing inspiration and joy to the people behind the wheel, doing the work and raising the families of the American people.
A disc jockey out of nowhere who became the most influential political voice of his generation.
But calling him that – a political voice – sells him short. It leaves out part of who he has been. Sure, he probably tipped an election or two, but Rush has been less about politics than he has been about principles.
The bedrock principles upon which this nation was founded, and which have never steered it wrong.
He arose in the last days of Reagan, as a great voice of patriotism and conservatism was going silent. A baton was passed. Not from Reagan to Bush, a man of good character but flaccid politics, but from Reagan to Rush. The optimistic, evangelistic view of America’s past and future, connecting the dots between the beliefs of the founders and the challenges of their descendants, became Rush’s bailiwick.
And he never faltered.
Over a generation, amidst the struggles of life and the affairs of the world, Rush stuck with it. Admired and beloved.
Oh, not by those who opposed him. Their hatred has always been white hot. But such a response was to be expected. Evil always lashes out at good, denouncing and deriding it. The passion of Rush’s detractors is in direct proportion to their own confusion and mistaken nature. The devil goes after those who threaten his kingdom.
And Rush has been a constant threat to the sinister effort to bind the hearts and hands of men. He has always been a voice of freedom. He has always been a liberator. He has always been the kid pointing out that the progressive emperor has no clothes.
And the feathers he has ruffled all needed to be ruffled.
He was a disc jockey out of nowhere who figured out how to be heard in a national media culture owned lock, stock and barrel by the liberal elites. Progressivism has taken over the popular culture, and it imposes a harsh orthodoxy, destroying those who deviate. But Rush found a way. He used excellence to force the market to embrace him and give him place. The bosses might not have agreed, but they could read the ratings, and the ledger, and he won the market and the industry in a stand-up fight.
The progressives raged and spat. They tried boycotts and pressure from the government. They denounced him and vilified him, they Borked him while the blood of that man still stained their teeth. He has been the one voice the cancel culture couldn’t still.
And it hasn’t all passed into the ether, evaporating in the moment, washed away by the flowing tide of events. The career of Rush Limbaugh has erected a structure of permanence which will last another generation and more. But it is not a monument he has built, at least not primarily, it is a fortress. It is a foundation from which the next generation’s fight for freedom will rise.
Because we’ve been listening.
As he has spoken our hearts and improved our understandings, he has been passing on the culture of freedom and the heritage of liberty. In his dissection of yesterday’s issues, we learned the solutions to tomorrow’s problems. And his evangelism of American self-reliance and constitutionalism has converted many tens of millions whose turn on earth will long outlast his, and whose ability to impact the nation’s direction will endure for decades.
Time and chance come to all men, the Bible says, and perhaps they will soon come to Rush. Perhaps they will soon silence his voice. And yet it will still echo in the hearts of the American people and in the annals of the American Republic.
Rush didn’t come to work today.
I fear that soon he might not ever come back.
And we will mourn a friend and brother, a best friend and brother, come to us on waves of air and electrons.
Because we don’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh, we love Rush Limbaugh.
And this isn’t about who will replace him on the air, it’s about letting him know that no one will ever replace him in our hearts.
And that we, these many tens of millions of us, until we meet up with him on the other side, will continue the fight for freedom here in his place.