Rush Limbaugh’s personal attacks on Georgetown student Sandra Fluke has created much fallout. He has since apologized twice but the damage has spread further than his virulent political and personal rhetoric. He continues to lose advertisers for his show.
Limbaugh went on a rampage of attacking the college student and calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute” over a period of three days on his radio show for her views on birth control which she had spoken about before Congress. He was not the only commentator who chose to go after the young woman for basically expressing her opinion and doing her civic duty.
Yes we do have freedom of speech. When people choose to go out in the media as a celebrity they do so knowing that they can be attacked and vilified. However this was a young person, someone’s daughter of course who clearly did not ask for this personal attack upon her person. The fact that the people doing the attacking were older supposedly mature adults is astounding.
Limbaugh has never been shy about voicing his opinions which he has a right to do. But there is a thing called “ought to” in the South. Should he say some of the things he does which are clearly misogynistic, crude and belittling to so many? He has a choice and he has made his mark just as a Doberman marks his territory.
Today there is a lot being done to show and stop the effects of Growing up has always had a bit of that yet today it is much worse. STOMP out Bullyingtm reports on its website that 1 out of every 4 teens have been bullied. About 45 percent of teens have faced bullying while online and 97 percent of middle school children have been cyberbullied.
In February, a young teenager jumped to his death from a building at school in the Los Angeles area. His parents reported to the newspaper that they found evidence that he was being bullied in school while going through his journal.
Right now Dharun Ravi is on trial for allegedly spying on Rutgers student Tyler Clementi’s romantic encounters and posting them on social media. Clementi committed suicide in 2010 after being exposed in that manner. These are extreme cases to be sure but bullying amongst young people and even adults has gotten out of hand.
I think most of us can remember growing up and facing bullying in some form. It could have been pretty harsh even back in the day. There is little doubt that with Twitter, Facebook and other social media bullying has transcended to a whole new level. Adults are just as brutal in bullying at this point.
What Is Bullying
There are many different definitions of bullying but stopbullying.gov gives a few clues to what bullying entails. First it includes an imbalance of power. The person or people doing the bullying usually are in a power position either by age, size, status or number. Second bullying involves the intent to cause harm. The third thing is repetition. Acts of bullying occur over and over again to the same person.
Other features of bullying include the acts which are name calling, creating and spreading rumors, hitting, fighting, harassing. steps it up and uses digital and electronic media to start or continue the tirade.
If we look at those facts would appear that Rush Limbaugh was being a bully in his actions towards Sandra Fluke by the definitions given. We cannot say however his intent was to cause her harm. Clearly it has more than likely caused her quite a bit of duress. It has strongly affected many people and perhaps that is the blessing of this which is to spur a shift in the landscape.
Time For a Change In Attitudes
Often I go online to celebrity blogs and other sites where people can post in their opinions. The name calling and nasty, negative remarks are rampant. I suppose the internet has made it easy for some people to share their viciousness with the world. Many are really going for the gusto on that.
When some adults say the most harmful things they can about another person’s looks, views, race, size, sexual orientation, politics etc., why would we wonder that bullying is rampant for young people in this present atmosphere.
What You Can Do
It appears that many are making their voices known in regards to what they think about Limbaugh’s actions. They are calling the stations that he is on, writing advertisers and voicing their opinion on the topic. He is not the only one speaking negatively either in the public or by the water cooler.
We are the creators of our reality and if we want a different vista in our perspectives we have to change. It seems it is no longer going to be easy to sit and listen to others spew their poison for it will affect us all in the long run.
To make a change use your voice to speak out or tell others. Write to the appropriate people. Boycott with your pocketbook and by not watching, listening or participating in things that you feel cross the line. Stand on your truth and speak to the young and old alike in your life about bullying. If you are being bullied don’t suffer in silence; find someone to talk to about it and get help.