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What Has Happened To Us As A Nation?

Two recent events have saddened me and make me wonder where our country is going.   Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke and the smack down that a judge gave organic farmers in favor of Monsanto. You’re probably saying,  WHAT does ONE have to do with the other?” 

Regarding the first item:  Limbaugh’s three-day on-air attack of Ms. Fluke everyone is aware of so I will not reiterate.  What I will add is that this latest controversy is just another in a long line of disparaging remarks and attacks made by so-called ‘entertainment’ establishment.  I view the likes of Rush as pretty much way down on the food chain.

Why has belittlement of people become so interesting? It seems pervasive in our society today.  Reality shows, which I won’t name,  subsist on back-biting  and attack of contestants. Much of it is stirred up and staged for the viewing public; a modern-day Roman coliseum event.   This has become our entertainment.  “Shock jocks” in various forms from not-so-shocking are prized for disparaging any and all, guilty and innocent. 

I remember the ’70s and Imus.  He was  tame compared to his imitator and successor, Howard Stern. Why?  The envelope was only to be pushed so far and that was it!  Fast forward 20 years: I found nothing amusing about Stern’s rants and on-air attacks of people, even after trying to listen many times.  I turned off his show in disgust. Making someone else look stupid is not funny.  Recently,  Imus was caught in an remark about black women in a college basketball team.  OK, that wasn’t appropriate, but was far less damaging than Stern’s garbage, and  nowhere near the despicable rant of Limbaugh!  However, for both of their transgressions, Imus and Stern were tossed off  mainstream radio and into  the then unreachable realm of satellite radio.  Limbaugh, in my opinion, needs to go away…, period!

Here we have a celebrity who has used his radio platform and his right-wing stance to literally slander a woman in public.  These programs were initially listened to by millions of people.  Since the explosion of controversy – and the fact that his tirade lasted for 3 days – millions more have heard it.  It wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t funny. 

Limbaugh, and I will not use the term, “Mr.” regarding him, which is the usual journalistic form of respect, because his words do not deserve it – since has offered an apology.  We can read this and see right through it because it is not an apology:  it is a placation, an offering to his advertisers.  It is transparently insincere; it is a sham. 

~~“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit?In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”~~

In his statement he questions: “What  happened to personal responsibility and accountability?”  He, and the entire media community should be asking themselves this.  His station, Clear Channel, did not come down on him the first day, nor the second or the third.  It wasn’t until their pocketbook was threatened that the apology was offered.  I’d bet my shoes that it was NOT Rush’s idea, either.

The “in the attempt to be humorous,” statement, Rush didn’t seem to be trying to be funny. I listened to his words and tone.  They weren’t, “Ha ha, I’m trying to be funny,”  but indicated attack. I don’t buy his flaccid excuse of an attempt at humor.

It wasn’t funny and clearly Limbaugh crossed a line.  The public needs to take a stand against this.  He should not be allowed to proffer this imitation token of remorse and go back to business as usual.

The second item above has so disheartened me.    The suit brought by organic farmers against Monsanto was dismissed last week. Judge Naomi Buchwald threw out the suit by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) claiming that the suit aimed to “transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists.”

I disagree.  Monsanto over the years has aggressively gone after farmers when it finds contamination in adjoining fields.  They are a biotech bull in a china shop, destroying all in their wake.  These farmers sought to avoid potential lawsuits for patent infringement from crop contamination.  They stood up for all farmers, organic or not. They stood for the freedom of farmers all over this country to plant the crops of their choice. 

This ruling tells me that the justice system does not care about the small farmers of this country.  It finds no valid reason for their expressed concerns.  Judge Buchwald, in effect, told them they were making things up regarding Monsanto.  Knowing what I know of Monsanto’s track record, they weren’t. Some say that Judge Buchwald was paid to do this. On the side of caution, I will politely say that she is probably uninformed about the entire history OF Monsanto and its various deals and facades over the past century.  She may have been acting from a different viewpoint, but I think that if she had known more of their background, the ruling may have been different.

The two connections here are accountability.  Individual or corporate, there must be some sort of line, some form of accountability, a kind of respect for the other side.  In todays’ business  and entertainment world there seems to be little. 

Our government had its back broken by corporate influence.  Insidious tentacles of lies, cover-ups and hidden agendas – which is nothing new – influence our every day lives.  Even when we as citizens, bring forth what we feel are legitimate concerns (as the farmers did) and hope to make some progress for a more civilized & just society, Goliath again stomps the crap out of David. Why?

What has happened to “liberty and justice for all,”  common courtesy, or any inkling of respect?

Our actions define us as do our reactions.


Author: Bernice Matherson

Humanitarian, environmental and food activist, blogging on current societal issues. My blogs cover what's in our food and how it affects our health; the effects of our seemingly small actions regarding chemical and pesticide use in and around our homes and its impact on our Earth.

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