While driving home from Charlotte after the holidays, I caught a bit of the Rush Limbaugh radio show on the AM radio. Admittedly not a big fan of Mr. Limbaugh, I wanted to listen to see for myself why this self-proclaimed voice of the moral majority has such a huge following.
He proceeded to field a call from a gentleman from Atlanta, who asked Mr. Limbaugh why conservative talk show hosts have completely ignored the fact that oil is a finite resource and that our government has dropped the ball on promoting alternative fuels. After responding "Isn't everything on the planet finite?" Mr. Limbaugh cuts this guy off the air, saying that the man apparently did not want to have a competitive dialogue.
The question obviously touched a nerve. He kept on talking about how our technology has allowed us to use fossil fuel more efficiently and that with the recent decline in gas prices, liberal environmentalists are just crying wolf.
Then I noticed that my low fuel light had come on. At the next exit, I pumped exactly $19 of gas into my car. While I was finishing up, I noticed that I was surrounded by three SUVs. Their drivers were pumping more than $30-worth of premium petroleum each into their oversize gas-guzzlers.
At that point, I began realize why Mr. Limbaugh has such a big following.
You see, people like being told that they are doing the right thing, even when they are not. Limbaugh tells his listeners that our irresponsible gasoline consumption is just a part of the American way--that it cannot and will not be taken away by environmental extremists and eco-idealism. He attempts to justify this mentality by discouraging his listeners from asking questions about the gas still flowing into their cars.
The fact remains that we are lagging far behind Europe when it comes to fuel conservation and overall sustainability of the environment. If we hold on to this "Manifest Destiny" attitude, we will be the only nation left out in the cold when fossil fuel runs dry. And a government with such little foresight will no doubt be the downfall of the real American way. This country was built on frugality and simplicity. Fuel conservation, along with finding an alternative fuel source, is absolutely necessary for the future of the United States.
Perhaps Mr. Limbaugh feels that he is speaking for millions of Americans when he talks unapologetically about his version of American values. Well, he doesn't speak for me. I believe that real American values are shaped by how you live your life and how you relate to others--those like you and unlike you. It is definitely not shaped by these moral evangelists on radio or cable TV. Limbaugh and friends preach the goodness of their conservatism and the evils of the "liberal media"--the same "liberal media" that allows them to showcase their talent of telling people that "Things are great, so don't question authority."
That's Mr. Limbaugh's America: a country built on hypocrisy ... and possibly pain medication.