Rush Limbaugh, Your Vitriol Won’t Silence UsMarch 02, 2012
The nation has been dismayed by the blatantly sexist and offensive comments of talk show host Rush Limbaugh this week, when he called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” because she had the audacity to testify before Congress in favor of birth control access.
Quite frankly, I am confounded by what he said. Where is Limbaugh’s filter? Where is his reflexive sense that telling a woman she must pay for her health care by performing public sex acts is not just morally objectionable but reprehensibly wrong? This is not about mere political correctness; such extreme comments are an affront to every woman and to all people of good will. AAUW respects Limbaugh’s right to disagree with Fluke’s policy position, but his aggressive personal insults and unnecessary coarsening of the public debate are unacceptable. We will not allow such offensive commentary — clearly intended to paint all women with a scarlet letter for our reproductive choices — to silence us.
As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX this year, Limbaugh’s comments about Fluke are especially ironic. Title IX, which is well known for transforming educational opportunities for women and girls, is under attack because of its success. Without this groundbreaking civil rights law, women like Fluke might still be precluded from even attending law school. AAUW’s members have long been the most vocal guardians of the law, defending it from concerted efforts to undermine its principles. Limbaugh’s intolerant remarks about a courageous and articulate young woman show just how much we still need Title IX. It is also this kind of mean-spirited partisanship that has so many Americans disenchanted with politics.