O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?
1 Corinthians 15:55
Death be not proud, though some have called thee/ Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;/
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow/
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me… One short sleep past, we wake eternally/
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
— John Donne
On February 17, 2021, America lost one of its greatest men. In an age of pigmies, Rush Limbaugh was a giant—in character, in charisma, in vision. America is a permanently different country because of him, and no man earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom more than Limbaugh did.
As the thought leader of the conservative movement for decades—nay, as almost the creator of that movement qua movement—Rush Limbaugh had all the qualities that make a man an inspirational and successful leader. He is the perfect example of the American dream. He dropped out of college and his family thought him a loser, a failure. But he had a creative vision, an original idea, and he would not give up on achieving it.
Through wicked, anti-American presidents, corrupt administrations, and utterly fraudulent elections, Rush Limbaugh was always optimistic. He told the truth all the louder when the leftist mob howled in execration. He laughed all the harder when the leftist crazies tried to destroy him. He kept our hope alive in some of the darkest political and societal moments. His faith in God, justice, freedom, and the American spirit was unbounded. He was not only the Mayor of Realville, he was the general who led us into battle against Marxism again and again, especially when we seemed to have lost the most. Donald Trump was right to call Limbaugh a legend.
I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know of and admire Rush Limbaugh. My father listened to him every day in the car, and when he drove us places I would listen and try to understand and repeat the arguments I heard Rush making. My mother told me about how, when she was a teacher at a leftist school, she would sit in her car on her lunch break and listen to Rush Limbaugh’s show.
“He kept me sane,” she would say. “He reminded all of us conservatives who felt isolated that we were not alone. He gave us hope.”
When I was a young teenager, my siblings and I would listen to Rush’s parodies, memorize them, and sing them over and over around the house (God bless my mother). To this day, I cannot sing This Land Is Your Land and Sleigh Ride without great concentration, because my brain is wired to This Land WAS Your Land (Bill Clinton) and Forward! (Obama).
My youngest sister grew up reading his Rush Revere books. One of the first apps I got when I received my first iPhone was the Rush Limbaugh app. The only magazine that I have read consistently throughout high school and college is the Limbaugh Letter. Every college break, I look forward to catching up on them.
I watched Donald Trump award Rush the medal of freedom and cheered, teary eyed, just as if I were present in the room with them. And yesterday, when I heard he was dead, I felt (as Rush’s wife put it) a void in my heart. I never met the man, but he was a significant part of my life. The millions of listeners Rush had over the years all felt as if he were their friend.
The greatest tribute to a man’s memory comes from how deeply those who knew him mourn him. I think we can confidently say that few men in America (or even the world) would be mourned as deeply, or as sincerely, as Rush Limbaugh.
As I pray for him, and for those closest to him, I remember how he used to say jokingly, “Rush Limbaugh, talent on loan from God.” It may have been a jest to him, and we may have laughed right along with him, but he spoke the truth.
Rush Limbaugh was a gift to America from God. Unlike so many famous people today, he is irreplaceable.
There is only one Rush Limbaugh, and America will miss him dearly.