It was 1989. I was driving home from a court appearance in Los Angeles, and stuck in the afternoon rush hour. I had recently become a radio talk show fan, and was listening to the KFI drive time afternoon show, at that time hosted by Tom Leikus (not sure of the spelling), and he had a guest on his program. I’d never heard of the guy, and this guest appearance was to promote the show that was coming on the following Monday to take the place of a talk show host that had just resigned his job at KFI. It was the first time I had heard Rush, and I was intrigued.
That experience began what I called my “Rush” addiction. I loved listening to his show. He said what I thought, and he did it with a humor and energy that was addicting. Finally, there was a voice to the political cause in which I believed that inspired me to further action. Day after day, I listened, in my house, in my car, in my office. A lot of my less conservative friends told me I should ignore Rush. His brand of conservatism was just too divisive. For me, it was inspirational. This, I thought, is who Republicans ought to be. The left hated him because he inspired action in conservatives like me. That, I thought, is what was necessary in the post-Reagan era.
I was active in local politics then, had run for school board and city council in my town at the time and lost both elections. I had decided that I wasn’t going to run for any office again. Then, sometime later in 1989, Rush was talking about how conservatives tend not to run for public office. They spend their time raising their families and earning a living, he said. They don’t have time for politics. That was unfortunate, because we need conservatives in offices everywhere. Since I already had an interest, I thought, I shouldn’t give up. I will keep up the fight locally.
Two or three months later, I received a recorded tape from GOPAC, commentary from Newt Gingrich, in which he said if conservatives wish to advance the agenda, they had to challenge Democrats everywhere. My local state senator was a Democrat, and everybody told me he was “unassailable,” he will win no matter who ran against him. I decided, because of the advice of Rush and Gingrich, that I would take on the effort. I ran against Senator Bob Presley, and gave him a run for his money. I lost, but not by much, and I did much better than everyone predicted. That run was the first step of my later political efforts that led to 14 years in the California Legislature. And it was because of a spark lit by Rush Limbaugh.
Yesterday, we lost that spark. We knew it was coming. He told us. He was, after all, human. He had his flaws, as we all do. He made some mistakes along the way, but he had the optimism, positive attitude, intelligence and humor that the conservative movement needed. I listened every day that I could. His thoughts, his ideas, his style, and his commentary helped me know which way to go in the winding path of politics. The conservative movement owes him a debt that can never be repaid.
The left knows it too. They could not respect his death. They could not leave a day for mourning. They had to attack his legacy. They won’t stop, because they can’t. They have to taint his name and his work, because that work will serve as an inspiration to millions like me, and, like he did in his life, it will continue to transform American in a way that the left can not tolerate. He was not hateful, he was not racist, he was not misogynist, but he didn’t cave to the language or harangues of the left, and they couldn’t stand it. They had to completely misconstrue what he was saying, or their lie would be exposed.
I never got to meet Rush. I never got to thank him personally for the role he played in my life, and the inspiration he provided to me as an elected official. I know I am not the only one. My children have told me that losing Rush was like losing a part of their childhood. They listened to him every day for years. His ideas informed their politics.
The fight for liberty lives on. We all have our time on this earth, and we pass along the ideas that have made our country great from generation to generation. Rush kept liberty alive in this country,and those that follow us in this country will probably never know exactly how much he did for us and for the generations to come. He will be a light for all of us, and for liberty, for generations.
Thank you Lord for granting him the time he had on this Earth, and thank you Rush for the inspiration you were to people like me. I know it was your time. I just wish it could have been more.