United ditto heads

When I heard the news earlier this week that Rush Limbaugh was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, I immediately went back to the day my father was diagnosed.

I remember talking with our family doctor when he pulled me aside and said, “it’s not good news.”

Dad found out he had the terminal disease in November 1996 and died six weeks later.

He went fast.

Everyone knew him as “Buddy,” and he quit smoking after he suffered a heart attack 10 years earlier. He had switched from cigarettes to a pipe for more of a sophisticated look.

I have memories of him cleaning and banging the tobacco out of the pipe, and he looked like it gave him peace and comfort to blow smoke rings in the air.

But it killed him.

The complications took over, and the lung cancer had no regard for time stolen from his kids and grandchildren. It was cruel.

When I heard the announcement that Rush has the same cancer, I just shook my head.

I’ve read Rush’s books, wore his loud and audacious ties at conventions, and still enjoy his show when I can.

Like him or not, he has transformed talk radio. I can’t think of anyone else who can sit and talk for three hours and provide amazing analysis, poignant humor, and eye-opening opinions.

Rush doesn’t need guests to draw in listeners. According to numbers, about 15 million people tune in to his show each day from noon to 3 p.m. Only Sean Hannity comes close in second place, and his audience is in prime time. Imagine the number of listeners if Rush’s show aired from 8-11 p.m.

Although I have never met Rush, similar emotions hit me when I heard my dad had cancer. It was like a sucker punch. Buddy was my father, but Rush has been a political mentor over the years.

His opinions and predictions are always on target, and I usually agree with him.

I can remember when I was a general news assignment reporter, I always tuned into his show as I drove to and from my assignments.

The first time I heard his show – which debuted in 1988 – I thought I was listening to myself. “Finally, someone who says what I think.”

Only he did it with much more intelligence and insight.

Rush was a trendsetter and made listening to talk radio cool. The Excellence in Broadcasting Network was genius. If a conservative candidate wanted to win a national election, he or she needed Rush’s stamp of approval.

And once Rush coined a nickname, it usually stuck. Remember “Dingy Harry” or “Dick Turban?”

For years, Democrat talking heads have tried to counter his popularity, but they failed to be as entertaining, and they couldn’t always back up their beliefs with accurate information. That’s why his show is so popular. People resonate with what he says.

The last few days on Twitter have been disturbing.

People with no moral values or emotions have been celebrating the news that Rush faces a difficult road. I saw tweets from a person who said he will dance for joy when the Golden EIB Microphone is turned off for good when Rush dies. And there have been more heartless comments that are cold, callous and disgusting.

Whether you agree with his views or not, I cannot comprehend how a person can entertain such hatred.

I never once agreed with Barack Obama’s policies, and I breathed a sigh of relief when his eight years in the Oval Office ended. Both my wife and I lost our jobs under his aimless administration, but I would never be joyous if something terrible happened to him. I hope one day he sees the error of his political ways (long shot I know.)

Rush was, and still is, successful in bringing a debate to the floor. I believe many who don’t agree with him still listen because I hear them refer to him often on talk shows. They would love to have his audience and platform, but they know they can’t because their ideals don’t relate to the general population.

If liberals had any good argument to make, don’t you think they would have a successful show to make their case instead of relying on the mainstream media, or as Rush calls them, the “drive by media?”

There is no place for hatred and death wishes from any side of the aisle.

Rush faces a tough battle, and WE ALL need to pray for him and his family. I don’t want him to go through what Dad did.

At Tuesday’s State of the Union address, First Lady Melania Trump presented Rush, who was invited to attend, with the Medal of Freedom. Bravo, Mr. President. Class act.

I am blessed and honored to have been able to listen to his insights all these years, and if truth be told, many on the other side probably agree with me.

We are praying for you El Rushbo – and I hope we are all united Ditto Heads today.

Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.