I Never Take the Easy Way
June 3, 2009
All right, I’m asking for it. I never learn. That’s just my nature.
What the heck am I writing about? I am writing about the fact that throughout my career I have risked alienating my strongest, staunchest supporters. How so? Take any issue where the right is solidly behind a particular cause. Here’s an example. Mind you, this is just a singular example of many times when I have lived dangerously.
Back in the late l990’s a woman fleeing Castro’s Cuba drowned, along with several other Cubans trying to escape to the “Cuban City of Miami.” Her name was Gonzales and her son’s name was Elian Gonzales. Elian survived the tragedy and was claimed by relatives who lived in the city of Miami.
This story captured the headlines for weeks. Elian’s father, back in Cuba, wanted his son to be returned there. Now that Elian’s mother was dead, the father established his rights as the boy’s father. However, the relatives in America insisted little Elian belonged to them and should not be returned to Cuba to be raised as a Communist in Castro’s schools.
There was a long standoff. The father came to Florida and waited for his son to be released from the home of his in-laws. No one was budging from their position in the little bungalow in “Little Havana.” Authorities were concerned that there could be fatalities if they attempted to storm the house in broad daylight. So, then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno had no choice but to order U.S. Marshals to stage a surprise raid in the middle of the night. The raid was successful and little Elian was spirited away to his father where, at last account, he is growing into a fine, happy, healthy young man.
Why do I belabor you with a story you may have forgotten and probably grew tired of when it was on the front page of every newspaper for weeks and weeks? That story best illustrated what I meant when I said I never take the easy way. You see, unlike my many epigones, people on the right who act seemingly in concert and are rewarded by receiving the kudos of their many fans, I took a position I believed in. I thought the boy rightfully belonged with his father in Cuba and said so.
As a result, I probably alienated some of my hard core fans. And I took a brutal beating in phone calls and letters and kept hearing stuff like, “Why aren’t you a good American like Rush?” or, “From now on we are going to listen to Sean. He is not a supporter of Castro, you Red Fink!” I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
It does no good to remind those people that for many years I was about the only voice on the political right. It does no good to cite my bona fides as a long time conservative. Besides, “I don't have to show you my stinkin’ badges,” as the Mexican bandit says to Walter Huston and Humphrey Bogart in “Treasure of Sierra Madre.”
My point is that now that I have retired from my radio program I am seeing myself and my business more clearly. I never did run with the pack, not in Los Angeles, not in New York, not anywhere.
I have tried to judge each issue on its own merits. I have no interest in people who say, “You are a conservative,” “You're supposed to want to keep that Schiavo woman vegetating until hell freezes over,” “I thought you were a good conservative.”
Well, I do think I am a good conservative, but I also think I am entitled to follow the truth wherever it leads. And yes, if I had been more doctrinaire and made sure I didn’t say anything that was politically incorrect, I might have had an even more successful career. But even though I am not as handsome as I would like to be, I have no trouble looking in the mirror!