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Politics

To Rush Limbaugh people with autism are 'not well.' He's wrong -- and vile

By Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

It is wise, if you value basic human decency, to ignore Rush Limbaugh.

The ever-outraged right-wing talk radio host has gurgled angrily for decades now, like an aggrieved and sulfurous geyser. His cruelty gives his fans a rush of adrenaline they presumably can't find elsewhere.

For people like me, Limbaugh is white noise in the whitest sense of the word, a patriarchal old man who puts people like himself atop the power structure and won't allow anyone different -- a woman, a person of color, a person with a disability, an LGBT person -- inconvenience him in the least.

It's Limbaugh's world, you see. It's a world of white, male dominance, a world where people like him don't have to think about the words they use or whether something they say might offend someone.

And as much as he should be ignored, the size of his audience and the power he still wields in conservative circles makes it important to occasionally look in and understand the vile sauce many Americans marinate in.

So consider what Limbaugh said on his Friday show about Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who was recently named Time magazine's Person of the Year.

 

Limbaugh was responding to critics of President Donald Trump who were rightfully appalled that the president mocked Thunberg on Twitter and suggested she "work on her Anger Management problem."

The host said: "The first thing to notice about Greta Thunberg is that she's 16 years old. She claims she has Ansperger's type -- Ausperger's -- or autism -- Asperger's -- some kind of problem in that area."

He continued: "So she's out tweeting and politicizing, and she is free to lie and say whatever she wants to say about climate change and who's responsible for it. And nobody is permitted to question her, you see, because she has -- what did they call it? She is in the autism spectrum, so you can't disagree, you can't question, because she's not well."

She's not well. That's what set me off. While you can pick and choose the offensive aspects of those comments, the casual remark that Thunberg is "not well" highlights Limbaugh's reckless disregard for anyone who isn't just like him.

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