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The Context Syndrome

Rush Limbaugh made headlines all across the country earlier this year when he said the following…

…but I’ve been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don’t want them to succeed.

The portion in bold is what garnered the most attention. All of a sudden, it was national news that Rush Limbaugh wanted the country to go to the proverbial hell in a handbasket. He was wishing economic and social disaster on the entire country, dooming us all to the same fate. Why, that un-American windbag! How dare he utter such a thing?

Qualifying statement: I’m a conservative. However, I dislike Rush Limbaugh intensely. I find his show boring (I haven’t ever been able to sit through an entire show) and he comes across as extremely arrogant, in my opinion.

That being said, to claim Limbaugh was un-American in his statement is to completely misrepresent what he said. Like Limbaugh, I do not want Obama’s policies to succeed, while still wishing the best for my country. I stand in diametric opposition to many of his beliefs. I would like to see his ideas defeated because I believe they are not in the best interests for this country.

Of course, it seems that many forget that throughout Bush’s presidency, many on the left wished his policies ill will also…

I certainly hope he doesn’t succeed.

This statement was made by James Carville (pictured above next to Limbaugh), a well-known Democratic strategist. It was made on 9/11/01, only minutes before the terrorist attacks were carried out but, understandably, went largely unreported. Regardless, the left’s attacks on Bush and his policies continued throughout the entirety of his tenure.

I don’t think Carville was wrong for what he said. He not only has a right to say it but I’m positive that he intended no wrong to happen to our country. He was opposed to what Bush wanted to do policy-wise, the same thing Limbaugh meant when he said he doesn’t want Obama to succeed.

Now some on the left will argue that Limbaugh really did mean harm or bad fortune for the country. While those who think that are certainly entitled to their opinion, they couldn’t be more wrong. The same goes for those on the right who think Carville is a bitter old man who wanted nothing more than to see the entire country fail during Bush’s presidency.

The problem here is context. Both men have been taken severely out of context. Neither one wished harm upon the country and it’s entirely obvious when taking the quotes in context. The problem is not them but the context syndrome.


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