Community Voices

Letter to the Editor: Medals Aren’t Everything

An open letter to Rush Limbaugh

Dear Mr. Limbaugh,

I am sorry to hear about your illness. I watched as you accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and felt compelled to write.

I’m a native of Elverta, the sister city to Rio Linda, and have been familiar with your radio show since your days on KFBK in Sacramento. I listened as your schtick — “for those of you in Rio Linda” — caught fire, and helped pave your way to national fame and fortune. I listened as you portrayed residents of Rio Linda as ignorant, small-minded buffoons. Illiterate scofflaws with front yards adorned by cars on blocks, with pitbulls sharing their beds, and — irony alert! — as rednecks left toothless by drug addiction and amphetamine abuse.

Like most communities, Rio Linda is diverse. Yes, we may even have our share of those whom would be considered “buffoons” by some. We even have many who share your ideology. Remember those residents you would have described as spending all day sitting on their battered front porches, drinking bathtub brew from mason jars, and listening to their transistor radios? Well, they were the ones tuned in to your show, hanging on your every word. They took no offense at your mockery, considering it good natured ribbing and all in fun (he really likes us!). Many of them are hard working, salt of the earth citizens. In addition to these everyday, solid citizens, Rio Linda has raised some extraordinarily fine people. People deserving of medals. I can think of at least three, but I’ll just address one.

Dr. X is descended from immigrants. She was born and raised in Rio Linda, attended Rio Linda schools, and grew up to be a university professor and cancer researcher. She has traveled the world sharing her knowledge and is known for advances in the field of breast cancer research. She recently formed a start-up company that is researching and developing the next generation of immunotherapy treatments. She is currently being courted by multiple investors. If anyone can develop a cure for cancer, it is Dr. X. And if she does? She probably won’t get a medal. Not because she wouldn’t deserve it, but because she would generously and selflessly yield the credit to anyone and everyone who has ever helped her get to where she is today.

Her values and politics are the opposite of yours. That wouldn’t stop her from trying to do everything in her power to cure you. No hesitation, no judgment, no “thoughts and prayers.” Just humanity in action.

I’ve always hoped that she would someday enjoy mainstream national recognition. I eagerly anticipated the day that I could drop you a line regarding the legacy of a woman you might have once condescendingly included in your derisive “for those of you in Rio Linda” preface. Sadly, for both of us, I’ll never get that chance.

I guess medals aren’t everything.

Godspeed, Mr. Limbaugh.

Debbie Courtney
Elverta (Sacramento County), California 

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