Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Missouri wants to honor right-wing radio talker Rush Limbaugh? Why not honor Jesse James? He was a native son -- notorious and conservative, too

Rush Limbaugh


A Missouri lawmaker is proposing the state designate a day to honor native son Rush Limbaugh, who left a large, right-wing mark over a 32-year career in broadcasting and died last week of lung cancer. State Rep. Hardy Billington (R-Poplar Bluff) is leading the effort to honor Limbaugh in Jefferson City, the state capital. From a report at


Jesse Woodson James (September 5, 1847 – April 3, 1882) was an American outlaw, bank and             train robber, guerrilla, and leader of the James–Younger Gang. Raised in the "Little Dixie" area of         western Missouri, James and his family maintained strong Southern sympathies. He and his                     brother Frank James joined pro-Confederate guerrillas known as "bushwhackers" operating in                 Missouri and Kansas during the American Civil War. As followers of William Quantrill and                     "Bloody Bill" Anderson, they were accused of committing atrocities against Union soldiers and             civilian abolitionists, including the Centralia Massacre in 1864.

        After the war, as members of various gangs of outlaws, Jesse and Frank robbed banks,                         stagecoaches, and trains across the Midwest, gaining national fame and often popular sympathy            despite the brutality of their crimes. The James brothers were most active as members of their own         gang from about 1866 until 1876, when as a result of their attempted robbery of a bank in                     Northfield, Minnesota, several members of the gang were captured or killed. They continued in crime for several years afterward, recruiting new members, but came under increasing pressure from law enforcement seeking to bring them to justice. On April 3, 1882, Jesse James was shot and killed by Robert Ford, a new recruit to the gang who hoped to collect a reward on James' head and a promised amnesty for his previous crimes. Already a celebrity in life, James became a legendary figure of the Wild West after his death.

Today, we would call Jesse James a "domestic terrorist." But he was "a celebrity in life and a legendary figure in death." And as a Confedeate sympathizer and product of "little Dixie," he almost certainly was a conservative -- likely a racist. Heck, sounds like he needs to be honored in his home state.

Jesse James

It's not like Missouri has a shortage of people to honor. The state has produced Harry Truman,             Walter Cronkite, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Chuck Berry, Brad Pitt, Sheryl Crow, John                             Goodman, Dick Van Dyke, Kathleen Turner, T.S. Eliot, Burt Bacharach, and many others. All of             these people were talented (as was Limbaugh, in his way), but these folks generally served to                enlighten, to engender respect for others, to act with dignity, to advance society. Limbaugh fell way short in that                 category.

        Back to that question: Was Rush Limbaugh good for America? We'll take a closer look shortly.

        As for me, I would like to see an honor for the Doobie Brothers' Michael McDonald, who is from St.                Louis. For one, I've long loved the Doobies' music --from "Listen to the Music," to "Long Train              Running" and "China Grove," to "Black Water," and "What a Fool Believes." But I consider                    McDonald's "Takin it to          the Streets" to be one of the best songs of the past 40 years or so.

We'll honor McDonald in our own way. Here are the Doobie Brothes and a live version of "Takin it         to the Streets." 

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