His typical sunny optimism shines through despite the cancer that all the experts believed should have already killed him.
This stands in stark contrast to Joe Biden’s wet blanket doom-and-gloom ‘darkest days are before us’ holiday message he dropped on the nation.
His open was inspiring, but his close got the blogosphere alight.
His introductory monologue was quite long, more than we can fit in this space — but here are some highlights.
Hear the trademark optimism pouring from the very first lines.
And greetings to you, music lovers, thrill-seekers, conversationalists all across the fruited plain. It is great to have you here today. Great to be with you. Rush Limbaugh, the EIB Network, and the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Studies of All Things That Matter. Telephone number, 800-282-2882 if you want to be on the program. We’re gonna do a version of Open Line Friday today, Mr. Snerdley.
Whatever people want to call about, whatever they want to ask about, whatever they want to say anything about, let ’em have at it, since we’re not gonna be here on Friday. This is, in fact, the last program of the year for me. And, folks, I want to tell you at the outset here, to me this is a very important program.
…I want to go back… Normally, by the way, I wait until the third hour of the program. I’ve always said that I usually use the Christmas program such as this one to engage in my thank-yous and my thankfulness for the year, rather than at Thanksgiving, and I don’t know why. There’s something about Christmas, my childhood memories of it, the families getting together and the children making it what it was.
My feelings of thankfulness always surface. My feelings of great gratitude always surface at the Christmas time of year, and it’s no different this year. Now, in January of this year, toward the end of the month, I received a — you all know, but there’s something I want to say about it — stage 4, advanced lung cancer, terminal diagnosis. The objective of everybody involved was to extend life for as long as possible as enjoyably as possible.
Now, many of you have been through this — lots of you have been through this as individuals, as families — and you know what that means. Medical treatment that is designed to attack the disease as greatly as possible while maintaining a quality of life that makes it worth it. Some people can’t deal with the side effects of chemo or other forms of treatment.
Well, back in late January when I received this diagnosis — and I was shocked. I was stunned, and I was in denial for about a week. I mean, I’m Rush Limbaugh. I’m Mister Big of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. I mean, I’m indestructible. I said, “This can’t be right,” but it was. What I didn’t know at the time that I learned later in the course of the year was that I wasn’t expected to be alive today.
I wasn’t expected to make it to October and then to November and then to December — and yet here I am. Today I’ve got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today. God’s with me today. God knows how important this program is to me today, and I’m feeling natural in terms of energy, normal in terms of energy, and I’m feeling entirely capable of doing it today.
I have been blessed. I mentioned to all of you back in the early days, some time… I guess, this might have been in February. It was around, I think, either during or shortly after I had received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at this year’s State of the Union address by President Trump in the House Chamber.
He goes into an aside with some political analysis and praise for Trump’s speech blasting the so-called COVID bill, before explaining how this experience has helped him finally understand something Lou Gherig had said about his own health battle.
But I remember saying to all of you at that time that I had a little bit of understanding of something that had perplexed me for a lot of my life, and that was Lou Gehrig.
Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse, New York Yankees, set the record for consecutive games played until Cal Ripken came along decades later and broke it. And on the day that Lou Gehrig announced that he had his disease that was forcing him to retire from Major League Baseball, he said to the sold-out Yankee Stadium, “Today I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
I didn’t understand that. I mean, here’s a guy who’d just been diagnosed with the most terminal of terminal diseases, and I said, “This can’t be real. He can’t really think he’s the luckiest guy in the world. This is just something that he’s saying because it will play well.” I don’t mean to be insulting Lou Gehrig; don’t misunderstand. I’m just saying, how in the world if you’re being honest can you feel like you’re the luckiest man on the face of the earth?
His explanation of how that finally makes sense to him is a worthwhile read on its own. He says that and goes on …
My point in everything today that I’m sharing with you about this is to say thanks and to tell everybody involved how much I love you from the bottom of a sizable and growing and still beating heart, and there’s room for much more. All because I have learned what love really is during this. You know, I have a philosophy there’s good that happens in everything.
It may not reveal itself immediately, and even in the most dire circumstances, if you just wait, if you just remain open to things, the good in it will reveal itself. And that has happened to me as well in countless, countless ways. …
…Our freedom has allowed our adaptability. If disaster is coming our way, we don’t just sit there and endure it. We come up with ways to avoid it, to beat it back, to overcome it, but we don’t just sit there and accept it. And, as such, we don’t just resign ourselves to the fact that they’re living in the darkest days because we, at least to this point, still have the greatest degree of freedom of any people on earth.
Now, it’s under assault and under attack and we all know this. But I don’t believe our darkest days are ahead of us. I never have. People have been asking, “You’ve always told us you’d tell us when it’s time to panic. Is it time?” It’s never time to panic, folks. It’s never, ever gonna be time to give up on our country. It will never be time to give up on the United States.
It will never be time to give up on yourself. Trust me.
So we’re gonna do a real program today, and in the in the process of the real program I’m going to be sharing the thoughts that I want to share with you today. I’m gonna just do it at random whenever it hits me, whenever I feel it. I gotta take a break right now. I’m a little long here. We’ll be back. We will continue. Thank you so much for being with us today, and thank you for being part of this audience for 30 years, 32 years.
Whatever it is, it’s just mind-boggling.
Rush closes the year’s final show with these memorable words.
RUSH: A yearly tradition. We wrap up with Mannheim Steamroller and Silent Night, and my ongoing attempts to thank everybody in the audience — all of you — for everything you mean to me. That last call. That reminds me how much I love all of you, how much I so appreciate everything you’ve meant to me and my family.
You don’t have any idea how… I know so many people think this program has changed their lives for the better. You have no idea what you all have meant to me and my family. The day’s gonna come, folks, where I’m not gonna be able to do this. I don’t know when that is. I want to be able to do it for as long as I want to do it.
I want to, but the day will come where I’m not going to be able to, and I want you to understand that even when the day comes, I’d like to be here. ‘Cause I have this sense of needing to constantly show my appreciation for all that you have done and meant to me. So I hope you all have a great Christmas, a great New Year, and I hope that the things that are in store for all of us in the coming year are certainly better than what we have endured in 2020.
I don’t know too many people who’ve enjoyed 2020. There are probably some sickos out there who have. But 2021 has to be better. We’re gonna try to make it that way here at the EIB Network. Again, folks, thank you so much. I wish there were a way to say it other than “thank you.” You’re just the best. My family is just the best. Thank you. Merry Christmas, everybody, from all of us to all of you. Make it happen!