Students for a Better Missouri at the Missouri Capitol.
“Misogyny is not a Missouri value”
We received the following report from an individual at the capitol in Jefferson City today:
Twelve University of Missouri students from the group Students for a Better Missouri traveled to the Missouri Capitol today to tell Governor Nixon, Missouri State Senators and State Representatives about their disapproval of Speaker Steve Tilley choosing Rush Limbaugh for induction into the Missouri Capitol’s “Hall of Famous Missourians”. Limbaugh’s recent comments about female college student Sandra Fluke, who testified about insurance-paid birth control February 23, 2012 in the U.S. House Democratic Steering Committee, have enraged many women and men across the nation. Since making the comments about Fluke, many of Limbaugh’s radio show sponsors have stopped advertising with his program.
House Speaker Steve Tilley met with the college students in his office, but no one from the press was allowed, nor was recording or videoing allowed by the students. Speaker Tilley, who chose Limbaugh’s bust to be inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians as part of the honor of being Speaker, explained that, while he does not agree with every comment Limbaugh makes or has made, he feels his choice to include Limbaugh into the Hall of Famous Missourians is appropriate. He said Limbaugh is a Missouri native who grew up in southeast Missouri “and started with nothing, but is now the most recognized radio announcer in the nation.” Tilley said Limbaugh is very successful both on the radio as well as having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research. He said there have been other controversial figures inducted into the Hall, including Mark Twain whom Tilley called racist as well as bank robber Jesse James, but that none these inductions should be politicized and not everyone agreed with all of the inductees in the past.
One of the male students asked if the way a person is chosen for induction should be changed to avoid controversy, but Tilley did not respond to the question, instead again saying he believed his choice to induct Limbaugh was the correct choice.
Several in the group said the words, and the continued use of those words, by Limbaugh used when talking about Fluke – “slut”, “prostitute”, “whore” – were offensive and abusive to all women, and told Speaker Tilley it would be a poor reflection on the State of Missouri, and that it would seem Missouri condoned this treatment of women, if the State went forward with the induction. Tilley said Limbaugh’s comments, while unfortunate, would not deter anyone from coming to the State Capitol. One woman said she would not feel welcome in the Capitol if the bust is placed in the Hall of Famous Missourians. Tilley said that was unfortunate but did not feel it would stop any others from going to the Capitol.
When asked if he had ever called a woman a slut, Tilley said he could not remember if he had. “Maybe when I was younger I might have,” he said.
Representative Mary Still (D 25) spoke with the students and introduced them on the House Floor. She encouraged their continued participation with this and all other issues, and invited them to stop by her office any time the students went to the Capitol. One student asked Still if a bill could be introduced in the House to stop the induction of Limbaugh and Still said she’d look in to the possibility.
Governor Nixon was unavailable to speak with the students, but they spoke with Nixon’s aide and she received the students’ letter to the Governor.
Senator Kurt Schaefer, while he listened to the students about their disapproval of Limbaugh’s induction, would not comment whether he did or did not support the Limbaugh induction.
“….He said there have been other controversial figures inducted into the Hall, including Mark Twain whom Tilley called racist as well as bank robber Jesse James, but that none these inductions should be politicized and not everyone agreed with all of the inductees in the past….”
Uh, Jesse James is not, in fact, in the Hall of Famous Missourians.
Students for a Better Missouri with Representative Mary Still (D).
A letter from the students:
March 7, 2012
Students for a Better Missouri
To Whom It May Concern:
Members of students for a Better Missouri are outraged by the recent nomination of Rush Limbaugh by Missouri House Speaker, Steven Tilley, into the Hall of famous Missourians. We are demanding reconsideration by the House before honoring a man who has gained notoriety through a career polluting the public sphere with general negativity.
Rush Limbaugh financially benefits by purposely being insulting, offensive and discriminatory, and for the state of Missouri to honor such achievements is an utter disgrace.
We feel this induction would turn our hall of fame into nothing but a hall of shame. We should be honoring people who better society, not people who outwardly and purposely offend the citizens of this country.
Limbaugh would be joining the likes of mark Twain, Sacajwea, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Harry S. Truman. All of these figures are people w ho, despite any controversy surrounding their induction at the time, have undisputedly made some positive impact or significant artistic contribution to society.
By inducting Rush Limbaugh in the hall of famous Missourians, the Missouri House of Representatives is revering the dissemination of sexist, racist, misogynistic and offensive ideals.
In the words of past inductee, Mark Twain, “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.” The words of Limbaugh do not speak to a character that deserves this sort of reward or recognition.
Thank you very much.
Steve Tilley owes Dred Scott and Buck O’Neil an apology (March 6, 2012)
Rush’s Bust (March 6, 2012)
What has your representative said about honoring Rush? (March 7, 2012)
Rush Limbaugh’s bust ain’t exactly a hit in small town Missouri (March 7, 2012)