The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. It is one of the highest civilian awards given in the United States.
The medal is awarded for “especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, or world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to government websites. Honorees are selected by the president or recommended by the Distinguished Civilian Service Award Board. The medal has been bestowed upon citizens in many fields including the arts, education and humanitarian efforts.
On February 4, during the first week of Black History Month, President Trump, in the middle of his State of the Union address, presented Rush Limbaugh, best known as a conservative talk radio host, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
When I think about the contributions of some of the African Americans who have received this award, including Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, A. Phillip Randolph, John Lewis, and Kathrine Johnson, I am perplexed by the most recent recipient. Limbaugh is well known for his ultra-conservative, right-wing, political views, but what cannot be overlooked is the radio host’s bigotry.
In 2003, Limbaugh was forced to resign from ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show because of racist remarks about black quarterbacks. Later, during the 2008 presidential campaign, he used his talk show as a platform to promote a number of racist positions, including the claim that Barack Obama, the 44th U.S. President, was not born in the United States. Obama, the country’s first African American president, was often a target of Limbaugh. If this is the type of behavior awarded with the highest civilian award, America has reached a new level of moral bankruptcy.
I’m Joe Mitchell and this is my perspective