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Remember when fascism was funny? 

Al Fonzi laments "the coarsening of American politics ... from which recovery is [unlikely]" ("Preferring mosquitoes to politics," May 10). He is correct. Democracy is on the ropes, bleeding, and almost out. He then wonders how we got here.

To trace the spring of this poison is simple: Rush Limbaugh.

When Limbaugh hit the air, I was young and naive. I thought he was funny. He certainly wasn't "politics." People didn't talk about each other this way.

Who labels women seeking basic human rights "FemiNazis"? Who attacks the homeless for being homeless, and the mentally ill for being mentally ill?

We were always taught to value and cherish our democracy. But here comes Limbaugh, and he absolutely hates it.

I never dreamed in my wildest that anyone would take him seriously. And they really didn't. But his entertainment was gold. And he spawned a thousand little Limbaughs all across the land, each preaching about how democracy sucks, and all of our fellow citizens suck, too.

Soon this morphed into Fox News, and ultimately the man in the White House, who is simply another clone of Limbaugh.

Does it surprise Fonzi that such an aggressive assertion of fascism would create a backlash in a liberal democracy? That Americans, seeing their country under attack, would respond with equal venom?

I invite Fonzie to denounce Limbaugh, to denounce the fascist news channel, and to plead with those he influences to turn around before it is too late.

He speaks often of his military service. He swore an oath to defend the liberal, egalitarian, democratic principles of this country.

She could use him now.

Sean R. Shealy

San Luis Obispo

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