Palin: The Alaskan Taliban
The core characteristic of a Taliban is that he is a professional religious "believer". That is, he makes a living by pretending that he "believes" in paradise, etc. The core characteristic of Sarah Palin is that she is a professional religious "believer". That is, she makes a living by pretending that she believes in paradise, etc.
The key word in the above statements, that differentiates a Taliban and Palin from other (ordinary) "believers", is the word professional. An ordinary "believer" makes a living by working, for example, as a construction worker, etc. As for the term "believer", in quotation marks, it means that, assuming that humans are born with the potential of rational thought, no human believes (believes without quotation marks) that if he or she is run over by a car he or she will end up intact in paradise (or Hell), etc. [See my ZNet Commentary of June 12, 2007].
To be a good professional, one has to be "marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion" to his vocation. The part in quotation marks of the preceding phrase is the definition of a "fanatic", according to the dictionary of "Merriam-Webster's 11th". Thus, the Taliban and Palin could be described as fanatical professional "believers".
[Parenthesis: The word "fanatic" derives from the Latin word "fanum", which means temple. In the form "fanatici" it was used by the Romans to describe the priests of the temples for the Goddesses Isis and Cybele. Two very interesting Deities, especially Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods, who was considered as the embodiment of motherhood. She was thought to be the mother not only of Gods and of men but also of beasts (wolves and bears included). It was mandatory that her priests self mutilate their bodies by castrating themselves on entering her service in the temples. Isis, the other Deity, was famous for the orgiastic "Mysteries" carried out in her temples that resembled the orgiastic "Mysteries" carried out at Eleusis, a few miles away from where this is written. In the English language the word "fanatic", during the sixteenth century, meant "mad" or "possessed by a deity". In the seventeenth century it took the sense of "excesively enthusiastic, especially about religious matters".]
Beyond this core characteristic of "professionalism", the Taliban and Palin share other "qualities" that are quite interesting. Let us refer briefly to some of them:
- The Taliban spend a (strangely) great part of their lives delving into the sexual and the reproductive behavior of others, especially of women, and dictating to them what they think is the correct behavior, many times using violence. Palin spends a (strangely) great part of her activities delving into the sexual and the reproductive behavior of others. For example, "[a]t an Alaska Municipal League gathering in Juneau in January ... Ms Palin walked in, delivered a few remarks and left for an anti-abortion rally [New York Times (NYT), Sept.3,'08]", thus insulting the mayors of Alaska and preferring, instead, to pontificate at the rally on the use of condoms or the practice of abstinence (abstinence?).
Or, as another example, take the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin attends, which is promoting a program that promises to convert homosexuals to heterosexuals through the power of Jesus Christ and prayer! Also, last summer Palin fired John Bitney, a high school classmate "after learning that he had fallen in love with another longtime friend" (Ibid).
One wonders, how would Palin feel if one were to delve into her reproductive behavior. For example, Johann Sebastian Bach had 7 children by his first wife, who died relatively young, and 13 children by his second wife. In Greece, during my grandparents' time, the late 19th and early 20th century, my grandmother had 12 children, so did most of the women of her time. Of course, at the time there were no condoms available at the mountainous Greek villages. It seems that statistically 12 children is the average for condomless life. Palin has 5 children (and she is 44). Is there a condom factor in the equation? If so, how about the dictates of the Bible? As for violence by Palin's religious fellow travelers, the murderous incidents at some US abortion clinics is not very far from Taliban behavior.
- The Taliban are of the opinion that people should read only the (sacred) texts approved by them. Palin is of the opinion that people should not read books that are "morally and socially objectionable to her" (i. e.: Palin). Mary Ellen Eamons, the librarian at Wasilla (Palin's town), decided to resist "all efforts at censorship". "Palin fired Ms. Emmons..." [William Yardley, NYT, Sept. 2, '08]. I wonder if among the books found objectionable to Palin was one, a passage from which decorum does not allow me to print in this article, but which might interest some conservative ladies. [The reader can judge for himself by referring to Ezekiel 23:20, King James Version]. Also, given that Obama has defended Palin's "strong belief in religion" [The Associated Press, Sept. 10, '08], it is reasonable to ask if he agrees with the aforementioned passage from the Good Book.
Furthermore, it is reasonable to expect that for Palin a book that declares: "What is it the bible teaches us? Rapine [sic], cruelty,and murder" should not be in the Wasilla library, and its author should be condemned as blasphemous. The phrase is from the work "The Age of Reason". The author: Thomas Paine, who "helped create America".
- The Taliban use violence in an almost psychotic way. They can execute a woman because her burka [the loose garment that covers the entire body] did not have the "proper" length [we should not forget that they are professional religious "believers"]. In front of me I have an Associated Press photo of September 11, '08. The caption of the photo reads: "Ruby Riddle, the city hostess of Fairbanks, Alaska, laughs at a campaign button while waiting in line to attend a welcome rally for Gov. Sarah Palin..." The button is the notorious one that depicts the head of a pit bull, with lipstick on its mouth. Above the head the title is: PALIN (big letters), McCain (small letters).
If I could address Ms. Ruby Riddle (who I assume is an honest person) I would say this: " Ms. Riddle, the lethal violence symbolized by the pit bull and the lipstick symbolizing Sarah Palin is not a laughing matter. The violence of the Taliban is insignificant (a few dozen or a few hundred executed women) compared to the hundreds of thousands (or better millions) of men , women , and children murdered by past "benevolent" US presidents. Harry Truman, the haberdasher hero of Ms. Palin's, was responsible for the murder of 160,000 people in my country, Greece, in the late 1940s. [You can verify this by checking the biographies of General James Van Fleet (US Army) and of "Wild" Bill Donovan, the grandfather of the CIA. See also my ZNet Commentary of June 16, 1999]. Let us skip the millions of dead in Vietnam. Bush the First buried alive almost 200,000 Iraqi soldiers during the first Gulf war. Clinton killed 500,000 infants through the embargo in Iraq, plus an unknown number of Iraqis through bombing. Bush the Second, by now, has managed to kill more than one million people in Iraq. Ms. Palin tells us that she is of 'presidential timber', ready to continue the task that God assigned to the US presidents. Again, the Taliban are 'boy scouts' compared to the above 'leaders'".
- The Taliban ruled their fellow humans through fear. Palin rules in Alaska through fear. "People were afraid to vote 'no' against her," said Lyda Green, a state [of Alaska] senator and a Republican. [Kirk Johnson, NYT, Sept. 4, '08]. Ms. Chase, an Alaskan, says: "I'm still proud of Sarah, but she scares the bezeebers out of me." [NYT, Sept. 13, '08].
No need to go on with the analogy "Taliban-Palin". Besides, authoritarians, whether theocratic or other, are apt to have similar behaviors in order to rule. Yet, there are a couple of differences between the Talibans and Palin. The first is sartorial: the Taliban insist on the burka. Palin is a member of the Christian West, so she follows her peers concerning her wardrobe. The second refers to hair style: We cannot be sure of what is the ladies' hairdo under the burka, but the beehive hairdo of Palin is all too obvious.
[Interesting Note: In the late 1950s in Athens the media for weeks were trumpeting the unbelievable case of a young woman with a beehive hairdo. It seems that this hair style is a bit cumbersome to maintain. So, she kept it "as is" for long periods. It so happened that at some point a couple of cockroaches found a comfortable shelter in the young lady's beehive hairdo and also started digging in the skinny floor of their nest, at which point she discovered the intruders. Of course, the case in Athens is not unique. Visitors in the Paris museums can see some long needles that aristocratic ladies, of the Louis the 16th era, used as instruments to scratch their scalps, because of the lice nestled there, without ruining their beehive hairdo. End of Note.]
So, what does the Taliban-Palin analogy mean? It means that she really is of "presidential timber". Is Palin a (possible) future perpetrator of aggression and violence as described above? Yes! [So is Obama!]. Of course, Palin will be accountable, but she is only a (well-decorated) facade? Is it then her "handlers" that will be responsible for the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children who will be murdered (possibly) in Iran, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Ossetia, etc, etc? The "handlers" (basically the US elites) are accountable and in a way responsible. But, then, who is really responsible? It is the US population that are ultimately really responsible!
But what does the term "US population" mean? It means that, as in any population, 65 percent of the total are decent people who wish to live in peace and be happy. The rest, the 35 percent, is a "strange" part of society that consider themselves "conservative" (i.e. cryptofascist) who support the Reagans, the Bushies, and now Palin. Whether they are born this way or are "made" is irrelevant. The important thing is that they dominate the world mostly by means of military power and religion. In the US the percentage of these "strange" people might be even less. Given that half of the people do not bother to vote and that the "conservatives" gain the elections with about half of votes it means that the pit bull supporters are around 25 percent of the total.
It is a pity that the good people in America, who are in the majority, let the pit bulls, the Reagans, the Bushies, the Cheneys, the Roves, to almost destroy their culture. And their culture can be found in the American University with its international body of teachers, can be found in the Martyrs of Haymarket, can be found in the Wobblies, can be found in Mother Jones and in Emma Goldman, can be found in people like Noam Chomsky, can be found in America's writers and in its engineers, can be found in its construction workers and in its honest ordinary people as in the rest of the world.
Can this majority of honest people resist the pit bulls? Yes, they can! Is a non-violent Resistance possible? Yes, it is! And it is not only the pit bulls that should receive the message but also the minority of "strange" humans.