Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cyborg Sarah

Sarah Palin is all over the news, but so far I haven't heard an informed, incisive analysis of what she means in the larger context of national politics.

Sarah Palin no accident. What created her is exactly what makes her viable today. A large and well-funded extreme Right militant Christianist movement begun some thirty years ago is just now watching its true firstborn come onto the international stage.

It isn’t that we haven’t seen Christianists (more or less) before her. We have, but they, mostly hybrids, arrived onto the political scene by stealth rather than invitation. They were a vanguard whose mission was to quietly penetrate the local levels of the Republican Party and secure the national government for a far more radicalized cohort that was, meanwhile, being cultivated in home schools and private Christian academies run by sophisticated and heavily funded evangelical and fundamentalist cults, nurtured on Christian rock, and inspired by Tim LaHaye's Left Behind visions of the Rapture.

We may have seen men and women like Karen Hughes and Ralph Reed and Gary Bauer and Sam Brownback and Kay Bailey Hutchison, but we ain’t seen nothing yet.

It isn’t that Palin herself was specifically selected from infancy to be groomed for the presidency. She wasn’t. However, of millions of seeds cast in the past three decades onto that cold theocratic ground, hers is the one that has blossomed into the most plausible perfect contender for this moment.

What’s important to notice is that she had already percolated far enough up the ranks to be both noticed and to pass the right vetting criteria. That didn't happen in a vaccuum.

What is sought is a campaigner, not a stateswoman. And what was found? Precisely the right counterpart to the Obama/Clinton muse: a very smart, beautiful, young mother simultaneously savvy about but innocent of the system she’s to destroy, simultaneously equal to but no threat to the big boys, simultaneously seductive and PTA, simultaneously Vogue and Revelation, simultaneously church-lady and moose-killer, simultaneously ethnic and white.

It might be a little far-fetched to say that in the Far Right Christianists’ collective unconscious Sarah (note the biblical name) evokes the Madonna, but I do think something of near archetypal force is being prepared for us here and woven into the candidate’s manufactured storyline. This, after all, is Karl Rove’s forte.

What we do not see, and yet must see and see clearly, is that in every hamlet, town, and city in America are dozens or hundreds or thousands of families who have been nurtured for 30 years in the bosom of intensely politicized little congregations, churches like Palin’s Wasilla Assembly of God that serve on a Sunday as a hybrid House of God and local precinct station, ready-made to serve the One God so long as he is a Republican.

What we do not see, and yet must see quickly, are the phalanxes of Christianist soldiers, graduates and soon-to-be graduates of intensely politicized Christianist day schools, home schools, bible colleges, patriot schools, and law colleges—even US military academies and Army bases. Fed a pabulum of King James and NRA, these 20- to 40-somethings have been churned out by the thousands from schools like Liberty and Patrick Henry, schools that were founded explicitly for the purpose of turning this constitutional democracy into a fundamentalist’s idea of a Christian nation.

And it isn’t just these bureaucrats. To them and to the secular right, the white supremacists, and the Freepers, add the minions of Joel’s Army who have sprung from the loins of The Promise Keepers and the wives of Eagle Forum. This is the Far Right. It isn’t their mission to listen to reason or to ponder qualifications for negotiating with the Chinese, Iranians, and North Koreans. Such arguments resonate with us but not with them.

I am saying that what dismiss as home-grown ignorance and naïveté is in fact a tightly orchestrated mindset impervious to anything outside itself, and it is legion.

Remember: We’ve seen a modest Palin prototype before, placed at the Justice Department, no less, to break the law by root out qualified Democrats for state Attorneys General and hire only those Republicans she could personally determine had truly swallowed the Kool Aid and the wafer. Her name is Monica Goodling. Asked whom she served, she answered in truth: “The President.” Unfortunately for the democracy, she was supposed to serve the Constitution.

Note the heights she attained and the mission she effected. Do you think for a second that this Monica Goodling cares whether Sarah has the “experience” necessary to assume the presidency if something happens to George McCain? Not even Sarah cares. Remember: We’re not talking qualifications that we might seek for a stateswoman. That’s the farthest thing from the minds of George McCain, Sarah Palin, and the extreme Right Christianist GOP elite.

It isn’t mere arrogant cluelessness that explains Palin’s acceptance. It’s that Palin has an undisclosed mission and it isn't ours. In a scenario in which her people talk openly of hoping to rush Armageddon, statecraft is the last thing that’s wanted or needed.

From the Matrix-like land of ultra-Right extreme Christianists, Sarah Palin is a cyborg. She looks like one of us and she’s anything but. This is a heads they win/tails we lose game.

Unfortunately, when the faithful are called to defend her, they will. Every attack we make, every point we score will be a call to arms. It is imperative that we rally more of our troops than they, and that ours are more intensely committed than theirs. We've much to do, but we must get it done.

If the Republicans win in November, it’s game over. Enter fascism unleashed. That’s what Sarah Palin is, and that what she means for the US political landscape. Today we see its mere outlines: suppression of political dissent in St. Paul; run-amok Patriot Acts; privatized concentration camps on our soil, targeted and terrorized subgroups, illegal domestic espionage, proposals to dehumanize GLBGT people, video games of conversion at gunpoint, or death; private Christianist armies; a planet subjected to unbridled greed and exploitation; shredding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If McCain wins, Sarah Palin will be his successor, and following Palin are millions more schooled in her school, steeped in her fanatic rage.


Right Wing Reader said...


You have a wonderful imagination. If you ever right a movie script, please let me know; it would be awesome! Thanks for the continued entertainment!

PICO said...

Hey RWR! You're so welcome. Glad to amuse.

Are you over your tanty? Are you ready now to dispense some verifiable facts to shore up your neo-fascist wet dreams? (Key word: verifiable.)

Say, what do you make of Joel's Angels? I want to hear what a real Jesus-loving Christian thinks about this phenom.

Anonymous said...

No need to get nasty Pico. And I didn't have a "tanty." I run a few blogs and was busy with campaign stuff. The results were quite pleasing I might add.

I have all kinds of verifiable facts. Which ones would you like me to share?

I'm not familiar with Joel's Angels. I'm guessing that's because we experience different parts of the American culture.

Right Wing Reader said...

Sorry about being anonymous. I hit the wrong button.

PICO said...

Good morning, RWR.

Re: facts and tanties, see "Real Men Hate Facts" to refresh your memory.

As a matter of record, you huffed off at exactly the point at which I asked for facts to back up your myriad loony assertions--such as saying that most states require unions.

I'm sorry to break it to you, RWR, but your world is built on Faux News, old grudges, and Freeperville. You haven't got the moxey to research what you're told for yourself. You're a perfect candidate for a mob because you're so easy to manipulate! You actually believe everything some other angry Rightwinger tells you.

That's all fine with me. Live in a tree and blow spit bubbles for all I care. Where I draw the line is that you want to control every move everyone else makes, based on your personal idea of religion.

Here's a thought for your day: "You can be sure that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates everyone you do."

Joel's Angels? Maybe you should Google 'em. They're your God Squad, armed and loaded. Very Hitlerian, and I use the term advisedly. You're gonna love 'em.

Right Wing Reader said...

Wow, you know nothing about me yet so judgmental. I guess I'm hitting nerves.:) I'm used to this and it really is the best of what I do. When people can't refute me logically and coherently, they attack me personally. It just builds my case that liberals have nothing on which to stand in comparison.

I googled Joel's Angels and it bought up a bunch of videos. I haven't the time for foolishness Pico. Let's discuss something meaningful. Back to my tree... :)