MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
After 13 years of editing BuzzFlash, few grotesque comments of the right wing rattle me. By 2012, cynicism is a more likely bedfellow than astonishment. After all, BuzzFlash began in 2000, at the dawn of the new millenium – with optimism that the promise of a new age would herald an age of economic prosperity for the many and the flourishing of democracy.
But the latter was quickly dowsed by the theft of the election by the Supreme Court in 2000 (with Republican voter suppression primarily through "caging" in Florida allowing the robbery of democracy to occur – remember that Al Gore won the popular vote by 540,000 votes). The former, economic prosperity, quickly became a fast track to increased gluttonous wealth for the few, with the poor and a withering middle class left to wither on the vine.
And nothing much has changed –- in fact it has deteriorated – since that rare 1000 year symbolic moment of promise.
But Todd Akin's biologically bizarre statement about the diabolic notion of "legitimate rape" did me in. Put aside for the moment that Akin's obtuse and fundamentally heinous notions of rape had their origins, in part, from Nazi concentration camp experiments, as we noted yesterday.
When individuals or groups are in deep emotional stress, fighting for supremacy of power, they turn to fictional and mythic constructs that they present as fact. (Just look at the Aryan myths of the Mein Kampf.) These mistruths, however macabre and bizarre, are used to justify their clinging to power.
In an age when women have been emancipated, to some degree, to pursue positions of power and privilege historically preserved for men (although this too has its glass ceilings), white men who have ruled American in almost every field, including corporations and government, are threatened in their guts about power sharing.
As far as the violent crime of rape, there is no greater gender control than to dehumanize a woman into a receptacle for a man's sexual urges, and to force her to accept the semen of any man if it leads to fertilization.
But more than that, Akin symbolizes the entire white male assault on the notion of equality in a democracy. All of the "others" are a threat: women who seek to have careers; blacks who take positions formally only held by white males; non-Christians who believe in other values besides money; the poor who seek a share of the economic pie; the elderly who seek to stay out of poverty in their senior years – and of course a black president of the United States.
The list goes on and on, but the fear of the white male is fundamentally one of power sharing and sense of potency. For most Republicans, the goal is to use any means possible – including openly acknowledged voter suppression – to maintain a white male Christian power structure.
Robert Koehler, whose commentaries appear on BuzzFlash, just wrote: "A patriarchal, dominance-obsessed sexuality permeates the most deeply entrenched institutions of American society. Values are changing, but opposition to it is fierce, because for many of those committed to the fixed beliefs of the past, change — which includes women’s rights, indeed, their full humanity — is a loss of raw power. For some, the unconscious metaphor for this is emasculation."
Democracy in the United States was born of a revolution to create a new form of government, as Abraham Lincoln declared, "of the people, by the people, for the people."
Todd Akin's ante-diluvian notions represent a broader assault than just against the rights, safety and well-being of women; they are a raw insight into the thinking of those who seek to rule the United States, unvarnished, in Akin's case, by the lies necessary to attract votes from a public whose vast majority believes in the notion of one person/one vote.
Akin's provided one service: he revealed through his shocking pronouncement that this election is not about what is best for America; it is about what is necessary to restore full power to the white Christian male.