C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy by Jeff Sharlet, (author of the National Bestseller, The Family). (c 2010 hardback, I listened to it on cd).
I am finding it hard to write about books I have “read” by listening to them. I think, “oh yeah, I’ll have to mention that anecdote” but there is no way to bookmark it; best I could do would be to hop out of bed (defeating the purpose of “reading” until I fall asleep) or pull over the car to make a note of the disk and track number for replay later. Mainly I have gotten the hard copy when really motivated, but I will not be doing that for this book.
Not because the book is “bad” in any way per se, but as it happens, I got to about disc 4 or 5 (out of 8) and my heart was too crushed by the revelations about “The Family” and their infiltration and indoctrination of susceptible sheep politicians and other people. Though, that said, assuming it was not on the remaining disks, much more time could have been spent on naming names and elucidating the often hidden ties between the power brokers and manipulators in the background and less long descriptive text about that pathetic excuse for a human being, Mark Sanford, and his “heroic farmer” spiel to seduce first his wife, then his mistress. I mean, it beyond laughable and way too long. Cartoons have more depth of character than he does. And yet, two seemingly bright women were seduced by his role playing. In a theoretically enlightened women’s worldview, that is troubling. But I guess not for anyone who would let Mark Sanford touch them. Or Newt Gingrich (cheated on wife #2 with an intern and I think wife #1 with wife #2 — hard to keep it all straight), or Mitch McConnell (I’m sure the wealth of his wife’s family and interaction with the United States shipping ports had nothing to do with it, but in this case God is not in the equation).
And so it goes with so many of the high minded morality preacher-politicians. Here is a list of Federal Politician Sex Scandals in the U.S. at Wikipedia. Not all of them are C-streeters, but it will take a hard copy index from the book to get the names mentioned and then cross-reference and so on. Guess I will have to build a database to manage all the data I have and will be gathering more of for my “information in the decisionmaking process” story I am developing. Things like who knows who and who owes who are at the heart of the corruption in our government. And among the most corrupt forces are those of the authoritarian theocrats on a mission from their “god” to enslave us all and bend us to their will. And this is not exaggerating. His subtitle is spot on:
The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy
The main problem, out of so so many, with fundamentalists is that they are the heroes of their own stories. They actually sincerely (well, some must be cynical power mad evil geniuses, like Karl Rove might be considered to be) believe “God” wants them to be in power; that they are anointed ones to do what they believe is “God’s will” whether they got the message through the usual “prayer” channel, or puppet-masters. It should have been the food for satire for the ages to have so many Republican candidates declared that “God wants me to be President” — especially after W.’s massive disastrous presidency, which I hope all thinking people accept as the arrogance of a drunken frat boy seeking to prove he could do more for Halliburton than his daddy did by destroying Iraq and the stability there for all time.
The part that really made it impossible for me to go on was the “mission from god” homophobes who took it upon themselves to pick UGANDA of all places, to put in laws to get rid of the gays; a policy that public sentiment would not tolerate here (yet). It has been temporarily stayed by their constitutional process, but like all that The Donald does here with his hate rhetoric, the lingering and ongoing damage of the KILL THE GAYS bill makes life more difficult under strict scrutiny for the slightest indication of support much less participation in gay rights. The law originally called for the freaking DEATH PENALTY for same sex relationships. Seriously, all the problems a country might have and these religious assholes (no pun intended) have to go to Uganda because they don’t like sexuality activity on another CONTINENT?
Three “Christian” men — with a lot of money backing them up — went to Uganda specifically to make it lawful to kill gay people. The law was modified to life in prison, which is darkly humorous since “God” gave people sex drives and putting men in prison together is certainly likely to result in same sex activity. They even wanted to make sure NO ONE GOT AWAY by adding in all kinds of provisions to actually EXTRADITE people home to kill them for same sex activities! And for good measure, added criminal penalties for any one, any country, or who knows what else might be moved to help anyone gay.
You just have to look at these details to realize that no one in Uganda would have been likely to come up with the complexity and thoroughness of gay hatred to know it was probably written by ALEC or The Family on C Street and handed over to the stooge who submitted it as a “private” bill. It was assuredly paid for processing by “Christian” money. Plus the bribe to the stooge. If I remember, I may go Google his name and see if he is (a) still living, (b) in Uganda, (c) wealthy beyond his former station.
For you youngsters, please take some time to look at the Wikipedia entry on Uganda. To be culturally literate, you should know the name Idi Amin. Damn, I thought he had been killed for his misdeeds, but no, he got to live to a ripe old age of 80 first in Libya then in Saudi Arabia. Lived like a king too I’ll wager. That is really a bitter pill to swallow. He is estimated to have killed 100,000 to 500,000 of his own people after his coup that put him in control. Furthermore, Uganda has Rwanda on it’s border, and if you don’t know about the genocide in Rwanda, that is another Wiki entry you could check – just in case you had any hope left for humanity. Incidentally, Elmore
Leonard wrote a great and terrifying fiction book (Pagan Babies) that takes place during the genocide. The odd thing about it was that it was promoted as being “wildly entertaining” which I guess it was in a way, but it was horrifying to me to learn that the extremists Hutu’s (sick of decades of second class treatment) killed the hated Tutsi’s (who won). To emphasize their differences, Hutus made sure to cut off Tutis’ feet because height is a trait that differentiated the two tribes. I’ve learned much more since then, including the usual but particularly personal raping of the Tutsi women to make babies of mixed tribes — and obviously gang raped, and no plans to provide child support as rape as genocide efforts never do. Pretty sure too, that like everywhere in the world, women are blamed for being raped and the children born of such events is hated by both tribes.
Of the top ten must read books of feminism I can recommend, one has to be Susan Brownmiller’s, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape (1975 first edition, the one I read). Her discussion of rape during war was chilling and is a fact of war too much overlooked today as well. Par for the course, women being raped garners little outrage anywhere today other than the most horrific ones that happen to be so bad, rape finally makes “newsworthy” status enough to be widely reported. Nothing gets done, rape kits still go untested. Women reporting rape are assumed to be “conniving little whores” as the latest incident (August 2016) reported as a comment by a police officer. The other thing that really truly does not get talked about is that MEN in the military get raped too, as soldiers and as civilians. My point is, that it is some kind of brutal irony, if that’s the right word, to learn of these good “Christian” fundamentalists taking time and money to go to a foreign country to implement laws to kill the gays, but they have no issue whatsoever with the ongoing constant rape that happens there and here. And don’t even get me started on their unholy alliance with the church of pedophilia.
Not that it covered on the news, but there is a lot of war zone raping going on every minute in the Middle East and among refugee camps, as well as the rest of the world ALL THE FUCKING TIME. And in addition to the three good Christians who went to Uganda to help them kill the gays, our own hated politician Jesse Helms (thankfully rotting in hell with Scalia) managed to implement a very narrow interpretation of foreign aid that denies women in a war zone, or rape victims in FOREIGN FUCKING COUNTRIES, from having any $$$$ aid to provide abortion — or for that matter, in implementation, anything for reproductive control or sex education. Because, you know, God.
And one other little side note I saw in the Rwanda article, was that BELGIUM INVADED RWANDA during WW I. You would think they had enough on their hands. It is hard to picture tiny Belgium being a colonial power, or England for that matter.But I guess they did it because Germany had colonized it previously. Which led me, naturally enough, to check on whatever happened to what I knew as the Belgian Congo as a kid. Again, hard to believe little country could do colonization, but when you read about it, obviously COMMERCIAL PRIVATE INTERESTS using the power of the nation was actually the driving force (duh) behind their move.
Okay. That’s enough depression for today. I cannot do anything to directly shake some sense into the Fundamentalists (who wouldn’t listen to a woman anyway – we must remain silent after all). But I hope that maybe my little protest against the madness of “The Family” and C Street affiliates, and all those authoritarian theocrats out there may make a small difference somewhere that can be a ripple that builds to a tsunami to stoop them from taking over our democracy. Uganda was probably a test run. They’re coming for US next.