Wednesday, July 15, 2009

reciverubg liberal

Sarah Palin vs. the Marquis de Sade

By Robin of Berkeley
I grew up with a mean older brother who was ten when I came on the scene.  Family lore is that Tom ran away when my mother left to deliver me.  When she returned he responded with disgust, "At least you could have brought me home a brother."

Tom's main passion in life was tormenting me.  He delighted in mocking me, scaring me, making me cry.   He'd laugh and make this strange, guttural sound when he saw my terror. As I got older, he enjoyed more menacing methods of torture, like holding me down and pretending to suffocate me.

It was easy to have access to me since my parents were usually galavanting around town with their pack of carousing adults, all of whom were in arrested development.  When my folks were around, they'd yell at him but he'd just start up again when they were gone.

After I grew up and became a psychotherapist, I learned that there was a name for Tom's behavior, sadism.  Sadists get a thrill out of being cruel and watching others suffer.   While most abusive parents are motivated by a misguided effort to socialize and control, sadistic siblings just want to have fun by inflicting pain.

I rarely think of Tom, who disowned my family years ago.  But when I reflect on what was done to Sarah Palin, I remember him and his sadism.  And I look around and see more and more Tom's,  all grown up;  but they haven't grown up, actually; they refuse to grow up and use self control and restraint.  And, alarmingly, many of them are in positions of power.

Let's call them by their true name.  When an actress calls for gang raping Palin, she's a sadist.  When people torch Palin's church with children inside, they are sadists.  When bloggers call her a c___t  and scorn her disabled son, they are being sadists.

Each day I wake up and the world looks more and more like my childhood:  Tom's and Terry's who get a thrill out of terrorizing others; aging Peter Pans who won't grow up and enforce rules; parents too busy partying or saving the world to stay home, guide their kids, and teach them that all important word "no."

Television shows that humiliate people by publicly rejecting and demeaning them; movies where audiences are kept pumped up on sex and violence; an Internet where you can post the vilest things anonymously, unfiltered.

A secular society where anything goes, where self fulfillment reigns, where morals and values are as disposable as yesterday's underwear, to be thrown in the trash when you're tired of them.

A society gone mad, a "return to the primitive," as Ayn Rand described it forty years ago when she witnessed the growing power of the Left.  Adults who have the impulse control of two year olds marching around, unhinged and uncontrolled, like Lord of the Flies.  Teens beating up each other and teachers and uploading the video on YouTube.

Good people like Palin and Carrie Prejean being victimized in a manner so malicious that the intent is nothing short of destroying them.  And the Powers that Be which could stop the growing brutality at any time by calling off the dogs, calling for order, won't do so because it serves their needs.   After all, it's what Saul Alinsky preached:  control the masses by keeping them agitated and paranoid.

Maybe what's happening today goes beyond Left and Right and speaks instead to the ancient struggle between good and evil.   We live in a nation that has banished evil, that denies it even exists.  But this is naive and foolhardy;  good and evil exist hand in hand in the fiber of all human beings.  We each have in us the seeds of Gandhi and the seeds of Pol Pot.  It all depends on which ones we feed and nurture.

Evil, unacknowledged and unrecognized, takes root and becomes a virus so virulent, it threatens everyone whom it touches.  Because evil changes people; it wipes out what makes them uniquely human; it turns them into something completely different, unrecognizable, alien.

And goodness is not just some old fashioned concept, some relic of days gone by. It's a privilege bestowed on us from the universe and we must cradle it and protect it as we would a newborn babe.  We must never take it for granted, mock it or abandon it because it's the only thing that stands in the way of us and total anarchy.

Philosopher Jacob Needleman tells a story of walking on a bustling San Francisco street with a religious scholar from Tibet.  Needleman asks his friend, "If it is so rare to be born a human being, how come there are so many people in the world?"  His friend ponders the question silently for several seconds.  Then he looks at Needleman and responds quietly, "How many human beings do you see?"

I look around each day and ask myself the same question, "Where are the human beings?"  I see fewer and fewer each day.  But there's a shining example in Alaska of a woman who maintained her integrity in the midst of cruelty that would have crushed many of us; who never descended to the level of the thugs;  and who exits the scene with something that the sadists will never have, not even in their dreams -- her humanity. 
A frequent AT contributor, Robin is a recovering liberal and psychotherapist in Berkeley.
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