The Republicans And The Taliban:
More Alike Than Rush Will Admit
By Mary Shaw
12 October, 2009
Just when ACORN needed a break from all the hysterical right-wing finger pointing, along came the perfect diversion: President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. And so a new feeding frenzy began.
Erick Erickson of Redstate.com wrote: "I did not realize the Nobel Peace Price had an affirmative action quota."
Glenn Beck chimed in with his usual kind of absurdity: "The Nobel Peace Prize should be turned down by Barack Obama and given to [...] the tea party goers and the 9-12 Project."
But the reaction that most caught my attention came from Republican Party chief Rush Limbaugh: "Folks, do you realize something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about and that is he doesn't deserve the award. Now that's hilarious, that I'm on the same side of something that the Taliban, and that we all are on the same side as the Taliban."
And Limbaugh's words led me to realize that the Republican Party of today has more in common with the Taliban than just a belief that Obama doesn't deserve the Nobel Prize. In fact, the two groups share more views than Limbaugh would probably want to admit.
For starters, the Republicans and the Taliban both think women need to be kept in their place. The Taliban do this by threatening women who would venture outside the home, and throwing acid on girls who dare to go to school. Fortunately, the Republicans don't have quite that much physical power over us, so they just make noise about it:
On "Good Morning America" in 2007, Glenn Beck showed his sexist colors during a rant about Hillary Clinton (who dares to pursue -- and achieve -- political power despite her gender): "She had that tone of voice, where she just sounds like [covers his ears]. I can't listen to it 'cause it sounds like -- it sounds like my wife saying, 'Take out the garbage.'" (Nice to see that he thinks so highly of his own wife.)
Ann Coulter, herself a woman, shared her views on the TV show "Politically Incorrect" in 2001: "I think [women] should [...] not [be allowed to] vote."
And, as a woman caller explained to Rush Limbaugh himself, on why he's unpopular with women: "The first time I listened to your show you were criticizing a liberal woman's blog, and at the end said something to the effect of, 'Well, at the end of the day she's a babe so it doesn't really matter anyways.'"
This was not at all surprising, given some of Limbaugh's other comments about women. One of my favorites: "Some of these babes, I'm telling you, like the sexual harassment crowd. They're out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them sometimes."
Misogyny aside, the Republicans and the Taliban also share a desire for theocracy. The Taliban did so by instituting Sharia law. The Republican approach is slightly more subtle, via the increased influence of the Religious Right on our government and politics. And they cleverly have an alarming number of Americans convinced this was established as a "Christian nation", even though our Founding Fathers had quite the opposite intention. (See Thomas Jefferson's 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists, in which Jefferson defends the concept of a "wall of separation between Church & State.")
Finally, the Republicans and the Taliban both want Obama to fail, and, by extension, want America to fail. For the Taliban, it's jihad. Coming from the Republicans, I would call it treason.
Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views appear regularly in a variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites. Note that the ideas expressed here are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty International or any other organization with which she may be associated. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org