Rick Salutin's Many Fetishes
It appears from early indications that the Iraqi vote turnout has exceeded expectations with at least 60% of the population risking physical intimidation including possible death to cast a ballot. Good for them. They have courage and hope for their future, which is more than Rick Salutin of the Globe & Mail can say.
His column in Friday's Globe was entitled, "Don't Mistake elections for democracy." The gist of it is that Iraqis may be holding an election, but that is something distinct from having a democracy.
He began by writing about fetishes, which he said anthropology defined as, "any object of irrational, or superstitious devotion." He described how Karl Marx (capitalists having more intense relations with things they buy than with humans they know)and Sigmund Freud ("a sexual proclivity for obsession with a part, like a foot or a shoe, rather than the whole to which it belongs") adapted the word. This was his clever segue into his assertion that George Bush has an election fetish.
He often renders the term in an empty, adoring, fetishistic way . He grows almost tumescent just saying the words. "People are voting.... It's exciting times for the Iraqi people....The fact that they're voting is itself exciting."
Well bless my soul. I'm not at all sure how Mr. Salutin knows Mr. Bush grows almost tumescent at the thought of elections. Mind you, I tend to look at the face of the President of the United States when he speaks. Rick Salutin seems to prefer gazing elsewhere on the presidential torso. Sexual fetishism takes many forms. Preferring to look at certain parts rather than faces may be one of them.
Regardless of Salutin's crotchety view on this matter, it seems that the President of the United States and I share something in common. Not near tumescence when speaking of elections, I hasten to add. Should I ever meet Rick Salutin I don't want to.... er, raise false expectations, as it were. Best to warn him up front. In my experience, elections, particularly Canadian ones with which I am most familiar, leave me rather deflated.
I mean that President Bush and I both seem to connect the election in Iraq with an actual attempt to institute a government of the people, for the people and by the people. Mr. Salutin says this is irrational because:
Well, the vote is being imposed after an unprovoked invasion and under an occupation that is onerous and humiliating - a set of contradictions that seems evident to almost every Iraqi passerby interviewed by a Western journalist who slips out of his barricaded hotel. It will occur under a virtual lockdown: traffic banned, airport closed, a three day curfew,
So it is. A rational person, however, might want to take the facts on the ground and subject them to some analysis. Who is creating the conditions of which he writes? Why is traffic banned? What is causing the airport closure? Who is creating these onerous conditions? Hmmm.
Concentrate on something other than George Bush's centre of gravity, Rick old boy, and you may arrive at some rational conclusions. I have considered the matter and I say the "lockdown" is necessitated because some very unsavoury people share Rick Salutin's disdain for allowing the Iraqi people to vote for their government.
First, we have the Sunni Baathist followers of Saddam Hussein. Their prime fetish is an obsession with tyrannical fascist rule, exemplified by such fascist pleasures as feeding opponents feet-first into industrial shredders, the known use of nerve gas on villagers and rather more esoteric fetishes like maintaining prisons for little children.
Sunni fascists don't like the thought of the majority (80% of the population) Shiites and Kurds running the government. In fact, they fear that result, since they were such meanies for so many decades. In the lead up to the election they threatened ordinary citizens with death if they went to the polls. Their fetishes also involve a love for machine guns and plastic explosives; fetishes which come in useful as they murder Iraqis with such obvoius fervour.
Next, we have the bin Laden Islamic weird beard fetishists. If this fetishistic cabal merely stopped at growing beards which made them look like the offspring of incestuous Ozark mountaineers, it would not be necessary to ban traffic in the downtown areas of Iraqi cities.
Unfortunately, the weird beard gang also likes to blow up vehicles in crowded markets so as to kill and maim as many people as possible. Most of the weird beards are not Iraqi, but their unrequested foreign intervention in Iraq does not seem to rate a mention by Rick Salutin. If he did bring it up he'd blame good old near tumescent George for their presence.
Additionally, we have the Iranian Shiite mullah fetishists. Their fetishes include the imposition of medieval Islamic dress and behaviour codes for women and generally oppressing the population of their own country through a radical clerical Islamic theocracy. The dreaded election fetish, however, is mercifully absent from their psychological makeup. It is so absent from their psychological profile that they will do almost any wicked thing to prevent an election in their beloved neighbour. You think I jest in using the word beloved. I do not.
There is nothing like spending time in sustained battle with people to bring out the camaraderie in them and the Iranians have spent far more time in battle with the Iraqis than the Iraqis have with the Americans. That is why the Iranian mullahs love the Iraqis so much more than the Americans do. So much so, that they are willing to save them from election fetishism even if they have to kill the last Sunni in Iraq.
Who would be so churlish as to suggest that the real reason is that they want to prevent this fetish from spreading into their own country? Their fetishistic proclivity for smuggling ground-to-air shoulder held missiles and other weaponry into Iraq is the reason the airports had to be closed just before the election.
The next proof of Bush fetishism is what Salutin says is the capricious nature of George Bush's penchant for elections. "(Her shoe and not others.)" He castigates George Bush for the fact that the US refused to accept the legitimacy of the 1984 electoral victory of the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. In my experience, if you want to excite old Marxists, or balding New Democrats with pot bellies (the latter after they've imbibed too much claret), just mutter the word Sandinista as the wine steward approaches with another bottle.
Leftist commentators literally foam at the mouth that anyone should have opposed this elected, central American Marxist-Leninist government. I would have thought that Rick Salutin would have been the exception to the foaming rule, given his publicly expressed disdain for election fetishism. But it is not so. (Rick, please note that George Bush was still 16 years away from being elected president when Daniel Ortega led the Sandinista government.)
Next, Salutin trashes the new democratically elected government in Afghanistan, and the fact that the American president hasn't taken on a number of other reprehensible regimes, such as Uzbekistan. Here, Salutin gets to... er, ... suck and blow at the same time. Damned if you overthrow, and damned if you don't.
Then, the claret no doubt flowing freely, he uses his fetish analogy to introduce the second biblical commandment against graven images, which he employs to flog Stephen Harper over his comments connecting same-sex marriage and polygamy and to decry, "our era of archaic religious clashes, Islam versus Christianity and Judaism, etc." I presume by "etc." he means Pakistani Islam versus Indian Hinduism and the genocide by Islamic Arabs of the black African Animists in the Sudan.
Beyond the obvious general religious element does anyone notice a common denominational factor in all these clashes? Maybe clashing with other religions and killing their adherents is a Muslim fetish? Salutin doesn't say. He ignores that completely. He is focused on his personal obsessions; his fetish for anti-Americanism, and his fixation with the state of George Bush's crotch.
One final point. Why is it that the left so frequently attributes psychological deficiencies to those who do not share their philisophical perspective? This lefist tactic is no less odious because it is so often employed. It speaks to a certain haughtiness of mind and an arrogant refusal to engage in debate in an intellectually honest manner. Rick Salutin's column is illustratative of this reprehensible approach.