This is a genuine blog, not a reprint of an old article.... Like much of America, I've been both amused and horrified by the Sarah Palin phenomenon. If she's off-script, even Katie Couric can make her look like a lightweight. But when she's got speech writers and a "friendly" crowd (friendly to her, not to non-whites, Jews, Muslims, Liberals, Democrats or other "un-American" elements) Sarah Palin is a deadly little demagogue, mouthing the most hateful things with the cutest little smile. Yesterday, she proclaimed, with great glee, that certain sections of Virginia were the "Real America." It was a charge that Barack Obama quickly pounced on, proclaiming that all of America is equally patriotic--probably also incorrect, but at least he's not stirring up sectarian hatred. But Palin's reverse elitism will probably resonate with some voters. After all, Northern Virginia is full of suburbs to that den of iniquity, Washington, D.C. (Never mind that it also contains that den of supercarriers, Norfolk, as well.) It's ironic that for some people, our nation's capital is the least American place on earth.
And of course, there's that beauty queen factor. Sarah Palin is probably the first VP candidate that millions of red-blooded American men have had masturbation fantasies about. For certain "Real American" males, she may be the perfect woman: petite, sexy, and hunts! And doesn't use condoms! If she loses the election, Hugh Hefner should definitely make her an offer. Or, if she refuses, make an offer to Tina Fey. But she's about as great a role model for America's young women as Clarence Thomas is for America's Blacks.
I think I've come up with a great metaphor for Ms. Palin. Remember the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Cute and adorable and disarming, the sort of critter that makes you want to go "Ah...." and pick it up and cuddle it. Then, when you get it in range, you discover that it's a gleeful killer, super-hopping from throat to throat with blood on its cute little fangs.
I wish the election were the end of this. But I get the feeling that the Sarah the Killer Bunny is going to be with us for years, even if the ticket loses. The Far Right has finally found an even better mouthpiece than Rush Limbaugh.
And this blog is evidence of just how insidious and corrosive that phenomenon is. It even has me hating. Not hating Washington. Hating Sarah Palin. And I hate hating people.
I don't consider myself a liberal or a conservative. But as a journalist and a former rhetoric teacher, I've devoted my career to the notion that good decisions are made by getting solid facts applying sound reasoning--that you get the facts first, then make the decision. The past Republican administration and its neo-con supporters have been anathema to that: they start with the decision, and then accept only the facts that support it. The most powerful military on Earth, and the most robust economy, can be demolished from within by that kind of decision-making. And Palin is bravely waving that same banner for for the next generation and proclaiming it virtue.
It's enough for make an agnostic pacifist wish for a holy hand grenade.