Oct 29, 2008
I know I’m not going to be the first one to criticize Sarah Palin. I certainly won’t be the first to accuse her of being completely unfit for the office of the presidency. But I worry that the critical dialogue on Sarah Palin has degraded into a tone of cutesy teasing. The jokes on SNL and the Daily Show are funny, no doubt, but I fear that amidst all the light-hearted ribbing the severity of this situation has been dulled down. This woman is no joke. The prospect of giving Sarah Palin real power over this country, over you and me, is an incredibly dangerous one.
All the problems with Sarah Palin, the intellectual laziness, the small-town narcissism, the divisive rhetoric, the book-banning in libraries; these should be enough to dissuade an intelligent patriotic American– but I’m beginning to have my doubts. In the constant spin-world created by the media, with endless “analysis” injected into the popular conscience by so-called nameless “experts”, and with online poll after question-loaded poll, you begin to develop a certain sense of vertigo in respect to what the general population is actually buying into, and what they are calling bullshit on. Are significant portions of the American population actually getting behind Sarah Palin?
There are some signs that give me hope: I work in a military environment, and many of my colleagues are what you would consider right-of-center conservatives. And what I’ve heard from many of them are comments of concern that they don’t think Sarah Palin is “ready” for the all important job description of ‘leader of the free world’. Seeing conservative people point this out is encouraging, but these are conservatives of the military stripe: people who value competence and ability, and who have a fairly keen eye for bullshit. Weighing in on the other end of the scale are all the troublesome signs: namely, all the McCain/Palin bumper stickers and yard signs I’ve seen across Alabama, and Colorado where I recently visited.
While I know which campaign is making more sense, and speaking to the public more reasonably, I’m worried that large swaths of white blue-collar “folks” are really getting fired up by Sarah Palin’s insistence that somehow people from small towns in Bum-fuck, America are morally superior to the rest of the country. Why? Because they go to church every Sunday, and plaster American flag bumper stickers on the back of their Ford F-150’s? I don’t get it but apparently she has struck a vein out there. I suspect her appeal probably amounts to nothing more than giving very typical, underachieving, undereducated people the opportunity to act out on their bitterness and resentment—they have chips on their shoulders for all the “college-boys” who left their small towns and went on to earn more money and have more worldly influence than they did because they were too busy worrying about football and getting pregnant in high school. So when a woman comes along who speaks the language of Joe-Sixpack, (in sharp contrast to an Ivey League-educated racial outsider), they are more than willing to fall in line and march right behind her.
Over the last few months Americans have had the chance to “get to know” Sarah Palin and there are many, many incidents that should stamp out all her credibility and viability as a potential president (attempting to ban books in a public library should really be the end of any candidacy in a liberty loving-USA). I don’t have the time or energy to break all of these issues down, so I’m going to focus on her most recent interview with James Dobson of Focus on the Family.
I will not even attempt the charade of claming to be “fair and balanced”, as some other news organizations will claim, when it comes to my views on Focus on the Family. The organization has a long history of trying to shove its fundamentalist Christian beliefs on the rest of America by influencing legislation. Such a toxic mixture of church and state has always disturbed me, just as it disturbed such founding fathers as Thomas Jefferson. Sarah Palin is part of a modern movement that attempts to break down this wall of separation—a dangerous prospect for all Americans.
Palin dropped several bombs during her interview that made my jaw drop. Even as I sit here now, listening to this interview I’m absolutely floored that these statements, so blatantly fusing religion and government, are being made by a person with a legitimate shot at the vice-presidency. Witness the following statements from Sarah Palin:
- In response to Mr. Dobson’s assertion that God’s intervention will be needed for her campaign: “It is that intercession that is so needed, and so greatly appreciated, And I can feel it too Dr. Dobson, I can feel the power of prayer, and that strength that is provided through our prayer warriors across this nation, and I so appreciate it”
- Regarding people praying for her campaign: “…that great reminder also when we hear along the world wide(?) that people are interceding for us and praying for us, it’s our reminder to do the same, to put this all in God’s hands, seek his perfect will for this nation and to, uh, of course seek his wisdom and guidance in putting this nation back on the right track”
- “Dr. Dobson you have been on the forefront of all of this good for so many years and your reward’s gonna be in heaven”
- Dr. Dobson: “We’re on the same team in that regard and I’m just trying to serve the Lord and listen to his voice”
- “John McCain is solidly there on those planks of that platform that builds the right agenda for America”
- “I have to have that faith that God’s gonna help us get that message out there.”
- “I’m gonna know at the end of the day putting this in God’s hands that the right thing will be done on Nov. 4th”
These are the rantings one would expect from a wild preacher—and if these utterances had come from such a source they could be passed off as typical fundamentalist rhetoric. But such statements are a disgrace for the office of the vice-presidency of the United States.
There were also a couple notable statements from Dobson:
“We’ve got millions of people praying for you and senator McCain”
“This Republican platform is the strongest pro-life pro-family document to come out of a political party even more so than the platforms during the campaigns of Ronald Reagan”
A sidenote: Dobson also expressed disappointment that Joe the Plumber has been under such media scrutiny— which seems funny when you consider that John McCain was the one who really put the spotlight on him.
Listen to the interview. While Palin isn’t without her trademark poorly constructed sentences, she does a much better job articulating herself than in the Katie Couric interviews. Many would probably say that this is simply a result of her getting more comfortable with the campaigning process, but I suspect there is a more likely and disturbing explanation. Sarah Palin feels much more comfortable talking at length about religious issues than she does talking about national security issues because she’s deeply committed to the former, and barely interested in the latter. Such intellectual apathy amounts to a bonafide national security risk for America should she step into the Oval Office. The general tone of the entire interview with Dobson is incredibly unsettling, but there is one sentence spoken by Sarah Palin that gives complete clarity to her vision of the vice presidency:
“…to put this all in God’s hands, seek His perfect will for this nation…”
This statement lays bare a shocking agenda. In sharp contrast to these words, true public servants should govern in accordance with tested political principles, and should enact legislation that protects the civil rights of all, while providing the most practical solutions for the most people. Sarah Palin has stated she will govern the country and enact legislation that falls in line with her fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Her decisions for all Americans will be made based on whatever her interpretation of “His perfect will” is, and not what the average American needs. Let us not forget that America is not a theocracy, like Iran. We are a democracy. A place that is supposed to provide a safe haven to all Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hundus, Shintoists, atheists, Buddhists, Mormons, Scientologists, religiously uninterested, etc.—the same kind of safe haven that was the goal of the pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock. Our leaders are supposed to lead with an eye to the needs of all Americans, serving the majority, while protecting the minority. They are not supposed to seek any religious deity’s supposed “will for this nation.”