Sunday, November 22, 2009

Palin and the Battle for the American Mind

This week, much of the media coverage has been all Sarah, as the former governor embarks on her triumphant victory lap around the country after publication of her book. Meanwhile, the news that will become history was happening in Washington, where Democrats in the Senate managed to move the nation one step closer to rectifying the situation that makes us No. 37 in the world in terms of public health according to the World Health Organization.

Palin’s been coy about her plans for the future, but nobody’s really fooled by her demure refusal to say what she plans to be doing in 2012. While some rational, responsible elected officials are busy working to solve America’s critical problems—the broken economy, the two wars, the antiquated health system, the crumbling infrastructure, the spiraling effects of environmental irresponsibility—Palin is preening for the cameras, pretending—and apparently actually believing—she has what it takes to be president. (Can anybody tell me—does she know yet whether Africa is a country or a continent?)

It’s disheartening that anyone—anyone at all—would take Palin (or her fellow rabble-rouser Glenn Beck) seriously as a candidate for public office. That as many as 20% of American adults do so is tragic and frightening. These entertainers represent exactly what we don’t need in this country or anywhere else in the world: people who don’t know the difference between thinking and emoting, who mistake populism for policy, and who think the end justifies the means when it comes to lying or deliberately stoking public fear and rage.

In her public appearances, there’s one sure way to tell if Palen’s either lying or talking about something she doesn’t know anything about: her mouth is moving. Since her book came out, staffers from John McCain’s campaign have been kept busy trying to correct the record on the many negative assertions she made about them in her book. Since her “death panels” rhetoric apparently didn’t play well in Peoria, she’s now making the ludicrous claim that under the proposed health reform legislation, those who don’t buy coverage could face jail time. When she’s not torturing the truth, she’s chanting the same mantra as all the other wing-nuts at the fringe: “No, no, no.” (And is there anything left of the old GOP but the fringe?)

You’ve got to hand it to her—Sarah knows how to grab a headline. And in America, people may choose to be willfully ignorant, negative, and mean spirited. It may not be morally right, but it’s legal.

Sarah will do what Sarah will do—and so will the rest of us. Every day, we make practical and moral choices about which books to buy, which TV stations to watch, and whether to “think” with our intellects or emotions.

6 comments: said...

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people just like Sarah. There are so many ignorant - not stupid - people in this country and there are no actual tests for competency before someone votes.

What is sad is that probably if someone did a study or a poll, it would probably turn out that a higher percentage of "intelligent" persons are apathetic than the "ignorant" ones.

On the plus side, a lot of Republicans don't like her because she is a quitter. (That really upset them.) BTW, anyone notice that there are rumors of Lou Dobbs of running?

Here's a ticket made for nightmares: Lou Dobbs/Glenn Beck!

Idan said...

I preordered Sarah's book and luckily it arrived in time so I could read it on my flight to Maui and am enjoying reading it at poolside. Amazing how many people have asked me "How's Palin's book?"

My last comment to one of these inquiries was "she's a hell of a woman!" The man agreed with me.

I was wondering how long before the Sarah hatred would show up on this blog. Didn't take long.

By the way, does Obama know that we have 50 instead of 58 states yet?

Well, gotta get back out to the sun!

Six said...

As neither a registered Republican or Democrat, I really have no dog in the fight - and depressingly for me, I doubt I ever seriously will. But I do cheer for a balance of power between the monopoly of power of the 'Republocrats' and that people who use at least a little common sense and good judgment get elected. Sarah Palin is a nightmare even for a guy like me who just likes to stand on the fence and just throw rocks at both sides. Imagining her as president makes me cry a little inside - and not tears of joy.

That said, I do find it ironic that much of the lefts obsessive criticism with her reflects so closely many peoples disgust with President Obama.

You said about Palin: "people who don’t know the difference between thinking and emoting, who mistake populism for policy, and who think the end justifies the means when it comes to lying or deliberately stoking public fear and rage." and I cannot think of a better description for our current president.

Citizen Jane said...

Idna, if you persist in viewing the world through the very distorted lens of Fox News, will you please try to understand this about yours truly and others with whom I share certain values: I do not hate Sarah Palin. Why would I waste the energy? Like Oprah and Hillary Clinton, I wouldn't mind having coffee with her--as long as we didn't discuss politics, of course.

In keeping with the philosophy on emotionalism that I took some pains to explain recently, I try not to let negative emotions linger in my life. When a problem's been solved, it's time to move on. Palin's a problem for this country that's been solved for everyone but the Republicans, who continue to allow her to define the party by the fringe. To their detriment.

If you choose to discount my opinions on Palin because you persist in thinking they're based on impulse and emotionalism, perhaps you'd be interested to read what Kathleen Parker, the conservative Washington Post columnist, has to say about her:

Enjoy your book.

Citizen Jane said...

Six, your attempt to compare Palin to Obama is as meaningless as trying to compare any two totally disparate human beings on the planet--say, for example, Tiny Tim and Mother Teresa.

As for having no dog in the fight--well, stay tuned for some comments about that.

Six said...

I agree that Palin and Obama have a lot of differences between them that make them difficult to compare (although I can think of a few things such as being media-obsessed, lying politicians, who have a love affair with using big government to impose thier views while claiming otherwise).

Read again what I wrote, I did not compare the two with each other, you drew that conclusion. Rather, I highlighted the similarity in the criticism that each side hurls at thier respective two targets.