Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin: Mother of the Year

McCain's nominee for vice president is sure to speak to kitchen table conservatives, Americans whose entire known world is family, football, and faith. These are good people. I know them. And as they've demonstrated in the last two presidential contests, they are dangerously naive people for whom the most important credential a politician can bring is that he's just like us.

For them, it's not just any family, it's heterosexual family. It's not just any football, it's home-town football. It's not just any faith, it's born-again bumper-sticker good old time religion: white, Protestant, and fundamentalist.

Palin speaks that language fluently. In her first speech to a world awaiting some reassurance that she has a clue about the gravity of the issues awaiting her, she chose to devote ninety-five percent of her remarks to laying out her home-town girl bona fides. I felt like I was watching "Big Love," that scene where Barb makes her pitch for Utah Mother of the Year.

This morning I contacted an old e-mail acquaintance who lives in Alaska to get her take. She said that Palin doesn't miss a trick and is scary. The scary part is that she's shot up the ranks of the GOP from nobody to AK governor in a political nanosecond, all on the strength of her connections and charisma.

It will be tempting to dismiss her as a lightweight and a pretty face. That would be a mistake. McCain (more realistically, GOP kingmakers) didn't pick her because they thought she'd lose.

In the coming weeks, keep one thing front and center. There's not only small awareness of it; more important, there's not even a scintilla of concern about the wider world here. There's not only scant exposure to how others might see our common humanity or solve our collosal problems; as her acceptance reveals, there's a phenomenally smug certainty that different strokes and complex deliberations are just not all that relevant in her world, soon to be our world if she's elected. We're talking about many shades of white, here.

Palin brings no knowledge to offset McCain's acknowledged weakness in economics, no experience whatsoever in global affairs, defense, security, and emerging global crisis spots. She brings less than no concern for looming environmental catastrophes, fond as she is of that epic sport, airplane machine gun v. wolf. And she brings basically no acquaintance of the hugely diverse human species. She's a forty-something bit-part mayor of a small Alaska town just now in her first role in statewide government, and already up to her ears in controversy for a serious alleged abuse of power.

However cute she might be, however good a mom she is, however charismatic she seems, and however skilled a politician she is, Sarah Palin brings but one thing to this campaign.

Like John McCain, she brings an overweening ambition that's more than ready to place its selfish apetites ahead of the national interest. This is the unmistakeable message in her acceptance of John McCain's cynical offer of the vice presidency, an offer as disturbing in its foolishness as it is dangerous for the planet and its inhabitants.

This nomination speaks of unbridled ambition utterly unmodulated by self-awareness or good judgment. Like John McCain, she is only too ready to feed her ego at the expense of the needs of a nation, a world, in crisis.


Morning Angel said...

From Wiki: "In December 2007, Palin posed for a photo spread in the fashion magazine Vogue."

I guess Mc will back off the attacks on O's celebrity status now. Of course, if not, this could be fun!