Tag Archives: Sarah Palin

There’s no such thing as mistakes

Every kid, whether it be when they ride their bike right into a shrub, fail to hit a baseball off of a tee or decide that bagel bites belong in the DVD player, is told by their parents that they need to learn from their mistakes. There’s a reason you don’t see many people in their thirties prodding electrical outlets with forks and CEOs don’t put on Superman underoos and think they can fly. It’s the simple idea that if you do something wrong, you admit to it and move on with your life, knowing one more thing you shouldn’t repeat.

It’s a bit easy to pick on Sarah Palin. She’s a maddening combination of brainless populism and tawdry politics, who inspires people for all of the wrong reasons. And she never fails to disappoint. Let’s take a look at what she said in her home town during her goodbye tour (which brings to mind Cher’s persistent departure and re-emergence).

“Let us continue to love our country, be proud of our country, never apologize for our country.”

If taken step by step, her sentence starts out fine. Love our country? Right on. Be proud of it? Can do. Never apologize? Wait a second…

What odd compulsion makes people believe that one cannot be proud of an ideal and at the same time admit that said ideal has, at times, been tarnished? It’s akin to a startling case of overcompesation, of pride built up over the paranoia of being exposed as less-then-perfect. It’s the same mentality that drives middle-aged yuppies to take secretaries into the supply closet and then drive home in unnecessary sports cars, turns parents into manic obsessives who pour their fails dreams into their kids and ultimately creates a completely false fantasy world where no one did anything wrong.

Let’s go over all of the wonderful things America has done that we should feel no guilt over, shall we?

The Trail of Tears: Serves Native Americans right for crossing over the land bridge in prehistoric times, knowing full well that they were tresspassing on America.

The Trail of Tears: Serves Native Americans right for crossing over the land bridge in prehistoric times, knowing full well that they were tresspassing on America.

Slavery: Geez, that was like a majillion years ago.

Slavery: Geez, that was like a majillion years ago. Who cares?

Japanese Internment Camps: It was a neccesity brought on by war, not by blind racism! We treated the Germans and Italians the same way...right?

Japanese Internment Camps: They were a neccesity brought on by war, not by blind racism! We treated the Germans and Italians the same way...right?

Compulsory Sterilization: You can't spell fun without Supreme Court-endorsed eugenics, now can you?

Compulsory Sterilization: You can't spell fun without Supreme Court-endorsed eugenics, now can you?

Nope, there’s nothing regrettable there. We really have been perfect for hundreds of years, haven’t we?

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Filed under Culture wars, Government, Morgan

Ignored on the Fourth of July

Yes, it’s old news that Sarah Palin is unpredictable and, in a move that some would liken to hopping onto a crazy train to Looneyville, will be resigning as governor and starting her run for the presidency in 2012 (well, that last part isn’t official…yet). But I have to giver her credit for the brilliance of her timing, tossing a bomb into the crowd right when the crowd scatters to distant lands. Everyone knows that if you’re going to do something stupid, or try and drag a skeleton out of your closet, down the steps and toss it into your neighbor’s yard, you do it before a big holiday weekend filled with food and shimmery things.

It worked on me. I spent the entire weekend doing everything that seemed right, I slept in, I relaxed with friends, watched some baseball games (though a single-A game might not be considered that by some) and was amused by the fireworks (except for those tiny ones that just make stupidly loud noises. Who enjoys that?). I didn’t man the blog, I didn’t sit on the computer and feverishly maintain the Twitter account. Cable news didn’t monotonously echo through my apartment. It was a nice isolation from the typical media barrage.

Note: Images are scaled in accordance with the amount that folks cared about them over the holiday.

Note: Images are scaled in accordance with the amount that folks cared about them over the holiday.

I suspect that the Palin situation played out similarly for folks nationwide. Oh, everyone heard about her resigning, but no one really cared. Family was visiting, burgers had to be cooked and all of that political nonsense had to be swept aside. And now that the long weekend is gone, it’s old news. No one wants to hear anything more about it. Political stories have very short lifespans. They’re fireworks, sent screaming into the air and they burst, sending awe through the crowd and belligerent hot air in every direction. But four days later, no one remembers the particulars, people describe fireworks shows in generalities, they’re “nice,” or “too loud.” No one dissects the particulars of the third rocket, no one wants to say much more about them and certainly, their shelf life is limited to the holiday. Set off a firework today and you’ll have old women hiding beneath their beds and overanxious cops peeking over your fence. Bring up Palin, and you’ll get a “Oh, that,” response.

There are two sides to the Palin story. One has her being chosen as a heartfelt maverick to bring some more spark into the life of a sellout maverick after enjoying the quiet of Alaska, and once thrust on the national stage, the media, vulture-like, preyed upon her personal troubles to a terrible degree. The other looks at this woman, and can’t understand how she was almost a skip and a hop from the Presidency, given her apparent lack of understanding of anything that had anything to do with governing (whether it be administrative or, if certain allegations are true, ethical).

I’ll shock the world and admit that I fall closer to the second camp, but I will say that demonizing her further is entirely counterproductive. If anything, while from a traditional standpoint Palin’s decision to hide her resignation beneath hot dogs and American flags was brilliant, it also deprives her of a chance to gamble for the devotion of her fanbase. The reason Palin has succeeded to the degree she has is not because of what she is, but because of what she isn’t. She isn’t a brilliant maker of policy. She isn’t a shrew tactician, she contributes little to ideological or philosophical discussions. She didn’t really accomplish anything during her runs through the Alaskan government. Instead, she does exactly what the average Joe would do if they decided to get into government, with their only experience being the student council in high school. She’s a normal person, with nothing truly spectacular under her belt (unless you count the fact that she’s a woman, but that’s a just reverse sexism, isn’t it?) and when the media jumps on her, for reasons legitimate or not, most folks can’t help but feel a bit of sympathy.

Had she taken the opportunity to play off of this sympathy, instead of quickly rushing through her announcement and then lobbing some idiotic spitballs at the media via Twitter and Facebook, I think she would have been in a much better situation than she’s in today, if only because it would have riled up her base, and besides, is there really anyone who’s still on the fence about Palin at this point?

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