Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sarah Palin's new book -- Family Values, Fundamentalism and Frontierism

Shrill Spice has written another book in her latest effort to tell us what she wants, what she really really wants.  It's aptly entitled America By Heart:  Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag -- apt because Sarah's 3 Fs inform the core of a world-view she memorized as a child.  She ♥ her kin, her god and her country; she knows the words by heart and isn't interested in discussing any grey areas, thank you very much.  In fact, she's not just not interested; she's openly hostile to and dismissive of the very idea.

Fully cognizant that the 2012 campaign has now officially started, she wants Americans to recognize her as the anti-Obama...both of them, Barack and Michelle.  Barack may have grown up in a majority-minority state like Hawaii, but Sarah's Alaska is sparsely populated and three-fourths White.  It's interesting that both spent their formative years detached from the contiguous 48 and yet each developed a vastly different idea of what America has been, is, and should become.  Whereas the President comprehends and reveres what our flag symbolizes and represents, Palin sees it more as a totem being usurped by immigrants and the intelligensia who dare suggest that Betsy Ross wasn't guided by the Holy Spirit and that "American exceptionalism" is nothing more than a construct to facilitate our sea-to-shining-sea manifest destiny. Palin's America rests upon a pedestal; it's Mom and Apple Pie. There's nothing to discuss because it's perfect.  To suggest otherwise is not just rude or unpatriotic; it's an assault.

Palin's reading of the Bible and the U.S. Constitution is a fundamentalist one.  Leviticus says a man lying with another man is an abomination, so gays are bad.  The 2nd Amendment says you can bear arms, so guns are good.  Case closed, end of discussion. Context-schmontext.  The Obamas, on the other hand, didn't grow up in the bosom of the status-quo and experienced first-hand how their country -- as much theirs as Palin's -- wasn't always living up to its potential or its own clearly-stated ideals.  In law school (Harvard, no less), they read the Constitution, digested it, dissected it, discussed it, debated it...just as the Founding Fathers did and just as lawyers and justices have done every day since the first ink touched parchment.  One can only imagine that being lectured to on the subject or dismissed as unpatriotic by Sarah Palin is the definition of gall for them.

But, then, growing up on the frontier -- even a massively-subsidized one like Alaska -- teaches you to take what you need. Palin doesn't need to understand the intricacies of constitutional law or immigration policy or the separation of church and state or Islam or sexual orientation because she's preaching to a choir that is equally -- if not more -- ignorant as she about such issues.  They just want to know if your for or against.  Nuance is neither required nor desired.  Nuance is what the brainiacs like -- the "elites" who look down their noses at the simple folk.  Never mind that highly-educated people can also be family-oriented, faithful and patriotic; different approaches or interpretations are ipso facto incorrect and need to be "refudiated".

So, Janey One Note continues to blow her dog whistle and her hounds will continue to howl.  As long as the majority of the American voting public sees through her schtick, we'll be ok.  On the other hand, she will continue to remain dangerous as long as she invokes this idea of hers about a provoked Mama Grizzly.  If enough people feel threatened, her simple message with its simple symbols could still win converts.  Anyone foolish enough to laugh off the fire she's playing with doesn't know their history very well.

Just like Sarah.

[Hat-tip:  HuffPo; image via Wikipedia.]