mardi 18 novembre 2008

Is the Coast Clear?


Is she gone? Can I come out now?

I got really addicted to television during the run-up to the election, and would sometimes watch the same Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert segment several times in the same day. I was a little worried that this addiction would carry over into real life after the election, but thanks to Sarah Palin and her sudden decision to make herself available to the media she shunned whenever any unscripted remarks were requested, I am over my addiction. It was cold turkey.

On or about November 6, Sarah was suddenly on television all the time. Every time I turned on the television, hoping for some news about the economy or the president-elect, there she was. Talking, chatting, being filmed in her kitchen. It was so horrible. The real Sarah. Or her own father, talking about how the kids' underwear gets lost. I couldn't take it. I just could not. So I did what any sensible person should do and did not consult my television for a couple of days.
I am not a huge television watcher anyway, but I do enjoy watching Keith and Rachel and Jon and Stephen. Oh, and South Park. So I need to know. Is it safe? Is the coast clear? Can I turn on the television again without having to worry that SHE will be on the screen, saying something utterly useless and utterly senseless, garbling the language of my people to a degree that makes George Bush look like a first-rate orator.

She speaks so poorly, and makes so little sense, that it cheapens whatever subject she is addressing. Or not addressing, since that is one of her standard gambits: to respond to any question by basically ignoring it. She seems like a liar to me, when she opens her mouth. She seems like one of those people who are never quite there, wherever they are and whatever they are doing.

I will refrain from judging Alaskans on the basis of their gubernatorial choice. And though I don't wish trouble for Alaskans or the state of Alaska, I do hope that Palin's work at the state level keeps her fully occupied until the end of her term. Believe it or not, I am hoping that the Republican Party puts itself back together and musters the strength to serve as a credible opposition or shadow government in the years ahead. Democracy requires this check on power to function properly, and a healthy democracy changes party hands on a regular basis. The Republican Party needs to choose leadership that appeals to moderates and to philosophical conservatives who have taken the time to understand their values. If it cannot do that, then it will not be fit to govern. And that would be bad for democracy.

There is a place for Sarah Palin in politics. But not at the head of the opposition party nor at the head of the ruling party. She is part of the lunatic fringe and that is where she needs to stay. She does not belong in the mainstream. As she so effectively demonstrated over a two-month period that I thought would never end. And if you don't believe me, go to Youtube and watch some of her recent television performances.