Generally speaking, I follow the advice of the Talmudic sages who strongly urge caution, and warn of the potential dangers, regarding unnecessary entanglements with politicians or politics in general. I confess that the political arena is a setting that is so foreign and mysterious to me that I am blissfully satisfied to be confined to the bleachers where spectators like myself can sit and watch the three-ring circus which we call the political process. This is not an article about politics. It is about the phenomenon called Sarah Palin and it is rooted in something much deeper than what is generally covered in standard political commentary. (I leave the discussion of her politics to people who, hopefully, understand those issues much better than me.)
No political figure in recent memory has evoked such an immediate and powerful gut reaction from the American people and the media as Governor Sarah Palin (with the notable exception of perhaps President Barack Obama). In the space of roughly 24 hours back in 2008, she went from being the obscure governor of Alaska to the political equivalent of a rock superstar. The cause of this supernova-like explosion onto the political landscape was not due to anything she said or did (nobody knew anything about her at the time), it was due to who she was and is. It was her very presence, the way she looked, the way she spoke, the aura she projected, the vision that people instinctively understood she represented that either churned the stomachs of some, or tugged at the souls and heartstrings of others.
Let me put it a different way: To suggest that the vicious attacks and smears that emanated from certain segments of the media were because of anything in particular that she said or any particular opinion that she held, would be putting the cart before the horse. They attacked what she said because they couldn’t stand her. The general antipathy came first, the specific attacks came afterwards.
The most glaring example, of course, was the “experience” issue. How many times did we hear that Sarah Palin’s lack of “experience” made her unqualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency? After all, her entire political career consisted of only a stint as mayor of a small town and being elected to the governorship of Alaska. This, of course, was in comparison to the colossal and extensive “experience” of Barack Obama as a community organizer, a stint as a state legislator, and as the newly elected junior Senator from Illinois. It was obvious to any objective, dispassionate observer that as far as political experience, Sarah Palin and Barack Obama were pretty much even, with Palin clearly in the lead in the area of administrative and executive experience. It is also obvious that the reason why whole legions of journalists ignored these simple facts was that they had no interest in being objective or dispassionate when the subject of Sarah Palin was on the table. When it was recently announced that 24,000 pages of Palin’s emails were being released, one could plainly hear the obscene sound of reporters licking their chops in anticipation of digging up some obscure piece of dirt or hint of scandal which they could gleefully put out over the various newswires.
One might have thought that Governor Palin would have been touted as a poster child for women’s empowerment and feminist ideals. After all, she was a “simple” housewife who made a decision to throw her hat in the political ring, and in short order was elected mayor of her town, governor of her state, and was then chosen by a veteran senator as his presidential running mate. If that doesn’t qualify as a stellar example of “I am woman watch me roar”, then I can’t imagine what would. Instead Sarah Palin is vilified by the very ideologues who should have held her up as a hero.
Is Sarah Palin the best candidate for the GOP in the coming presidential election? I don’t know. I don’t understand those things very well. What I do understand is why she is hated. She is hated because she has a sincere, almost child-like, and unabashed love for her country and the principles upon which it was founded. She is hated because she has a genuine and unshakable commitment to her religious beliefs and to the notion that God is the source of all the values that make this country a shining beacon to the entire world. She is hated because she is profoundly committed to marriage and family as the basis for a truly human society. Her greatest sin of all, and an unpardonable one at that, was having the absolute unmitigated gall to ignore that most sacred of female constitutional rights and to not kill her unborn, down-syndrome child. To add insult to injury, she is not only clearly at peace with that decision, but even worse, she is ecstatically happy with that decision. For that, she will never be forgiven. (“Who the hell does she think she is anyways not to have aborted that retard baby?!”)
Sarah Palin is hated because she seems unable to camouflage her ideals behind a faÃ§ade of vapid political vagaries; it is not so much that she talks about what she stands for, it is that – love her or hate her – she radiates what she stands for. Should Sarah Palin run for president in 2012? Would she make a good president? Don’t ask me, ask the pundits. I mean it, I really don’t know. I do, however, find a curious satisfaction in observing that at least one political figure is reviled by so many for representing those very values that make human existence meaningful and noble. In other words, those who hate Sarah Palin, hate her for all the right reasons.
Moshe Averick is an ordained orthodox rabbi and author of the Amazon best-seller, “Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist,” available on Amazon.com and Kindle. He can be reached via his website: www.RabbiMaverick.com