I've always been a bit of a political junkie, which isn't exactly a newsflash to anyone who reads this blog. And in the beginning this election and all its associated silliness and pungent inanity was fun to follow, as we entered the every-four-year dance in which lifelong politicians and party hacks worked overtime to convince us that this time, things would be different; that this time, either one man or the other was going to bring us enlightenment and change and hope and break up the Washington logjam and Get Things Done and usher in a new era of peace and tranquility and free candy and good will and bipartisanship. The amusing part was that we knew deep down that they were lying through their teeth as they said all of this, and the entertaining part was seeing just how outrageous the lies would get, how many false promises and convenient photo-ops and carefully staged soundbites would go into the making of this particularly American form of diversion we call an election.
As primaries were held and candidates began to fall along the wayside, as Obama surprisingly beat Hillary and McCain unsurprisingly gained the advantage over the crowded and tangled Republican field, it was still possible to have some fun with it all; sure, we wished we had better candidates, especially those of us who won't vote for the party where "choice" is code for "more dead babies," but even as we wrangled online and in real life with the most mesmerized of Barack-worshipers it was possible to be polite, to avoid taking things personally or trying to cause personal offense, to reflect at the end of the day that God was in Heaven and all was right with the world, so to speak, and that no matter how this election turned out He would still be in charge, and that in the end it might matter more to our souls how kind we were or how much we did for our neighbors or how fervently we prayed than how we voted, or even than who won.
But then John McCain surprised us, and nominated Sarah Palin to be his running mate. And all the dark teeming mass of ugliness and hatred for what is good and noble and human and normal came spilling out from across the aisle like Orcs pouring forth from the gates of Mordor; and we knew that whatever else happened in this election, the arrival of Sarah Palin on the scene made that impersonal amused detachment very difficult to retain.
Why? Is it because she really is the best person in America to be the vice president? I think people can argue that she's not quite ready or not really qualified, and do so without violating that spirit of friendly discussion that makes it possible for Democrats and Republicans to be, if not friends, at least not openly hostile enemies to each other; but unfortunately the argument never quite stops there. Sarah, we're told by many different people representing many different political viewpoints, is "the unexamined life" made flesh, so to speak; she has no greatness in her, no magnanimity, no brilliance, no capacity for excellence, no real promise, no potential, nothing to offer America at all.
And what are the grounds which form these opinions? What evidence have Palin's critics examined that have made them, either gleefully or reluctantly or both, come to this damning conclusion?
So far as I can determine, the evidence is composed of these things:
- Sarah has only been out of the country once. Recently. To visit Alaska National Guard troops stationed in Kuwait.
- Sarah couldn't tell Katie Couric the exact titles of newspapers or magazines she reads daily to form her opinions.
- Speaking of Couric, Sarah did badly in general in her interviews with Couric and with Gibson.
- Sarah attended several colleges.
- Sarah speaks with a common accent instead of a polished Ivy-league/East Coast one.
- Despite her two years as Governor of Alaska and her experience before that as mayor of Wasilla, Sarah is not a member of our ruling class, and shouldn't even be in this race.
What infuriates me is that this new media template was manufactured by the exact same people who manufactured the first one, that vicious, ugly, personal attack against Governor Palin and her family that was engineered and executed by our left-leaning media elites--and then abandoned by them when they realized (stupidly, later than they should have) that it wasn't playing in Peoria. That attack was too overt, too obvious; ordinary people in America caught on immediately to the fact that this blatantly hostile effort was being directed as much at us, at those of us who choose things like marriage and family and children and love and sacrifice, as it was at Sarah Palin, so the media had to give it up.
But they quickly got their acts together again, and started the kind of whispering campaing to which they always resort when faced with a viable Republican candidate. Better to call Sarah incurious, provincial, inept, incoherent, uneducated, than to admit that what really bothers them about her is that she's a woman who hasn't sold her soul to the abortion lobby, which is the only acceptable way for a woman to be a political star in the twenty-first century. Better to make Sarah Palin into a Tina Fey-esque buffoon than to show their hands of hatred for so many of us in America so plainly again.
Because for one brief moment we saw the demonic rage on the faces of the nice, friendly people we allow into our homes, our living rooms, even our bedrooms on a daily or near-daily basis. For one brief moment we saw that diabolical fury bleeding through the ink of the newspaper or magazine we take with us to work or read at the end of a long day. For one brief moment we saw with perfect clarity how bitterly and permanently opposed to our values these elites in the media really are--and they saw our shocked faces and heard our angry voices on the phone as we canceled subscriptions or complained to the ombudsman.
And having seen that cold, dead hatred, I think some of us are going to have a very hard time forgetting it--especially if Barack Obama wins this election.
We're being drawn closer and closer to a place in history where it won't be possible for a Christian in good conscience to watch most of these news programs, or subscribe to these papers or magazines, or in any way allow our time or money to go to increase their power. We're being drawn, inexorably, toward that day when we realize that rejecting the culture around us involves greater and greater sacrifices, and fewer and fewer compromises. We're being led away from an Egypt of immorality, and will quite possibly find ourselves being cleansed in the desert's simplicity before we can journey on again.
And when we look back at this point in history, I think that it might be the case that we'll see this election, and specifically Sarah Palin, as the dividing line, the moment when we realized once and for all that the elites in the media and their cousins in our ruling class have nothing but contempt for us, and would prefer to bypass us altogether were it not for that dance held every four years, during which their goal is always to step on our feet as much as possible, and blame us, and the music, for their clumsy ineptitude.