Monday, January 17, 2011

There's something about Sarah . . .thoughts on you and I and Ms. Palin . . .

drawing by Dori Hartley

Sally Quinn's blog  in yesterday's Washington Post was called, "To Sarah Palin: It's not all about you."  Ms. Quinn's point is that Ms. Palin perhaps has a tendency . . .how shall I put this? . . .to see herself as a central character in whatever happens, including the Arizona shootings. To look at all national events as opportunities for self-promotion.

One commenter did challenge Ms.Quinn to stop writing about the erstwhile candidate for vice-president if she found her so reprehensible. Which might possibly be good for the national discourse, but is still, in my opinion, completely impractical. I mean, if I, as a blogger, stopped mentioning Sarah Palin, I'd be seriously blog-fodder challenged, right? So it makes perfect sense for me to keep writing about the former governor, right????

Oh dear. . .

Does this mean that maybe, in reality, I think it's all about me? Could I possibly be Sarah Palin's soul sister disguised as a public radio blogger?

This muddle brings me back to something Ms. Quinn wrote half-way through her post:
I believe that what brings out so many hostile feelings toward Sarah Palin is that many people look at her and see the dark side of themselves. The psychiatrist will tell you that often what you hate in others is the thing you are most afraid of in yourself.

For whatever reason, I've been thinking quite a bit about Sarah Palin over the last week -- all the while  wondering why I bother to think about her at all. Is there really some "there, there" behind those trademark glasses? Certainly, the former governor of Alaska appears to be a person of great sass, who breaks through the staid conventions of political rhetoric. She bodaciously disrespects anyone who attempts to call her  to task.  She disparages unapologetically, apparantly has a great time snapping out instructions on her Facebook page to “never retreat, instead RELOAD!” And she so unabashedly grabs for the spotlight, even after last  week's horrendous Arizona massacre. I find her chutzpah fascinating; and am also, I must admit, a bit in awe of it.

We Americans, whether we love her or hate her, do find her fascinating.. The CNN Political Ticker, for example, cannot leave her be. Ms. Palin doesn't have to utter a word to make the column; it's considered worth reporting when someone talks about her.

Today, however, we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., the man with the great, enduring dream of what this country could become. Sometime this week, Congress will most likely begin re-debating health care reform. We've promised each other to be more civil and respectful of each other's views in this debate; pledged that both our personal and political rhetoric in discussing health care (and everything else) will be more like Martin Luther King's, less like Sarah Palin's.

Will we do it? Can we do it? Or is Sally Quinn right to suspect that we have met the enemy of civility and it is, at least partially, us. Has Sarah Palin helped loose a rhetorical beast in you, in me, in American society, that cannot be re-caged?

What do you think?

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