September 3, 2008
The Day America Stopped Poncing AroundBy Christopher Chantrill
After a week of watching the Democrats ponce around in the Denver Temple of O, Republicans couldn't believe it when John McCain-who's done his share of poncing around over the years-delivered up Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) as his running mate. As Nina May wrote:
Talk about "the one we've been waiting for!"
Look, Gov. Sarah Palin, (R-AK) is a politician, just like every other politician. She's made her way by being good with words, good with people, and good at sticking in the knife at the opportune moment.
But you cannot accuse her of "poncing around."
For you folks still a bit confused, here is the definition from the Urban Dictionary.
Nobody could say that Sarah Palin was poncing around when she resigned from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in order to go public with accusations of corruption. Nobody could say she was poncing around when she ran for governor against the Don Corleone of Alaska politics, Frank Murkowski, and won. Everybody knows what happens when you do stuff like that. You risk an immediate trip to the political graveyard, or maybe something worse.
That is what makes Sarah Palin nothing less than political kryptonite for the Democratic ticket. The life of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is a narrative of non-stop poncing around. His life begins with the embarrassing question: What was his mother, 18-year-old Ann Dunham, doing poncing around with a foreign student just off the boat? (We know the likely answer, of course. Liberal white girls back in the Sixties were guilt-tripped into demonstrating to the world how non-racist they were.)
Then we have the poncing around South Chicago as a "community organizer," the poncing around for twenty years at Reverend Wright's black racist church, the poncing around with a "search for identity" autobiography at the age of 33. We have the poncing around for years as chairman of Bill Ayers' Chicago Annenberg Challenge, the poncing around in the Illinois State Senate with the lives of infants born alive.
But let's be fair. Obama's not the only one. There's Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) who's been poncing around in the US Senate for 35 years playing "Do you know who I am" when he wasn't otherwise engaged taking the train home to Delaware and tag-teaming with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) for a couple of rounds of Borking.
And what do you call Sen. John McCain's sponsorship of campaign finance "reform" and amnesty for illegal immigration?
The great social themes of the modern era, according to Charles Taylor in Sources of the Self, are equality, dignity, and creativity. Our liberal friends have had much of the running with these ideas with their vast schemes of government-sponsored equality, their top-down mandates to advance the dignity of diversity, and their radical cult of autonomous creativity.
But the conservative subculture has had rather a different notion on all this. In the conservative view these themes arise in organic fashion out of the affirmation of ordinary life -- of work as a calling, of marriage and family as a covenant and a safety net, of creativity as a giving back to society.
Equality for conservatives means that there is no table of ranks, that everyone can rise with talent and hard work. Dignity means that the production worker is just as worthy as the CEO, and the stay-at-home mother just as much as the career woman. Creativity celebrates the inventive spirit of democratic capitalism.
Our liberal friends define themselves in opposition to this organic conservative view, and they rank themselves on how completely their lives challenge the traditional affirmation of ordinary life. To them equality is achieved by affirmative action and Supreme Court ukases. Dignity is achieved by top-down diversity seminars and speech codes. Creativity is demonstrated not by Joseph Campbell's hero returning sadder and wiser from the Hero's Journey ready to serve his community, but by the anti-hero who stands against society in an act of creative defiance.
Measured against the manufactured identity of Barack Obama, the lifelong struggle against ordinary life of Hillary Clinton, and the blowhard triviality of Joe Biden you can see why Sarah Palin has electrified the conservative base.
In the conservative faith all good things arise out of the affirmation of ordinary life. You work hard, you support your family, you pitch in to help, and good things happen.
There is no poncing around, in other words. No time for it, either.