December 13, 2010
Sarah Palin and the Haters of American Normal
We are just south of Christmas, and the nation's insiders -- self-proclaimed blue-bloods by birth and/or worldview -- have declared open season on Sarah Palin. Crazed left and sclerotic right have united in common purpose -- "hellbent," as Politico put it -- to rid this nation of the possibility of a presidency that would most assuredly end in "apocalyptic disaster" after which "the survivors will envy the dead" (or so says that fading leftist icon, The New Republic). Stop her now -- or we may end up with a normal American at the helm.
Sarah Palin is just too dumb to understand how lousy it is to be in this materialist and fascist society, this hateful America, the Atlantic tells us. Scorn laces the left as New York Times opinion writers let us know that behind the deceptive Palin smile "lies anger" and an unwillingness to accept the decline that those who know better have visited upon us out of wisdom and necessity. Shut up and bowl (or hunt or fish or tailgate, or any one of the thousands of pursuits those with little culture and no brains participate in), they say, and leave the decisions to us.
Meanwhile on the right, MSNBC's house conservative, Joe Scarborough, says it's time for Republican insiders to "man up and confront Sarah Palin." She's poison for responsible (read: insider) government. Bush consigliere and FOXNews analyst Karl Rove is leading the charge to stop this outsider, whom he regards as "unsuitable" for the presidency, which is a job best left to those who brought us porous borders, intrusive regulation, and exploding government spending. (In some respects, the Obama reign is simply the Bush presidency on steroids.) From left and right, insiders all, the anger is palpable at what James Lewis of American Thinker terms "American exceptionalism in the flesh -- and downright attractive flesh at that."
Why do they hate her? Lewis hits the nail on the head. Sarah Palin is quintessentially American. She is a throwback to the days of the founders, when citizens became politicians because the common good demanded service -- not because political office offered wealth, power, and a pool of Beltway interns ripe for sexual exploitation -- and followed their tenure with a return to private life. But we now live in the age of professional politicians, the self-proclaimed best and brightest who make decisions for an electorate too simple to understand "the facts or the truth." Or so says Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts politician who is to "haughty" what Paris Hilton is to "self-involved."
And so anger and angst bubble over, spilling out as the grandees realize Sarah Palin is just so darned...normal! Lewis describes her as a "beautiful, strong, intelligent, articulate, healthy-looking, truth-telling...gun-totin', sports-lovin', all-American woman." And that "sunny disposition" sets them off, for Sarah Palin is a fiery red poker plunged into the pasty white of the collective metrosexual gut. Elizabeth Wurtzel, the best-selling author who blogs for the Atlantic, howls with pain at the realization that Palin is actually "the most visible working mother and female politician in America, that she is the best exemplar of a woman with an equal marriage, that she has put up with less crap from fewer men than those of us who" are the official feminists within the media and political elites.
That's not fair, Wurtzel screams, admitting that the truth "drives me absolutely bonkers." This mainstay of the New York literati oozes the anger and jealousy so typical of what New York Times columnist David Brooks proudly calls the "educated class." And so they scream and whine and put out milk and cookies in hopes that God and the Santa they've chased from the public space would please, please, please...stop Sarah Palin!
What gives her the right to be happy, asks Wurtzel? Palin, who is "not very thoughtful, not very bright," is so darned ordinary that she doesn't understand the horrors of American life. But Wurtzel does, having first attracted attention with her New York Times bestseller chronicling the depravities visited upon her by the fruits of American exceptionalism. You see, Wurtzel survived the horror of being raised on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the shame of enduring the nation's best private schools, the depravity of having parents who paid for summer camps and Harvard -- small wonder she plunged into "catatonic despair, masochism, and hysterical crying." Doesn't Palin know, Wurtzel cries, that...America sucks? Karl Rove knows, Keith Olbermann and Kathleen Parker and Elliot Spitzer and Barack Obama know -- that's why they're smart.
But Sarah Palin is not Elizabeth Wurtzel smart. Nor is she Karl Rove savvy, Keith Olbermann articulate, or Barack Obama cool. No, Sarah Palin is just plain normal. And not just any normal -- she is American normal, the kind of normal that wrenched a nation away from a calcified European aristocracy and established what Abraham Lincoln described as "a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." It is no coincidence that the United States is the single nation that, for the entirety of its existence, has had immigrants fighting to be included in a community structured upon individual "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," as our Declaration of Independence puts it. And now that normal is being challenged by those who want to control every aspect of American life.
Enter Sarah Palin and American normal. Their reaction, James Lewis notes, is "Oh, Gawwwdd! Is this 'Father Knows Best' or what?" And the only answer is...yes, and "Leave It to Beaver" and "Happy Days," too. It's a basic respect for American values and Judeo-Christian tradition and the belief that each one of us matters. And now throw in a bit of "South Park" and you have a cutting-edge conservative savvy that recognizes that this country, as rude and crude and flawed as it gets, should be admired and preserved.
Sarah Palin for president? The screams of the elites are in a crescendo, and it's not even 2011. The roar is deafening: She's not a Karl Rove or Nancy Pelosi, they cry, a John McCain or a Barack Obama, a Hillary Clinton or a Lindsey Graham. She's not Washington or New York or Manhattan or San Francisco. She's Sarah Palin, and she's Alaska, for Obama's sake!
And your point is...?
Stuart Schwartz, formerly a media and retail executive, is on the faculty of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
See also: Sarah Palin's Basic Instinct
See also: Sarah Palin's Basic Instinct