12 September 2008

Some Random Thoughts About Sarah Palin

1) When Sarah Palin said at her church a couple years ago that the war in Iraq was "a task from God", did she not know that the Christian God and the Muslim God is the exact same God? Taking this further, it would seem that Muslim fundamentalists who wish to see Israel and the Jewish people wiped from the earth do not realize that their Allah and the Hebrew God are one in the same as well? If there really is a God that actually pits different groups of believers against each other, that's not a God I want anything to do with...My only point here is that legitimate spirituality has been bastardized, if not outright destroyed, by organized religion, politics, and basic human ignorance. My conclusion here is that Sarah Palin's own spirituality is malformed and lacking in any sort of depth or nuance, just like most fundamentalists of any religion.

2) Hunting wolves from an airplane is not hunting. It's akin to the type of quail hunting Dick Cheney was doing when he shot Harry Whittington in the face, wherein a covey of quail are released from a cage very near the hunter, and a successful kill is all but guaranteed. Let me put this another way, you've heard the expression "shooting fish in a barrel"? Well, that's exactly what shooting wolves (or any animal) from an airplane is...Now, I grew up in a family that hunts, namely whitetail dear with bow and arrow, and small game with small-calibre rifles, and all I can say is the kind of wolf hunting that Sarah Palin is proposing is not only morally questionable, but it's simply fucking lame. There is no "sport" to the endeavor. In other words, the animals don't stand a fucking chance. Now, you might take issue with any sort of hunting, for any sort of reason ("won't somebody think of the animals"), but I was raised and taught to have respect for the animals I was hunting, and part of that is to give the animal a sporting chance, so to speak. The kind of hunting that Palin apparently does, and Dick Cheney certainly does, is lazy, and speaks volumes to their character as human beings. They can't be bothered to actually work for their kill. The ends justify the means in these scenarios. They don't care how the animal was hunted, just that it's carcass is now field-dressed and draped across the hood of the armored Secret Service SUV.

3) While it's true that Pit Bull breeds account for approximately a third of all fatal dog attacks in the United States (according to the CDC), I believe that most of our beliefs about the viciousness of Pit Bull breeds arise from media hype and bad publicity as much as anything else. We are talking here about a dog that is widely bred for illegal dog-fighting, and since this is the case, it shouldn't be surprising that Pit Bulls are responsible for so many fatal (and non-fatal) attacks. The truth is that Pit Bulls were first bred for dog fighting not only because of their tenacity and physical strength, but because they show a propensity to NOT attack their owners, nor Pit Bulls of the opposite sex. If you'll allow me to be literal and humorless here, when Sarah Palin joked that the difference between hockey moms and pit bulls is lipstick, what she is in essence saying (even though I know the joke isn't meant in this way) is that she is willing to viciously attack "the enemy" (in this case Democrats and Liberalism) while remaining completely faithful to her own handlers (in this case Republicans and Conservatism, specifically John McCain and his campaign). Thus Sarah Palin, characterizing herself as a Pit Bull, is willing to play hardcore partisan politics, which stands in stark contrast to one of McCain's stronger messages on the campaign trail, that the "change" he seeks in Washington is one of cooperation and non-partisanship between Democrats and Republicans. In this light, it would seem to me that one of the major reasons McCain chose Palin as his VP running mate is so that she can do the "dirty work" of being his attack dog, so that McCain himself can appear to remain above the fray of attack politics and the ongoing partisanship that has so deeply polarized not only our national politics, but the American populace in general. Of course, this strategy is nothing new in Presidential politics (and might even be one of the reasons Obama selected Biden), and so one can only conclude that not only is McCain not an agent of fundamental change in the way politics is played in Washington, but that he and Palin represent nothing but more of the same. Maverick, indeed.

4) And what about this whole "hockey mom" thing? It's a variant of "soccer mom", obviously, and it connotes a middle-class white woman, usually married, who literally drives her children to assorted activities because she values her children and family above all else in her life. The term has been used by female politicians over the past decade or so to suggest that they are just like the average woman voter. In the case of Sarah Palin, or any other female politician who uses the term, I must call "bullshit". Anyone who aspires and attains the office of Governor of a state simply cannot value her children above her own political ambitions. If that were the case, Palin would not have actively sought a public office that is exceedingly time-consuming, that has undoubtedly kept her away from her family far more than most other jobs. In fairness, any politician, male or female, who's office is that "important", spends an inordinate amount of time away from family. They may value their family, but by the very nature of the political world, they can never value that family more than their own ambitions and power. Otherwise they'd never get into politics to begin with, but would hold a "normal" job that brings them home to that family at the end of each and every day. Sure, plenty of politicians have risen from a "normal" life and lifestyle, but they left that life behind in pursuit of their ambitions. When a politician tells us he or she is just like us, don't fucking believe it for a second. The rarified air of state and national politics does not reflect the reality of "normal" life in any way, shape or form. If Sarah Palin becomes our Vice President, how much actual time do you think she is actually going to spend with her children, whether she wants to or not? How much time (nevermind "quality time") do you think Bill Clinton spent with daughter Chelsea during his 8 years in the White House?

5) Back to religion and faith...While Sarah Palin was born Catholic, her family joined the Pentecostal Church when she was four years old. Two things to consider regarding the Pentecostal Church - many adherents believe and practice "speaking in tongues", which is a strange phenomenon that has more in common with snake-oil salesmen and vaudeville acts than actual spirituality (in my opinion) and secondly, and more importantly, Pentecostals believe that one cannot enter heaven based on good deeds alone, but must accept Jesus Christ as their savior. I have always found this brand of Christianity troubling, because to me it exemplifies a spirituality that has no roots in community or morality. If one can attain salvation through mere faith, one is not compelled to adhere to any sort of morality. In other words, one can be an asshole in their everyday life, treating others like shit, and still go to heaven. To me, this is the antithesis of Christ's core teachings, which include the idea of caring for the poor, the hungry, the meek, and those people unfairly persecuted in life. In other words, at the core of Sarah Palin's religious beliefs, one is not compelled or required to care about, or care for, those who need help the most. In general, Christian fundamentalism, as it is practiced in the United States, adheres to this belief in faith over good deeds. If you believe, as I do, that too many Christians are not very Christian in their behavior and beliefs, it is because they simply do not believe they need to be good or moral, to find salvation. This is a basic tenet of the religious right, and is a central reason why the Republican Party, which has been strong-armed by the religious right for the past 20-30 years, is not the party of the "common man". They simply don't give a shit. It's akin to saying, "I got my salvation, you get yours." They are not their brother's keeper, and as such, will never help to make America a better place. Anybody remember Hurricane Katrina and the plight of those stranded in New Orleans? That situation was as sad and dire as it was because of beliefs such as these. This is not to say that all fundamentalists do not practice good deeds, but that their core belief absolves them of that practice, and far too many take advantage of the loophole, so to speak.


Barack Obama and Joe Biden may very well not be the answer to our current woes in this country, but they're a decidedly better option than John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Hotcha! Hank

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