Thursday, September 15, 2011
Who Knew She was on Crack Too?
This story just made me laugh. I know LOL is an overly common part of the lingo these days, but when I read the story I actually lauged out loud.
Sarah Palin has to be the greatest representation of what is laughable about American politics. Here is a woman that most sane people would have to admit has no qualifications or experiences that would contribute to making her a good chief executive of the country. Sure, she has some relatively minor experience in local and state government. But, if you're picking someone to lead a country, particularly in times of trouble brought on by the vastly complex global economy, wouldn't you prefer someone who has a LOT of experience not just some? [Inevitably, Palin supporters will argue at this ponit that Obama also was thin on experience when he became president. I wouldn't disagree].
But, more important than her experience level is, as anyone who has ever heard her speak, the ability to think rationally. Anyone who reads this blog at all understands that I am a big fan of rational thought, and evidence-based arguments. Sarah Palin, it seems to me, is a fan of neither. One of the things that fascinates me about politics and the fanatics on either side of the political spectrum, is how people tend to go into a political discussion in exactly the same way that they approach religion: their mind is made up beforehand, and whatever evidence comes to light is argued away. Everyone has their biases, myself included, but despite my biases it seems to me that the conservative crowd is more guilty of this than the more liberal crowd. It was this observation in fact, rather than any policies, that lead me away from my more conservative position as a youngster to a more liberal view point. Many of the things that conservatives tout are fine with me: small government?...sure; lower taxes?...fine with me; family values?...who doesn't want those? The problem with modern day conservatism is twofold: firstly, conservative politicians don't in fact promote the very values that they claim to; and secondly, this disconnect goes unnoticed by followers of conservatism because they are unable or unwilling to take an evidence based approach. Both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush ran the largest governments to date during their presidency. Yet, when conservatives in the U.S. run on a platform of small government they seem to get support despite their party's miserable record in that area. No one seems to notice.
This latest bit of "news" about Sarah Palin (we must, in fairness, wait until it is verified before we assume it to be true) is a classic example of this. Sarah Palin's perceived strength amongst her supporters is probably family values and her strong commitment to her religion. There is a feeling that she would bring decency to the White House. If that is what is important to you, then all the power to you. Go ahead and throw your support behind someone who espouses those values. But, shouldn't you, if you truly are in support of those values, reject as a candidate someone who doesn't demonstrate them? I have often claimed that a Republican will be excused of the most outrageous acts that a Democrat would immediately be condemned for. I have previously mused about how the story of Bristol Palin's pregnancy would have been received by fundamentalist Christian voters had it been one of the Obama girls in her shoes. Doubtless there would have been outrage, and claims that it showed how ineptly qualified Barack Obama is as a father and therefore president. Yet, in the warped world of conclusions before evidence, voters managed to convert that issue into a positive for Ms. Palin Sr. "See, she's a great mother - she encouraged her daughter to have the baby even though the circumstances were less than ideal. She would make a great president." Clearly, today's "news" is no different. The fact that Sarah Palin may have snorted cocaine and engaged in extramarital sex won't harm her image among the very people who claim they are for family values. In fact, I predict the opposite effect. If these claims about Palin turn out to be true (and you can bet she is frantically meeting with a bevy of advisors right now determining the best path forward politically, never mind the truth), then she will find a way to turn it into more support, a la George W. Bush post-cocaine and alcoholism. I would also be willing to bet that the power of Jesus will be invoked in her reformed lifestyle.
As someone who tends to vote on the more liberal side of the spectrum, though I would not classify myself as a liberal, I would immediately reject any political figure who turned out not to practice what they preach. If the leader of the Green Party in my country suddenly started making decisions and political actions that were very un-green, she would lose my support (if I supported her in the first place). If a Liberal Party candidate ran on a platform of increased health care support and then cut health care, they would lose my support. Yet, for some reason, no matter what issue conservatives run on, and no matter how they fail to follow through on those issues once in office, their supporters never seem to notice.
As I say, this is one of the main reasons that I have no choice but to reject conservatism as it presents itself in modern society. Conservative values have been completely lost, and conservatism has become nothing more than a synonym for irrational, evidence-less, and therefore ultimately ignorant beliefs and values.