I’m not much for politics, at least as far as when it comes to the actual machinations of the system. As can be seen in congress right now, I think our system is too bogged down in “Have to get re-elected” mentalities to effectively accomplish much of anything.
A healthy suspicion of anybody in power does us all good, though it’s only helpful if it’s balanced with common sense, knowledge of history and an understanding of what words actually mean (someone please look up the word ‘socialism’ before you scream it at your nonsensical protest one more time.)
That said, I am perversely intrigued by this whole Tea Party outrage and supposed grass(FoxNews)roots campaign. If what some say is true, Sarah Palin, lifted up by a crowd of disaffected Teabaggers (seriously, Teabaggers?), could be going up against Barry O for president next year (I have a hard time believing that could actually happen, as I can’t imagine a world where that many people are that dumb… but I could be very very wrong.)
It should be clear I have little respect for Palin or her politics. I think she is disingenuous and, though smarter than Bush, not very bright (but the people around her are quite savvy). But this is not intended as a rant against her. She is who she is. I just want to address a phenomenon that I’ve been noticing.
From what I’ve seen, it seems that Obama was/is to the (far) left what Palin is to the (maybe-not-so far) right. And vice versa. That is to say, Palin has become the face/voice of Change (change from what, I’m not quite sure, since Obama has accomplished very little in office, and the problems we are facing now are the same ones we were facing when Bush left office).
The right ridiculed Obama fans for thinking of him as a ‘messiah’ type figure that filled people with Hope. Yet that is the same language that’s now being used by the Right to support Palin. The Right criticized Obama for having no experience and no clear policies, yet turn around and praise Palin despite her lack of experience and clear lack of anything substantial to say. She knows the Republican talking points, utilizes the teabaggers’s (no, seriously, Teabaggers?) hysterical fears and generally espouses that “I’m one of you, I get your concerns” aura. That’s good politics. But I’ve never once heard her say what exactly she would do about any of the problems. Economic turmoil? Lack of jobs? Fighting two wars? Healthcare reform? Has she actually ever set out what her solutions would be (more than the boilerplate, “Cut taxes, less government”)?
Maybe she has. I know she never said anything of merit during the last election (I was watching quite fixedly), but that could just be blamed on her being leashed by the McCain campaign. Maybe since then she’s actually come out with specific answers to these vexing questions. I’d be more than willing for a Palin supporter (Palin-ite?) to let me know where I could find her answers. But something tells me they don’t exist.
All I’m really saying is, do people see the irony? Here is a comment from that article I posted up above:
“For the record, what I appreciate about Sarah Palin is that she is real, genuine and understands real life–and she drives the condescending crazy.”
Real and genuine? How does anyone know this? It’s as much a faith statement to say Sarah Palin is “real” and “genuine” as it is to say Obama wants to bring ‘real change’. You can agree with her politics (or at least the broad platforms she stands on), but I don’t think anyone can claim to know Palin’s true intentions anymore than we can know Obama’s. They are politicians, so by nature they must have a public persona that is meant to appeal to the most people. Why do people believe Palin’s and not Obama’s? For that matter, why believe Obama’s and not Palin’s?
I wish we could stop deluding ourselves by claiming that one of these essentially Celebrity Politicians is more ‘real’ than another, more ‘American’ than the other. What does it mean to be real? When the commentator says Palin ‘Understands real life,’ what is real life? Is my life less real because I live in a city? Is it less real because I don’t have kids or a wife? Is my life less real because I don’t work on a farm? I hate to break it to these rabid fans of Palin, but 90% of the U.S.’s population lives in a metropolis. If ‘real life’ and being a ‘True American’ means anything, it means being an urbanite who drinks Starbucks and updates Facebook statuses from a cellphone and watches internet remixes of that “Pants on the Ground” guy.
Ultimately, Obama was a symbol, and for the time he was a symbol that united a large portion of a bitterly divided country who was (and is still) looking down the barrel of many years of hard times. A year into his presidency, we don’t want a symbol anymore, we want a President of decisive action. Obama (and Congress) rightly deserves some criticism for not producing many solutions so far, though at the same time, reason and common sense should tell us that if these problems are so severe, simple and fast solutions probably don’t exist.
Those right-leaning commentators who disparage Obama and his fans for living in a delusional world of Hope and Change have a point. We should vote for policies and records, not personalities (I would even say, not ‘integrity’ because I don’t believe a politician with integrity exists; but that’s just me being cynical). A politician is a politician, and to put Obama on too high a pedestal will inevitably lead to his (and his followers’) fall. That’s just the world of politics, and really, the world in general.
Understand this, though, Teabaggers: Palin is just as much, a (empty) symbol as Obama, if not more so, and the only real question when it comes to election time 2012 is, “If elected, what is she going to do?”