A "Real American" Holiday
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
I've never linked to an open thread before but Blue Gal's open thread on Crooks and Liars last night is absolutely an exception I must make.
August 29th has proven to be a date of many anniversaries. Yesterday was the day we eulogized Ted Kennedy in Roxbury, Massachusetts. John McCain spent much of his 73rd birthday at his colleague's memorial service. And, of course, McCain four years ago found a way to get some partying time in with his ideological baton mate George W. Bush on the day Hurricane Katrina made landfall.
Yet August 29th marks yet another anniversary and it has nothing to do with the late Sen. Kennedy or John McCain's birthday or Hurricane Katrina. Our colleagues on the other side of the Grand Canyonesque Great Divide have chosen to commemorate not just August 29th, to not merely celebrate it with hoopla and heartfelt Huzzahs but to even give it a name:
Sarah Palin Day.
Huh? Was yesterday also the former Alaska Governor's birthday? Nopers. August 29th was the first anniversary of John McCain officially announcing Sarah Palin as his Dick Cheney.
Liberals and conservatives both commemorate August 29th. The former (this year excepted because of Sen. Kennedy's passing) solemnly remember the day Katrina began tearing apart the Gulf Coast. The latter celebrate the day Sarah Palin was introduced as John McCain's running mate. Aside from the date, the only other thing our two sides have in common is observing the beginning of a catastrophic defeat for the Republican Party.
Yet, in an absurd way, Sarah Palin's 9 week-long whirlwind tour of America actually won back some votes that the GOP had surely lost during the previous 36 months. Sarah Palin had actually energized a base, bringing back into the campaign of a man who cut a cake with a still-vacationing George W. Bush the day the deadliest hurricane in 36 years slammed into the Gulf Coast.
One with reasonable cognitive functions will surely wonder why Sarah Palin's elevation to the national stage rates commemoration over that of the most horrendous natural national catastrophe since Galveston. Citing skewed priorities only addresses the disconnect but as xenobiologists struggling to understand a new alien life form, some of us can grope toward theories.
Palin's Gidget on PCP charm resonated with a disturbingly large percentage of shrieking, gun-toting, Old Testament-slapping racist gargoyles who were artificially validated and fooled into thinking they constituted "the Real America." It was the demented glee glub of McCain's incomplete and reluctant base and their hatred of McCain's opponent actually took him aback.
Sarah Palin, a product of a novel that could have been co-authored by Horatio Alger and Stephen King, was the Pied Piper of Wasilla, a charmer of bipedaled vermin who were willing to follow her siren song back onto a ship that had already hit the iceberg.
Mustering such massive amounts of willful ignorance and sheer, ineducable stupidity that endures one year later is an impossible task for us to imagine. Yet it was obvious from the gitgo that McCain was really the doddering old fool to her Anna Nicole Smith. At best, McCain was regarded as a broken down Trojan Horse whose primary function was to infiltrate the White House with their millenarian matriarch in tow and then have the courtesy and consideration to drop dead on Inauguration Day.
It didn't matter to them and still doesn't matter now how comically unfit she was for even the glorified sinecure of the vice presidency. It never occurs to our colleagues on the right that we would've seen a political marriage made in hell, that Palin would've co-opted, contradicted and otherwise undermined practically every doddering step of a McCain presidency.
It didn't matter to them and still doesn't matter now that she pals around with terrorist witch hunters or that she drained the dwindling coffers of the McCain campaign with clothes shopping sprees that were exceeded only by Imelda Marcos or the corrupt former President of Zambia.
It didn't matter to them and still doesn't matter now to our opponents that she chose to cut and run from token criticism and a lame duck administration when she was perfectly able to run for a second gubernatorial term or that she'd used in Hezbollah/Hamas/al Qaeda fashion at least three of her kids and her grandson as human shields for cheap political points.
The ones trying to create this extra-Hallmark holiday based on a rushed, coerced and astoundingly ignorant choice on McCain's part are very likely the same ones who were short-stroking to the words of people such as Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh and several of our most hateful Republican legislators who'd more or less succeeded in transforming the Gulf Coast's 1800 fatalities from victims to self-euthanizing underachievers and fuckups.
In the end, it can only be theorized that these apocalyptic, End of Days yahoos voted not their informed conscience but Sarah Palin's reactionary, uninformed one. Setting up her little tent under the much larger big top of McCain's and fooling these born again fans of revelations (You can call them either rebirthers or Revelers) into thinking that they were under the real Big Top is one of the biggest con jobs in presidential electoral history. They were swindled into thinking they were "the Real America" by an anti-American separatist just as the poor blacks of New Orleans were swindled into thinking they, too, were part of real America. It's a real America that will never quite divest itself of the urge to make itself a little bit whiter, a little bit more like Palin's fabled "Real America."