McCain-Palin: The Audacity Of Audacity genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation
If affectations were authenticity, Sarah Palin's debate performance would have been Oscar worthy. If flirtations were facts, Sarah Palin could transform ennui into an astute entry in the encyclopedia. If muddled mutterings were metrics, Sarah Palin could be a mathematician. If serendipity were substance, enlightenment would emerge from Palin's equivocations. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas. If audacity were hope, John McCain and Sarah Palin would be our saviors.
Look, by virtually any means of measurement, the performance of Sarah Palin during last nights debate was an insult to voters and a mockery of our political process. While I realize Republicans want to support their ticket and hold the White House, the fact that any American could ignore the utter inanity of her performance last night...and cast a vote for the McCain-Palin ticket...is an affront to the integrity of our democracy.
To grant legitimacy to tactical cynicism is to empower the reckless acts of those who would sacrifice our society for their own exigent egotism. The only salient conclusion one can draw from John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate is that he may be the most dangerous man in America. Make no mistake; John McCain's life is the epitome of insolence and self-indulgence. Sarah Palin's selection is simply the exclamation mark.
With that said, John McCain is merely a symptom of a far more endemic illness. John McCain embodies a segment of our society that is willing to sacrifice rationality and reasonability for the pursuit of power and profit. Were that the limit of this egregious era of enmity, I might reconsider this recitation. The gravity of this moment doesn't afford that luxury.
John McCain and Sarah Palin do not represent the heart and soul of America...they are impostors who wrap themselves in the superficial rhetoric of patriotism, righteousness, and religiosity. They do this by denigrating and casting doubt upon those qualities in others. It takes the form of narcissistic negation designed to deny worth to those who refuse to check their cerebral capacities at the door and adopt their mindless mantras. When I witness the chanting of "USA, USA" or "Drill baby drill" at a McCain rally, I don't hear the collective cries of informed and evolved individuals; I hear and see the summary suspension of identity for the comfort of canned incantations.
The fact that this lockstep submission to simplistic circumlocution is being glorified in the disingenuous gesticulations of Governor "give me a frickin' break" Palin is an insult to true patriots, the resolutely righteous, and those who respect religion enough to forego flaunting it as if it were the latest fashion. Yes, John McCain served his country in the military...but the measure of a man must be his motivations...just as is the case with regards to the service of one's God. If patriotism or religion is employed as the means to manipulate others, neither is noble or noteworthy.
To understand this concept, and its relevance in discerning the essence of John McCain from the caricature he has carefully crafted, I highly recommend reading the recent article in Rolling Stone that traces his less than laudable biography.
As I read the article, I found myself recalling the story of Forrest Gump. While there may be symmetries in these two men's situations, they begin to diverge at the moment one delves into an examination of the purity of happenstance versus the cunning of calculation. While this exercise in illumination is intended to inform as to the integrity of the individual, it becomes especially insidious when a number of the observers can no longer apply objectivity in identifying the insincerity of the protagonist's executions. Ironically, the juxtaposition of fiction and fact only serves to amplify the premise of my argument...a belief that America is on the verge of becoming a tragic caricature of itself...prosecuted by icons hatched from the thin air of our illogical imaginations.
To understand the inevitable outcome of this diminishment-by-denial brand of obfuscation...carried out by and for the McCain-Palin candidacy...take a look at its full and frightening manifestation in Rich Lowry's summarization of the "performance" of Sarah Palin, posted at the National Review.
A very wise TV executive once told me that the key to TV is projecting through the screen. It's one of the keys to the success of, say, a Bill O'Reilly, who comes through the screen and grabs you by the throat. Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.
Perhaps I'm wrong, but isn't the moment at which projection becomes an acceptable substitute for substantive competence and principled character, the moment at which reality has been rejected? The fact that this analysis...deliberately divorced from the fundamental consideration of John McCain's judgment in selecting Palin...can be put forth by Lowry and embraced by millions only exacerbates the erosion of rational thought.
As I read Lowry's inanity, it seemed as if this election was being reduced to the kind of manipulations one might expect to witness when a scantily clad vixen engages the unbridled libido of an adulterous husband on the prowl. Ah, yes, nothing better than pecker politics. Not only is this the epitome of a sexist oversimplification, it suggests the Governor is simply an object used as the means to an end. The cynicism is shocking.
That brings me back to John McCain and Forrest Gump. You see, the trajectory of the life of Forrest Gump was best exemplified by the flight of a feather in the wind...whereby the unintended acted upon the soul of an innocent. On the other hand, Sarah Palin is an offshoot of John McCain's path...a path that is akin to the clever carpenter cutting corners to build a house of cards...whereby his suspect soul is little more than a hypocritical hologram that puts Palin forth as the purposeful act of a sullied snake-oil salesman. In the progression of the pathology I'm describing, Sarah Palin is merely a distraction offered by the disease in order to further its spread and prevent its detection and destruction. The Rich Lowry's of the world are its toxic foot soldiers and the voting public is its intended victim.
In the end, it is insufficient to diagnose the source of our sickness and excise it from our body politic. Absent an aggressive intervention aimed towards inoculating the entirety of the organism, the unseen outposts of our oncology will continue to multiply. Treatment must be comprehensive. The return to rational health must include the rejection of those who would willingly drink the elixir and subscribe to the suggestions that it is an essential element of our identity.
Those who consume the potion called Sarah Palin at the behest of John McCain and his minions do so at their own peril. Once the pathogen gains a foothold, prevention will prove futile. America is on the precipice of a pandemic. Those of sound mind and steeled judgment must speak out against the allure of inauthenticity. Sarah Palin is poison. John McCain is pushing and promoting that poison. Stand up and demand that America purge itself of this vile virus. Restoration is coming...rejection is the cure.