Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Really World? Palin is What Fascinates You?

Greetings to all of you reading this. I have a question for you. Why are you so fascinated with Sarah Palin?

This little spot where I vent on a regular basis usually has a few faithful readers. I'm not at all sure why they check in but I appreciate it.

Sarah Palin changed that this week. Suddenly my readership has gone through the relative roof and it's all because I had an opinion about why she doesn't want to be Alaska's governor anymore. Or maybe I didn't - it's certainly confusing.

Is it schadenfreude...pleasure from the misfortunes of others? That doesn't really fit, unless you're reading this sitting comfortably somewhere other than the United States, in which case I'm betting that's it. Funny stuff, no? I can't say I blame you.

But Americans - what's up with you? Are we so desperate for a distraction from the recession that we'll spend two weeks mourning Michael Jackson and heap on a dose of mind boggling confusion as Look At Me Sarah grabs the headlines yet again?

I watched cable news tonight and heard many Republicans still think she's presidential material. That's pretty interesting, I guess. A politician whose celebrity far outweighs her abilities quits the post she wanted and is still considered a viable candidate?

I think our celebrity worship has finally gone too far. Sarah Palin is being turned into the American Conservative Lady Di (wait, hear me out) - she's attractive, glamorous and seen as an everyday person who has made good. (That's where the comparisons end, Britain - I've seen nothing Look At Me Sarah has done that attempts to make the world a better place. So far it's all about increasing her own importance.)

What is going on with us?

America has vilified Michael Jackson for years, now we're acting like Albert Schweitzer just died. Are we feeling guilty or do we just need a huge national venting of sadness?

A pretty and ambitious woman with few credentials and some serious weaknesses gets the glamor treatment, taps into Conservative America's innate insecurity and anger and suddenly can do no wrong? She should be a blip on history's radar. Why are we even paying attention to her anymore?

I'll be even handed here. The world went crazy for Barack Obama and is still crazy for his wife. He's a politician. I do not believe he is the be-all and the end-all. I do think he's a vast improvement over what we had for the eight years prior to his election. But I'm not a member of the fan club and I'm not going to worship anyone unreservedly, most especially not anyone who's succeeded in our political system. Success in a corrupt, old-boy system to me means you were way too good at it.

Michelle Obama? I like her. She seems like a good person. I'm not going to go nuts over her either.

These are human beings. They will, if you decide to worship them, disappoint you. Human beings are immensely fallible. They should be seen as humans and given credit for the good work they attempt to do without turning them into superheroes.

Our demands for perfection in our leaders has led us to be disappointed in all of them. Thanks to a 24 hour news cycle and the Internet, there is no way to avoid discovering the missteps and foibles of our public figures. Everything comes out eventually. That means we must grow up.

Our heroes, every single one of them, are humans. They have flaws. Some have massive flaws. Instead of blind worship, let's assess their strengths, support them when they are accomplishing good things and when they inevitably fall from grace, let's not react like shocked children. Let's rationally weigh the mistake and ask if it now interferes with their ability to continue to accomplish good things.

For South Carolina's governor, the answer in my mind is yes - he's compromised. He was AOL. His priorities are now suspect. For Sarah Palin, my answer would be yes - she's compromised. She's displayed poor leadership, petty behavior and a lack of intellect that makes her unsuitable for politics. She's a natural for Fox News.
And honestly, when I wrote that I didn't mean to be nasty - but I guess it is and I'll stand by it.

President Obama, so far, is doing an exemplary job as a leader. I do not expect everyone to agree with where he's leading us and it's fair game to debate it. But he is a strong, confident, intelligent leader whose aim appears to be the good of this country. I cannot ask for more from my president. If I disagree with the direction he chooses, it's my responsibility to speak up and attempt to change that direction. But finally, at long last, we have a president I am not ashamed of.

The First Lady gets a free pass forever in my opinion, so long as she continues to uphold the dignity of her position. I didn't elect her, she didn't ask me to and I appreciate the efforts she and every First Lady before her have made. These women give up years of their lives and though it may be a thrilling opportunity, I'm certain there are many nights when they fall into bed and wonder what happened to them. I'm not going to make a rock star out of her.

So thank you for reading, but again - why are you so interested in Sarah Palin? Or any other celebrity for that matter. Wouldn't it be far better to be concentrating on doing something great yourself?

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