Rumors of nefarious lying by Sarah Palin about the true mother of her fifth child spread like wildfire over the weekend. They have since been proven false.
Meanwhile, actual incidents of Palin’s difficult understand of the meaning of the term truth popped up all weekend. She’s been lying about the “Bridge To Nowhere, lying about the official she fired for not breaking the law and firing the ex brother-in-law state trooper her family was in a nasty dispute with and since two (or many more perhaps?) lies mean more lies, perhaps lying about her support of the Hitler sympathizer Pat Buchannan in 1996.
That she joins the ranks of Obama, Biden and McCain as professional liars when the times require it is no surprise. This is what we expect of politicians these days.
Yet, this year has been seemingly more nasty (at least rhetorically) than past years. Or has it? The more memorable conspiracy theories and crackpot attacks (usually spread by e-mail and word of mouth but also finding life in blog posts) that have come this year are:
- Mitt Romney’s multiple wives
- Barack Obama as Muslim, as Arab and the guy who would not greet the troops in Afghanistan
- Michelle Obama condemning “Whitey” in a video
- Sarah Palin’s baby cover-up
- Ron Paul as a Grand Wizard in Texas
This is the same politrix, just with a more venomous reach, amplified by the widespread use of e-mail and social networking tools.
In a country where discredited tomes of conjecture and outright lies can be so popular as to be the #1 NYTimes bestseller, this is certainly no surprise.
The only thing that nags at me is when some yahoo will take matters into their own hands and try to save the country by taking out what they perceive as the greatest threat to it. Because you know, they read it in a book or heard about it on the news… because Olbermann or Coulter said so, or Corsi or Moore wrote it.
To steal a phrase from a candidate, “my friends”…. we live in a country with many wonderful people. Unfortunately, we have a failed mental health system that allows many of our small minority of nutjobs to roam freely in a time when states are too busy crafting new gun laws rather than enforcing existing ones. So one day, one of these nutsos will grab a gun and a put a bullet in that Muslim demon running for President… or that corporate rapist who is despoiling the mother Earth.
We have been far too lucky to not have an assassination lately. I feel terribly certain our luck will run out soon.
I posted earlier today about Sarah Palin’s choice to have her child in spite of him being identified as being afflicted with Down’s Syndrome. I praised her decision to not have an abortion, though I acknowledged that I could not bear to criticize a woman who chose differently, given the extreme physical, emotional and financial costs involved.I acknowledged her as the likely vice president
After an afternoon and evening of listening to dozens of people at work, at school and at the ER (where I was continuing my City…. tour… how the &#(! do hospitals manage to treat all these illegal aliens with serious illnesses and injuries?!) vent about the Palin pick, I am inclined to take back my praise.
- One woman noted Palin opposes abortion in any case; including rape and incest. Upon further reflection, that is an extremist position beyond the pale. The women at my job and in my Friday Astronomy Lab are all (with a single exception) middle-aged and older whites… their discussions about Palin focused on her extreme positions on Creationism and abortion. These women were not high on Obama/Biden before today, but reappraisals were fast forming.
- Older people carped over and over again about McCain being reckless picking a neophyte as his VP, knowing damn well how important a VP was to people about to vote for the oldest president in history. I hope for McCain’s sake he focus-tested this pick with seniors, who seem mighty skeptical about this pick from the opinions I heard expressed, mostly from older whites who find Obama inexperienced and risky but now think the same thing about McCain given his age and his VP.
- A woman in the ER whose six year old was bleeding from having his fingers caught in a door asked what kind of mother Palin was, taking on a job much, much more stressful and time-consuming than governor of a backwater state with few serious problems compared to the lower 48 states. When I talked about admiring Palin’s parenting as it was with a young infant who has Down’s Syndrome, she stood back horrified and said Palin must be heartless or incompetent to put political office over the needs of a disabled infant, not to mention other young children.
Listening to these Southerners made me rethink McCain’s choice. It looks foolish. Palin is not and will not likely be as appealing over time as identity politics are only so potent and eventually the facade will fade for women and independents in play. She had better be the second transformative political figure of 2008 for this country not to be cursed with a woefully unprepared VP in January just a heart attack, stroke or other common ailment of the post-70 crowd away from the Presidency. McCain could have chosen any number of other well-qualified women within his party, instead, he found the one seemingly least qualified to be Commander-in-Chief. This is incredibly depressing.
Much will be said about our country’s likely next Vice President.
Lost in the political calculations will be the story of a mother who knew before the birth of her fifth child that he would have Down Syndrome. As much as I personally oppose abortion, I understand that such a realization forces a choice that no one would ever want to have to make and cannot begrudge a mother who chose an abortion in such a case.
That said, Palin chose to have the baby in spite of the enormous physical, emotional and financial costs involved.
Having witnessed a close friend agonize (and paying a nearly unbearable price for her choice) from her experience declining an abortion and having a baby girl with a debilitating disorder, I cannot help but admire Palin’s choice ever the more.