Monday, October 06, 2008

It's All Greek to Sarah Palin

A post script on Palin and the Vice Presidential debate:

By this time, Palin's penchant for sticking to her preordained script has been well documented, but there was one moment that stuck out in my mind as transcending the strategy of avoidance.

That moment came when Gwen Ifill asked the Senator from Alaska to identify her Achilles Heel.

When Sarah circumvented the question, launching into her own gobbledygook about being the executive of a huge energy-producing state, it seemed that something else motivated her response.

It was her sheer ignorance of the term Achilles Heel.

After conducting a quick Internet search this morning, I see that I am late in making this claim. Alas, dozens of bloggers and observers already beat me to it.

Evidently, Sarah's silence in the face of a mythological reference is not a subtle discovery on my part. To many observers, the governor of Alaska was basically her way through the debate hoping that the American people never noticed she didn't exactly answer the questions.

But even if my observation is late, or utterly unoriginal, it nevertheless merits attention.


Because as of this morning, there are still intelligent, educated and formerly liberal people who have somehow become bewitched by Palin as a byproduct of their fear of Obama.

Because these people -- some of whom might be friends or family members -- have managed to turn off the discriminating parts of their brains in order to make Sarah Palin palpable just long enough to pull the lever for McCain.

It would make me ever-more-comfortable hearing a McCain supporter admit that Sarah Palin is a bitter pill to swallow, an occupational hazard of supporting John McCain.

Instead, I see wild enthusiasm for a person who -- under normal circumstances -- would have them rolling their eyes. Or seeing her as the antithesis of everything one would hope for in the executive office.

We need to remind these friends, family members or even strangers that we should expect a modicum of cultural literacy for the person hoping to occupy the office of Vice President of the United States.

To mask illiteracy as some kind of noble anti-elitism is a pathetic, doomed tactic.

And while it is possible to memorize talking points for a debate, it is not possible to cram the core curriculum of contemporary civilization... not that she is even trying.

Since she was unable to answer, nay, understand, Gwen Ifill's question, let me take the liberty of answering it for her.

Sarah Palin's Achilles Heel is not just her ignorance but her complete and utter lack of intellectual aspiration.

And since America is as much an idea as a reality, this tendency doesn't bode well for the future of our great nation.

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