« Previous  
 Next »

Considering Palin

09/24/08 5:55PM By Mike Martin
 MP3   Download MP3 

(HOST) Commentator Mike Martin says that his wife has been thinking about Sarah Palin lately - and what effect her candidacy may be having on public discourse.

(MARTIN) My wife, Magali, had a long dream about Sarah Palin the other night. She told me that John McCain's running mate was in our house and wouldn't leave, and so my poor wife spent the rest of her dream trying to make Ms. Palin go away. Now I'm no expert on dreams, but I'm pretty sure that something about Sarah Palin is weighing on Magali's mind. And now that I think of it... we have been talking a lot about Ms. Palin lately.

Magali grew up in France, so even though she's lived, worked, and paid taxes in the U.S. for 16 years now, she still gets surprised by certain aspects of American political culture, and the Sarah Palin phenomenon is probably one of these culture shocks. Despite some recent changes, in France the family life of politicians is strictly off-limits. Unless the children go into politics themselves, they aren't reported on and don't join their parents on stage during campaigns. So even though it's common in the U.S., my wife doesn't think the Palin kids should be part of her political profile. And while she does think that special-needs parenting and teen pregnancy are important issues, she doesn't think they're as important as our biggest challenges, namely, the economy, the energy crisis, and our two wars.

And Magali worries about extreme populism, too. In her native France, voters usually elect leaders who seem really smart, but she realizes that, in order to connect with ordinary folks, American politicians make a point of not seeming too smart. Still, she didin't know what to make of Ms. Palin's claim to not know what the Vice-President does all day, or what the Bush Doctrine is, or why we probably shouldn't fight Russia in Georgia. And since my wife values scientific progress and the freedom of ideas, she's also concerned by news reports that Ms. Palin has encouraged book-banning and censorship in Alaska - and that she may not believe in evolution or global warming either. My wife thinks that politicians can't afford to be closed off to concepts like these, if they're going to find solutions to big problems like the economy, the energy crisis, and our two wars.

In fact, the whole thing has my wife worried that voters, especially some women, may be tempted to vote solely on the basis of gender, instead of taking the time to study the issues. Especially the really big ones like the economy, the energy crisis, and our two wars.

So maybe this explains my wife's bad dream about Sarah Palin. It's not that Magali doesn't care about feminism or child-rearing, it's just that Ms. Palin's nomination seems to have us talking mostly about Ms. Palin's moose-hunting, expensive shoes, and fashionable eyeglasses. Deep down, I think Magali is just worried that we've sort of missed the point during this presidential campaign. I think she's losing sleep because we're not talking enough about what really matters, you know... the economy, the energy crisis, and our two wars.
comments powered by Disqus
Supported By
Become an Underwriter | Find an Underwiter