Thursday, September 4, 2008

Us & Them...and People Like You

Took me a few days, but I've finally got it. Sarah Palin isn't just the wild card, the catalyst, the spark. Her nomination delivers exactly what this election cycle's been missing: the wedge. Leave it to an Alaskan to heat things up.

Palin brings "people like you" back to the table. Always to Republican advantage, she revives the Culture Wars, which had been at best a series of small skirmishes fought mainly on the world wide web. You couldn't play the People Like You card with Obama, because then you'd be a racist. You couldn't play the People Like You card with McCain, because then you'd be an ageist, and worse, an ageist that's against the troops. But with Palin, a small-town hockey mom governor with charisma and poise and a shitload of familial shenanigans and right-wing social ideologies, we're about to hear "What people like you don't understand" a whole lot more than if Romney, Pawlenty or Lieberman snagged the VP slot.

So now this election's not about the polarizing war. Now it's not about the sputtering economy. Now it's not about rising gas prices, stagnant wages or the declining standard of living for many middle and working-class families.

Now it's about wholesome small-town folks versus those assholes in the big bad city.

Now it's about our social wedge issues: An unmarried pregnant teenage daughter plays midwife to a rekindled abortion debate; support for the 1998 Alaskan constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage riles the gays; B-roll footage of her firing semi-automatic weapons triggers the gun control shootout; a strapping 19-year-old Army son questions everyone's Do You Support Our Troops Enough? nationalism; Palin's questionable church sermon video brings God into the fold; and new revelations about her attending five colleges in six years matriculates the furor over educated elitist snobbery.

Oh, it's on like Donkey Kong.

Focus on the Family fuckfaceian founder James Dobson declared last year that he wouldn't help elect McCain: "Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances," he said. Enter Alaskan Tina Fey and you've got yourself a whole lotta flip-flopping before God. Just this week Dobson praised Palin, giving McCain renewed support from the evangelicals that helped re-elect Bush in the name of Baby Jesus. McCain doesn't have to court the wedge issue voters when Dobson's saying things like: "...Now especially with this selection, with just an outstanding V.P. candidate as a running mate, I tell you what I am relieved and very excited."

I fell for it. Mostly everyone fell for it. This is what McCain's people wanted. They may not have vetted her accurately, but I doubt they even care now. If we thought 2004 was bad, the Culture War is about to get more heated than ever. When Palin last night delivered the line, "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities," I didn't even realize how deep that cut. If I were the Obama camp, I'd respond with something like this:

"How dare this two-bit hack knock community organizers when they're the people who get stuff done when their mayors and governors don't, or can't, or won't? How dare she put down the responsibilities of people who are out on the frontlines to help fight AIDS and homelessness, hunger and child abuse? How dare she belittle the efforts of REAL people taking REAL stands against the problems they face in their own communities, while she sits in a comfortable desk chair and contributes nothing but a signature or a veto?"

Only, as I've come to realize in the past 24 hours, that answer means nothing. No matter how well rebutted, their ultimate point is that "community organizers" represent big-city liberal ideology, and the concept itself will always be a joke to Them. Just as a mayor of 6,000 people thinking it's a real job that counts as experience towards the presidency of these United States will always be a joke to Us. There just will always be a divide between the town and the city, the hustle and the flow, the conservatives and the liberals. But when social conservatism gets in the way of a perfectly good election, all hell breaks loose. And Us and Them fever pisses all over the rulebook.

It was always there, but now it's everywhere. And now it gets ugly.

(Oh, and on a side note, is John McCain a POW? Because if he is, they might want to play that up a little more. I am just finding out about this.)

6 comments:

Passion of the Weiss said...

This is just really great and so tragically true. What an insidious turn of events this is.

Matty Mac said...

Wow, that's two posts in a row about politics that I read, and enjoyed, all the way through. You ought to think about working in the politico/media field someday. Just saying...

Boxcar Fritz said...

I would like this line to be brought out:

"Jesus was a community organizer.

Pontius Pilate was a Governor."

(would work better if Lieberman made the comment.)

Owen Milbury said...

So much for the issues. Bring back the culture wars. It's how Republicans win elections.

How about Rudy Giuliani making fun of Obama for being too 'cosmopolitan?' The irony is thick.

Spanish Miguel said...

Presiding over the Harvard Law Revue is by no means a requirement to be President of the USA. I mean, Bush is Ivy league material, so what's that saying? And though Obama (and Biden, for that matter) actually do come from humble means, including more "real people" like Palin into the national political mix, after years of only multi-millionaires running things, should be viewed as a good thing, as far as I'm concerned.

But 5 colleges in 6 years? No passport 'til 2007? Heard about the surge on the news?

I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing Sarah knows a Sunni from a Shia, or that the Basque country isn't an actual country, or even that Albany is the capital of New York state (though that is a tricky one). I doubt she's ever been in a room with 10 black people or Jews (Jews for Jesus don't count), or that she personally knows anyone who speaks a foreign language. I'd even bet that for all her "hockey mom" rhetoric, she has no idea that her kids listen to Lil Wayne and have seen Paris Hilton suck cock on the internet.

Basically, I don't believe that Sarah knows much more about the world than most Moms and Dads, who might be okay at normal jobs and as parents, but probably shouldn't apply to be leaders of the free world.

Anonymous said...

Classic Ace. Glad to see that they're letting you out of the house more often these days. The world needs your brand of rhetoric to address Ms. PAY LYNNE.

HP