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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

How's that mockey, snarky stuff working for ya, Sarah?

Sarah Palin, mocking, disrespect

If you’re a woman and you call anything about Sarah Palin into question, be prepared for the assault. It’s always the same: “you’re jealous because she’s younger better looking successful happily married smarter yadda yadda yadda.”

And if you raise the question I raised in the headline, how’s that mockey, snarky stuff working for ya, Sarah, the answer is pretty darn well, thank you.

In her speech to the Tea Party conventioneers last night, Palin delighted the crowd by jabbing at the President and anybody else on the purported left. The jeer that will live longest in the minds of her fans? “How’s that hopey, changey stuff working for ya?” Already, you can buy the tee-shirt.

Let’s face it: we don’t listen to Palin. We react to her. The same tone and triggers that thrill her supporters annoy the ones she slams.

That’s exactly what’s intended, of course.

I’ve been struggling to understand why this energetic, attractive woman bothers me so much. Last night I figured it out. Her speeches are half popular-girl-running-for-student council-cheerleading. That part’s fine. But the other half is mocking-bully-girl-rabble-rousing.

Bottom line: it’s disrespectful. I don’t remember George Bush being disrespectful of his opponents in speeches. Strong, adversarial. But not mocking. I don’t remember Ronald Reagan, whose name Palin invoked repeatedly, being disrespectful of his opponents. Strong, adversarial. Humorous, even. But not mocking.

It’s also unfortunate. Though most of Palin’s emotionally-targeted speech was intellectually vague, she had some valid and important points to make about transparency, about the failures of the Democratic senate, about the bailouts. But those points were never developed.

And her flip and snide presentation assured that no one who really needed to hear them would.

Today in Quaker meeting (what we call our services), a man rose and spoke of being careful with our speech. Everything we say should come from a spirit of love, he said. “When we talk to one another, we are saying ‘you matter enough for me to put my love into words.’ And then the love transforms the words.”

Some things are just too important to leave up to the middle school cafeteria gang. If Sarah Palin wants to begin to fill the considerable promise that she holds, she’ll have to get a little of that strong-but-respecty-transformy thing going on. And so will the gang that eggs her on.
 

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