A Commentary on the Candidacy of Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin and her supporters think she represents “average folks.” She tries hard to behave like “average folks”, as if being average were a desirable quality for a vice presidential candidate. Supporters think she understands “average folks” and has their best interests at heart. Sarah Palin is fooling them.
She is not average, and never has been average. Throughout her life, she has demonstrated an intensely competitive spirit (look at her devotion to winning at sports), coupled with notable personal charm (when did a VP candidate get away with winking into the camera?), and traditional female beauty (evidenced in her successful participation in pageants). She has been blessed– or afflicted– with tremendous self-confidence, energy, and an ability to look beyond what many people would consider limitations.
She has a house-husband who manages the home and takes care of a Down Syndrome baby. How “average” is that?
Sarah Palin’s vocabulary, perpetual smile, and breathy voice (when expounding upon her patriotism and plans for the country), are transparent attempts to portray herself as “average.” Her greetings from the podium to school kids are not greetings; they are carefully crafted verbal techniques. Her mispronunciation of “nuclear” is nothing more than a not-so-subtle reassurance that she walks to the right of G.W. Bush.
The concept of “average” implies “majority”, and that is the sense in which Palin wants us to believe she represents Americans. Things aren’t so simple here in America, where “average” has no real meaning, and “majority” applies not to most Americans in the country (as well as out of it!) but to the people within any one person’s immediate circle.
Let us abandon the notion that Sarah Palin somehow represents the “average” and therefore the “majority” of the American citizenry. Let us recognize that her efforts to use casual language and to display the tiresome American tendency towards extreme friendliness will not be well received on the international front. Let us acknowledge that style does not always indicate substance, and cannot substitute for it, especially when the direction of entire countries need nothing if not substance.
Let us strike the word “average” from our description of Sarah Palin. Who, then, do we have in her?