Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why do people hate Sarah Palin?

OK, maybe this title needs some more nuance. Why do liberal Democrats hate Sarah Palin? And is hate too strong a word? Should I qualify even further and say, why do liberal-progressive Democrats dislike the things Sarah Palin seems to stand for/represent?

You know what? This is one of the problems with being a liberal-progressive person who recognizes complexity. Saying "I hate Sarah Palin" is so much more pithy a phrase than, "I am not in agreemet with the political stances that Sarah Palin has taken while she has held public office in Alaska." Really, the first phrase: catchy. Second phrase: not so much.

But the truth is, I don't hate Sarah Palin. I don't know the woman, why should I hate her? I do, however, feel VERY UNCOMFORTABLE with the idea that she may become Vice President, and I'm even more disturbed by the idea that she may become President one day.

What I'm intrigued by is why she is pushing so many buttons among us liberal-progressive Democrats (especially those of us feeilng the Obama love). And I'm equally intrigued by why so many Conservative-Evangelical Republicans seem to ADORE her. Why the hate and why the love? Why does she rile emotions in us that polarize into feeling she is the downfall to Democracy or its savior?

Among responses I've seen in liberal progressive circles are:

*Tim Wise's essay on white privilege that really focuses on Sarah Palin
[I think its on the money, but I do find it interesting that Wise concentrates so much on Palin vs. John McCain, who certainly seems like he could be a posterboy for white male privilege]

*An email message that has been circulating asking folks to vote on-line through a PBS/NOW poll on whether or no Sarah Palin is qualified to be Vice President. The message reads:
PBS has a poll that asks: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be VP?

The Right is having people vote that Palin is qualified.

Let's turn this around..... You don't have to give your name or email
address in order to vote. It's very simple. Five seconds is all it takes.

Here's the link: http://www.pbs.org/now/polls/poll-435.html

*Another circulated email message asking people to make a $5 donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name as a protest to her anti-choice stance. The text reads:

Here's a fantastic idea. For a mere $5 you can let the McBush folks know what you think. Here's all you do (if you don't believe in Palin's platform):

Make a $5 minimum donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name. A Planned Parenthood donation is tax deductible, while a political donation isn't. And when you make the donation in Palin's name, they'll send her a card noting that the donation was given in her name.

Here's the link to the 'in honor of' donation link on the Planned Parenthood website

Fill in the address to let Planned Parenthood know where to send the 'in Sarah Palin's honor' card. Use the address for the McCain campaign headquarters:

McCain for President/Sarah Palin
1235 S. Clark Street, 1st Floor
Arlington, VA 22202

So what is it about Sarah Palin that inspires such strong emotions in people?


Jennifer Imazeki said...

I don't know about anyone else but I'll say that for me, part of my strong reaction to Palin is just a continuation of my hatred of Bush. I have lost all respect for McCain, although I once considered voting for him (or maybe I should say 'because I once considered voting for him'!), but if he does win, at least I can still hold out hope that maybe once this campaign is over, he'll find his way back to the independent man he once was. But Palin seems to embody everything I hate about Bush, from their stomp-all-over-personal-freedom-when-it-clashes-with-their-"Christian" values to plain old lack of intelligence. The more I learn about her, the more similarities I see to Bush and it terrifies and enrages me.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for your comment (and sorry for my late response). I can see some similarities between Sarah Palin & George Bush that do seem pretty disturbing--an arrogance that masks ignorance, a charisma that isn't rooted in ethics, and a dogmatic approach that doesn't allow for nuances and complexities.

But I suspect that the anti-Palin discourse and the plethora of jokes and skits have something more to do with her gender--that we find it easier to make fun of her in the mainstream because she seems like a vapid, hockey mom who doesn't understand foreign policy.

And I'm part of this--I find the some of these skits hilarious (I've posted 2 so far) but I'm also aware that I'm responding to something both within me and without in the larger culture. What IS that? The double bind of being a woman in the public sphere?