Few modern politicians can elicit the reaction that Sarah Palin usually gets. To her fans and supporters, she’s a plain spoken conservative with common-sense ideas for America. To her detractors, she’s a shrill, not-too-bright snowbilly hick who’s full of hatred.
How does one account for such wild swings in opinion?
The answer is at once simple and complex; she speaks a foreign language.
Her grassroots appeal is why her supporters are her supporters. She rose through the political ranks from the local arena, through a mayorship, on to governor of Alaska, and onto the national stage as a vice-presidential candidate. Her wisdom and political acumen is borne of experience.
Her detractors cite her lack of a political pedigree. She doesn’t come from a prominent political family and she wasn’t educated at Yale, Harvard, or Princeton. She’s not aware of the ins and outs (the nuances, if you will) of politics. They cite her folksy demeanor, which they, in their infinite wisdom, interpret as something less than elite, common, and she is therefore unfit for public office. In their own highly esteemed opinion, she’s not one of them.
I’ve wondered why all the hate towards someone I identify with? It’s been my experience that experience is the best teacher of all. Sarah Palin has experience, but she also has something that has been absent in our political process for quite some time, and is poised to make a grand comeback: principles and meaning.
This is a subtle thing, this meaning. It’s been removed from our national dialogue through the introduction of political correctness. Note again, if you will, something I pointed out the other day. Words that formerly had meaning have been replaced with something far less than precise. The easily understood description of a garbageman has been replaced with the term “sanitation worker.” This is only one example, there are quite a few more.
When this trend began, it’s supporters insisted on the new usage over the old one. I’ve seen and heard speakers corrected mid-sentence for not using the new, improved language of politi-speak. I always felt like asking those people, “Why do you insist that I use the word “spokesperson” instead of “spokesman”? Do you not know what I mean? I do include men and women who speak on behalf of a group. Why can’t you understand that?” But that’s not me on TV.
It seems that the plain old traditional method of communication where the meaning of a word was plainly understood by all is falling into disfavor, primarily among those who think themselves to be superior to the rest of us. It’s a conceit, a shibboleth, to indicate that they belong to a certain class of Americans who are oh-so-much more enlightened than us knuckle-dragging bitter-clingers.
Look around you and ask yourself just how good of a job these political elites are doing. There’s not much to recommend, is there?
If I may, I’d like to draw another analogy to the engineering world. If I have an idea for a product, I have an overall sense of what that I want that product to do. That’s called the “design intent” and it functions as an umbrella of sorts over the project. When questions about a specific aspect of the product arise, they take the form of “What is the intent of the design?” The answer to that question determines a lot.
It’s an all-encompassing concept that guides the development for said product. Sometimes it’s easily recognized and documented, at other times it’s less clear, but it’s always there. This could also be called the guiding principle of the design.
So, what we have here is a “first principle” or the basis of the intent of the design; it serves as the foundation of the product, regardless of the steps or methods of development.
Now, let’s move that idea of an overarching principle and apply it to Sarah Palin. Her speeches tend to be long on ideology and somewhat short on specifics, something her detractors are quick to point out. But there’s a reason for that: she is speaking of the overall concepts that should guide our country, but are missing in today’s political arena of ideas.
Take ObamaCare (please!). It seems the progressives, in their zeal to implement one of their most cherished big-government programs, universal health care for all, ignored the most important design principle of all: the never bothered to ask if what they were trying to do was permitted by our Constitution.
Had we the proper people acting in our stead in Washington, this would’ve been the first question that was asked before starting on that legislative crusade. Clearly it wasn’t, which is why 26 states have filed suit against it and why it’s currently being argued in the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta today. They just went ahead and did it, making the rules up as they went along.
Back to Sarah, when she speaks, she speaks of the lost values of individualism, personal responsibility and freedom, and of the limited role of government that was the original intent of our Founders. These are the principles enshrined in our constitution and the ones that should be the intent of every law that is written. You and I know, however, this is far from what’s happening in Washington today.
And the number of people who can’t understand her is deeply concerning. They seem oblivious to meaning, and look at you funny when you say something that they should intuitively understand, yet don’t.
I’m noticing more and more of these curious creatures as time goes by. They tend to repeat slogans and buzzwords, glibly free of any kind of relevance to reality. When presented with the facts that disprove their position, their emotions take over instead of their intellect. Rational argument is replaced with criticism and name-calling.
Just like third grade.
It’s not that Sarah Palin is dumb, not by any means. As we’ve seen in the past few days of the Anthony Weiner scandal, we have the ability to elect some stupid, dishonest people without principles into positions of power.
The people who still support Weiner after the truth was known about his virtual peccadillos will never understand Sarah Palin.
And they vote.
Sleep well tonight.