Monday, 11 April 2011

Reflections on Sarah Palin, the Media and Civilized Society

The comments on the post "Sarah Palin Strikes Again," published yesterday, made me reflect on why I still write about her. I don't think she's going to run for the presidency, she's not a viable candidate.

But Sarah Palin is dangerous. She may be an idiot, prone to word salad, bad sartorial choices and a questionable taste in hairstyles, all the things that make her an object of ridicule around the world. She's not dangerous on her own, the danger comes from the fact that she has strong allies in the media.

What? The "lamestream media?" Yes, the very same lamestream media she whines about all the time are her strongest allies.

They gave her a voice when they reported her every tweet, every Facebook note and discussed her TV appearances as if they had come from somebody who had something substantial to say. They not only allowed, but actively inserted her "death panels" into the healthcare reform debate. If they had ignored her and allowed her idiotic pronouncements to fall into a void, she wouldn't be a danger at all. Sarah Palin is a mouthpiece, a poster girl doing somebody else's bidding. She's the "pretty" face of a very ugly movement.

Do the media do it for the ratings, do they do it out of greed? Or are they part of the movement to discredit the president? There are honorouble members of the media who do call her out on her most egregious statements, who ridicule her because they find her ridiculous indeed. But their attempts get mixed with all the rest, with all the reports that don't question her idiocy, that validate her views by presenting them as having substance.

Sarah Palin has poisoned the political dialogue and has shifted the political debate to a very ugly place. The media gave her the power to do so. They have empowered her puppetmasters in the process and that's the real danger.

When Obama was elected, I thought the ugly face of America would become a thing of the past. America had elected a black president in a country where not so long ago black people were sent to the back of the bus.

I don't agree with every decision president Obama makes and I don't consider him to be left wing, not by any stretch of the imagination. But Obama is a compassionate man who believes in society, who believes that government exists to serve the people.

What do Sarah Palin and her bosses believe in? They believe that government should be small, that taxes and services should be cut, that programs to which people have paid into all their working lives are entitlement programs. They believe that healthcare is for the rich, that the insurance companies can play god and determine who lives and who dies, based on money alone. They believe that the mega rich are more worthy of reward than the less well-off hard working people. Taxes are for the poor, the middle class, not for the people who can afford to pay them. The only sacred thing is the military: "We win, they lose."

America leads the world, but it's still a country where the religious right calls the shots, where the rich have more rights than the poor and where there's a misguided belief that America should spread its wings and dictate to other countries how they should conduct themselves. It reminds me of society in the Dark Ages. The poor had to pay their dues to the Church to go to heaven and to the nobility in return for protection against invading hordes from other kingdoms.

It's inconceivable (in this day and age) for a first world country to have a tiny number of "haves" and a vast majority of "have-nots." It's truly unbelievable that in a modern society many people could be left to die or to go without healthcare because it's considered an privilege. It's obscene to have a first world country allowing profit-making insurance companies to play with people's lives, extracting every last cent from a hard working population while denying them the services they paid for at the drop of a hat. It's inhumane to treat the poor as an inconvenient nuisance.

President Obama tried to address this. He tried to take America out of the dark ages and bring the country to more equitable conditions, in line with the rest of the developed world. Here is a man who believes in a civilized, modern society.

The America Sarah Palin would like to see would not be a civilized, modern country. It would be a barbaric society, without compassion, without regard for other human beings, without regard for nature, where the only regard would be for money and power. Countries would be invaded and God would be invoked to give the powerful an aura of righteousness.

The media gave power to her violent rhetoric, to her vitriolic attacks on the president, they gave her words a weight they do not deserve.

I despise certain aspects of America as a country, I despise the cult of money and the religious lunacy, I fear her military might and the tendency to shove "democracy" down the throats of people in other countries, but I've learned to love Americans. That's why I will still write about Sarah Palin and try to counter her poisonous barbs agaisnt those who believe society should be better for all. I will continue to expose her phony political record.

I will also continue to denounce the media that have neglected their duty to investigate Sarah Palin's lies: Her record as well as the faked pregnancy. They have given her too much power and she feels free to derail any attempt at civilized political debate.