Friday, November 19, 2010

What is Sarah Palin Telling Us About Herself?

Here’s the only statistic that we need to know. The top 1% of the American population owns 34% of the personal wealth in the country. Financial inequity like this doesn’t exist in any other developed nation on earth, and historically this kind of outrageous distribution and concentration of wealth has usually been associated with African dictatorships and banana republics and Iron Curtain oligarchies during the middle of the last century.

In her newest book (according to excerpts leaked this week before the book’s publication) Sarah Palin has said that Barack Obama sees America as unjust and unfair. Since this wasn’t meant to compliment the President, the clear implication is that Sarah sees America as just and fair, and this isn’t surprising given the fact that she is being paid a million dollars per episode for her new reality show featuring the Tundra Tootsie and her family frolicking in their home state of Alaska. Sarah is rapidly worming her way into that top one percent, and I’m sure that this looks perfectly just and fair to her.

What we are seeing in America is, in the light of history, a familiar picture. Nations in decline always show the same indicators. The flags get more numerous (yes, the definition of flags includes all those obnoxious little ribbon loops plastered on the back of automobiles). The patriotic parades and celebrations get larger and more passionate. The rhetoric gets more disconnected from reality, and eventually a dangerous, and often cartoonish, demagogue emerges promising to lead the failing nation into a new dawn. Enter Sarah Palin. Following in the footsteps of Imelda Marcos or Eva Peron, insisting all the while that she's not really a diva, Sarah Palin seems to see herself fulfilling some kind of queen-like destiny as she exhorts the peasants to take up their torches and pitchforks so she can lead them out of modern American serfdom. The thing is, most Americans are just dumb enough to go along with it. I wouldn't bet against her.

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