Friday, January 21, 2011
Palin and Emotional Extremes
I have said before in several forums that I am NOT a supporter of Sarah Palin for president. I have a variety of reasons for this, not the least of which is that she is both a militarist/statist AND that she falls prey to the Christian Right's fantasy that with “godly leaders” and good laws, we can transform society.
That said, I am also bemused at the howling at the moon unhinged nature of the left's obsessive hatred of Palin. All you have to do to find it is find a friend on a public forum (Facebook, for example) who is fairly leftist, find a thread which references politics (or Palin) and make a statement about her that is something other than contemptuously dismissive. Watch the fireworks.
Ask them why all the hate, and they'll say it is because she's a moron....., about a woman who ran against JOE BIDEN???????????? Nah. She is not very articulate at times, and at times is really bereft of intellectual coherency (look at the recent YouTube where Fox Business asks her about economics..... painful). But crap. By that standard, they would be dragging Biden, Kerry, and Obama all three out into the street with a hangman's noose. Talk about STUPID! No, it is something different.
Some of the elite mock her state education. After all, she did take 5 years to finish a mass comm degree, and it wasn't even from Yale, or Stanford. That kind of tripe only comes from pretentious snots who posture that titles are a substitute for competency....., you know, the brilliant band of Ivy Leaguers who have guided this country into the current economic status we enjoy. Even then, it is just surface carping.
The emotional intensity is VERY sex specific. Conservative men tend to like Palin. Ask them why and they will usually lead with or at least mention how easy she is to look at. Ha. It is just men. We often substitute testosterone for cranial activity. Rant about it all you wish. It just is. Leftist men are more passive and manipulative in Palin bashing. They usually drop sneering attacks as a way to score cheap points with the women in their lives. Or, they will drop some sexually charged remark they could NEVER get away with in mixed company in any other context. Kind of like being able to repeat a sexually contemptuous joke you heard that would get you a night on the couch (or worse!) in any other setting. However, neither group of men have the emotional reaction to Sarah you find from women.
The essence of hatred from the left is similar to the heart pounding, almost worshipful adulation from elements on the right. Both come primarily from women. I believe it is because Sarah is a living symbol of the division over what standards women use to define themselves.
No area in this division is more central than that of children; conceiving, gestating, delivering, and rearing them. Many modern women have made choices regarding sexual activity, pregnancy, abortion, careers, etc. which make them “equal” with men, but must, by definition, put them at odds with women who define themselves more traditionally. The division between the Christian Right and secular women is the sharpest and most contentious here. It is filled with emotion, precisely because it is a huge chasm over what “feminism,” or the definition of “who I am” is in the first place.
Sarah Palin is a symbol to both groups. She is important, not because of who she actually is (she actually does not fully fit the representation of either group), but what she stands for. Conservative women adore her because she represents what they all long to be: skilled to use her feminine traits to lead, attractive but not slutty, devoted to her husband, faithful to God, loyal like a tigress to her family, gracious in the face of moral failures of her children, decision to bring a mentally challenged baby to term and love him. Put her in the prez office and correctly or incorrectly, she is perceived as one who “has it all.” Liberal women hate her for precisely the same reason. She got there not only without them, but by rejecting the very core values they have adopted.
The deepest hatred comes from Sarah's position on abortion rights. This is – I believe – because Sarah has dared to rouse questions of guilt and discomfort women had buried under layers of what they called “feminism” but was actually just secularism and a re-definition of what constitutes a living being. What is more offensive, she has actually made large and significant choices in her life (and guided her daughter) that reflect those values. Parading her in front of the American public is tantamount to saying “YOU DID NOT HAVE TO GO THAT ROUTE!” to millions of American women. The message is there, whether she says it or not......, and she certainly says it. Not only does she say so, she enjoys baiting her detractors. Because of the deep nature of the issues involved, this drives women on the left into a head spinning orgy of venom spitting hatred. This is why I believe she will never be president. She actually capitalizes on the divisions and drives her negatives higher than just about any other politico.
When you define Sarah in that light, it is no wonder that the emotional reaction is so strong. Conservative women who have defined themselves PRIMARILY in terms of career sacrificing (they will never be interviewed, much less a talking head or politico) choices to devote themselves to God, family, motherhood, etc., those women see Sarah as a vindication of who they are. Liberal women see her as a challenge to the core values they have used to define themselves. It is unimportant whether Sarah is consistent with either one of these images. This “symbol” of what it means to be a woman is going for the jugular, and women from both sides of the aisle know it.