Now while this might not play most venues, in the heartland the lily white American breadbasket, the guts of the republic -- it tugs at heartstrings and revives the mythical dreams, the improbable if-she-can-I-can-ism that still propels us from our beds in the morning and out into the world beyond. She validates our own naivete', our happily willful, uniquely American ignorance not only "of" but "about" near everything -- all your jerk-off neighbor's genuinely offensive sociopolitical ramblings now gospel, your jerk-off neighbor himself now a celebrity, dare I say a sage, in the bargain.
As T.W. Farnum wrote in last Sunday's Washington Post ("Political divide between coasts and midwest deepening, midterm election analysis shows" -- 11/21/10) --
"Results from November's midterm elections have exposed a deepening divide between cities on the coasts and less dense areas in the middle of the country.
The Republicans' big gains in the House came largely from districts that were older, less diverse and less educated than the nation as a whole."
And that could be the answer to the query posed by Palin's popularity. I mean, why would anyone in their right mind buy this crap. But we're not talking functioning brains here -- we're talking predominantly white, middle-aged Americans... and in Wasilla's Mama Grizzly, these Americans seem to see themselves.
If nothing else, Sarah Palin represents the classic Caucasian American everyman (woman), a symbol of what we thought we were, everything we want to be -- rogues, proud and free (with bendable drinking straws no less), her Americanism our Americanism and that's the idea. Palin becomes of us not so much as a product of the times but as a by-product of the resulting melieu, not a phenomenon but an inevitability given our drift since the riotous Sixties.
She's all of us -- the politely overweight and agonizingly single forty-something with George Strait pictures plastered all over her work cubicle's dull white walls, the "Christ-centered" plumber white-lying you into replacing when just re-adjusting would do, the vaguely irritated supervisor who insists she'll get your money back, the decidedly irritable manager who insists you take a credit instead, the cynical backroom stocker who doesn't really give a good goddamn what any of you do. Like it or not, it's us. And it gets worse.
While Palin might seem stupid, she's hardly dumb. Neither are her handlers. We're not just rising up from the firmament by ourselves here after all. No, there's backing -- probably lots of it. For people like the wildly malevolent Koch brothers she's pure gold; no pesky Karl Roves playing you for fools or pollsters juggling figures and graphs. No, this time it's your game, if only for your out-sized riches your shot to call. You need only the right vehicle to... "wait, excuse me, not to pry, but who's that woman over there?" Right place, right time? Lately it's beginning to look downright ordained.
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