Michael Faulkner's current "Letter From the UK" in TPJ magazine ("Tea Party Madness: The Deluded in Wonderland" -- 11/14/10) catches the essence:
"The Tea Party has been described as an Astroturf operation a fake grassroots movement. Fake because it appears to be something it isn't -- a spontaneous mobilization of ordinary people acting in their own self-interest against powerful elites who control their lives. Actually it is the creation of powerful corporate interests. According to the recent film 'Astroturf Wars' the Tea Party movement has been bankrolled by two millionaires" (billionaires actually) "Charles and David Koch, through an organization they have set up called Americans for Prosperity. In an interview in The New Yorker, some former AFP consultants reveal, 'The Koch brothers gave the money that founded (the Tea Party)... It's like they put seeds in the ground, then the rainstorm comes, and all the frogs come out of the mud -- and they're our candidates.'"
Of course there's a kind of genius to getting people to vote against themselves. And while it won't get you into Heaven, the short-term gain is sweet as sin. True, they say arrogance has its eventual wages... but what about the rest of us in the meantime? Do we linger like spurned lovers hoping against hope? Still, it's easy to say we're just fooling ourselves, too easy really. There must be more. Or is there?
Europeans are shaking their heads even now, marveling at how we could vote back in what we just voted out. But that doesn't matter, really. For Americans, fortuitously or no, are different. A nation of strays, curiously paranoid and immensely proud (despite our waistlines), can-doers out for the gold, perpetually befuddled as we search for a leader who'll let us lead, or at least think we're leading. People for whom a Sunday church visit somehow justifies the sins of the coming week, folks wanting it to all get better as, somehow, it all just keeps getting worse, our intrinsic optimism our very own Trojan Horse.
We were the ones with the cigarettes in the fields of France, the energy drinks in our latest international crusades; grandma baking pies back home as the better half waits, chaste and noble, for the partner to return safely, near angelically, to the marital bed. This is Palin in a nutshell. A fairy tale told for management's sake. And we all want to believe it, desperately so.
Everything white America, and in the abstract all of us, has been taught is going or already gone. The racial privilege, the bulging lunch pails, the ridiculously cumbersome TV consoles in family rooms surrounded by pictures of dad in uniform and color tints of the late Aunt Sue -- all of it, gone. History. Memory. A blip on the big screen. In twenty years you'll just be another minority in a multi-racial sea of them, ruled by only God knows what or whom -- unless, of course, Princess Sarah -- you, me, all of us can prevail.
In many ways Sarah Palin is much like fellow faux populist Rick Perry (both such obvious presidential timber one just wants to smack them and get it over with) and Rick Perry her, the Texan's almost jovial "Let's step outside" demeanor and tousled JFK hair the male counterpart to Palin's trendily disintegrating beehive and designer suits. Both glamorize the commonplace -- our commonplace -- and that nagging feeling we could have accomplished so much more. And it makes us prey to our delusions and failed, yet imminently exploitable daydreams, the elite -- the Kochs, Rupert Murdoch, the lot of them -- setting us up for a jailbreak with straw folk, then waiting at the prison gates to slaughter us just when we think we're home free.
Yeah, Sarah Palin is us.
And I don't want to ever wake up with her again.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).