Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Palin Power

I only caught the end of Palin's interview on Oprah. Luckily, it was the part in which Oprah asked Palin about her resignation.

Palin's response was just more of the same from her resignation speech: she was resigning because she felt she could do more for "America" outside of her governorship.

This is an illusion. What Palin has done is taken on the job of a pundit, a speech-maker. It might be inspiring to view oneself as a communicator or persuader, giving voice to the people's thoughts, but it is really a rather meaningless role as far as personally bringing about change.

I don't know if it's a particularly American bent, but the idea that talking about change is somehow more powerful than actually being involved in the mechanics of change has run rampant through our society. We have more pundits and opinionators than we can shake a stick at. We don't need any more of them.

Feelings don't change society. Feelings don't run a government.

The average person participates in the government by voting for politicians and policies. The average person's involvement in change begins and ends in water cooler talks and maybe the occasional protest if they are truly active in persuading people. All of it means nothing without actual candidates and elected officials to do the work.

Bills have to be written. Laws have to be passed. Decisions have to be made. Budgets have to be created. The will and feelings of the electorate have to be transformed into something tangible by our mayors, senators, and governors.

That is the role that Sarah Palin gave up. She traded in her real, ordinary power for a superficial counterfeit of power that does nothing more than rile people up for a few moments.

It's ironic that the same demographic who thinks Obama was awarded the peace prize based on a perception of being peaceable, rather than actually doing anything to achieve peace, is the same demographic who can't see that Palin's claim to power and eligibility to run for president in 2012 is just as flimsy.

She hasn't done anything to prove herself to be a qualified candidate for president.

She's not qualified, not because she isn't smart enough, or old enough, or ugly enough. She's not qualified because she gave up. She's not qualified because she has shown that she thinks speeches make good government and effect change. She's not qualified because she wasn't willing to work within the system we have.

She has placed herself outside and above the government.

Why should we let her back in?

Why would we let her back in?


MInTheGap said...

I'm not sure I follow your argument here. Do you believe that a legislator is qualified to be an executive? Would an executive in a private company that was successful be a good choice for President or not?

I'm not sure why leaving a governorship as a lame duck having mounting legal fees filed against the state (thereby relieving the state of the drama and keeping things relatively status quo because of her lame duck status and setting up a successor) is that big of a negative.

I'm sure that we can all find things that we do or do not like about every person or candidate-- no matter how petty they are.

If any person has the policy views I have, and they have experience leading people, why would I not vote for them? What in this post should convince me not to vote for her-- not saying I would, but do you really think that "leaving her Alaska Governorship" is enough to disqualify her for the Presidency?

Anonymous said...

Probably should wait until I cool off a bit before responding, but that's never stopped me before. :-)

I SO agree with MinTheGap.

Saw a poll today about how 65% of those polled (ever wonder who "they" are?) didn't think Palin had the experience to be president. Hmmm, and just what kind of experience did President Obama have prior to his election?

The double standard is amazing. I can't help but think it might be related to her sex. Just a thought.

I don't know if she would make a good president. But disqualifying someone because you feel you personally know her motives for leaving her former job better than she does, is a tad off.

Sorry, I don't have a blog so I can't leave info for you. Don't want this to feel like a drive by kind of thing. Do enjoy reading your thoughts.

terri said...

Min and Anonymous....

It's not about "experience" in my mind. I don't think I ever said that it was.

It's about quitting an elected office that the people of Alaska gave to her. People contributed to her campaign, and supported her with her votes. I'm assuming she took some sort of oath of office.

She didn't fulfill it.

Bush was considered a lame duck president for the last year or so before he finished his term. Should he have resigned?

I seriously don't get the support for her.

Maybe you can explain to me how quitting a position that only 49 other people ever hold, that is in charge of leading an entire state isn't relevant to whether or not a person should be considered for the highest office this country has.

I don't understand how everyone seems to think that's a minor detail.

Quitting because you're seriously ill....or for personal tragedy....or for the sake of your family....or because of terrible scandal...all of those reasons I understand.

Quitting to become a public speaker and write books about "Going Rogue" is a lousy reason.

If Palin wants the pundit role...fine...let her have it. She'll just join the already crowded market of commentators.

But she shouldn't ask the public to think that talking=action....or that speaking to large groups of people=changing society.

At the end of the day, in real life, showing up and doing the job is more important and is the nitty-gritty of getting things done.

Anonymous...you're fine. I don't think your response is at all out of line.

Sexist? Definitely some aspects of people's treatment of Palin is incredibly sexist.

I don't see this reason as being sexist at all.

Bryan L said...

I really wish she would go away and people would stop talking about her. She really is just a political celebrity now who doesn't know how to leave and is famous for being famous. I'm even more surpised that people support and defend her and appalled that anyone would think she should be president. I don't get it.

Good point about where real political change happens. It's not glamorous that's for sure.

Bryan L

MInTheGap said...

I think I have to take her at her word when it comes to why she resigned, otherwise I'm in the position of judging her. She states that she left because of the accumulating legal bills and her "celebrity" status, if you will, were hampering her ability to govern-- which was low given her lame duck status.

You compare it to other lame ducks, and I'd like to know what big bills were accomplished by people in the last half of their last year in office.

I actually have much less respect for those that spend their entire time in elected office campaigning for a different one-- every election year, Senators, Representatives, etc. neglect their duty for the entire year to go out on the stump campaigning for another job.

To be consistent, you'd have to say that these people are as prone to be absent as well.

I totally am with you about choosing celebrity over doing something important. I would prefer that she had stayed in office.

Wasn't one of the things that she was knocked about on during the campaign was that she went speaking elsewhere on the state's dime?

To me, it was, in a weird way, honorable to spare the state the drama as well as her family the fact that they were swimming in debt for her to step down and get out of that office.

I don't believe that this disqualifies her as President any more than a person leaving one job for a more lucrative job means that they shouldn't eventually become a manager.

THE Michael said...

Now, really, anybody who actually thinks that Sarah Palin has the intellectual capacity to be a president is the same kind of person who thinks that George "Dubya" Bush was really qualified to stand for ANY kind of office, much less president, which is the worst sort of intellectual depravity I have ever witnessed. This is the same woman who attends a church which advocates "spiritual warfare" agains "witches", whose founder back in Africa is actively participating in the torture and displacement of hundreds of CHILDREN by their own families because these evangelical terrorists tell them their own offspring are possessed by evil and can be exorcised for a reasonable fee..........Sarah Palin and her ilk are nothing more than the new American Taliban, only are more dangerous for all their "family values". Are there ANY really educated people LEFT in this country? It's no damn wonder we are the laughing stock of the western free world.

terri said...

THE michael,

Generalize much?

Seriously, going from Palin attending a certain kind of church to the torture of children in Africa....is beyond the pale.

Please document your connections with credible links.

Excuse me if I don't take you seriously until you do.

"American Taliban" is an overly used description with no basis in reality. Last time I checked there weren't any incidents of people pouring acid on women attending school, or severing the hands of thieves.

As far as being intellectually hefty enough to be president. I don't think anyone, from any party, managed to become a governor by being a complete idiot.

Palin is not really for me.

Rabid emotional attacks on her as just as ridiculous as they are when directed at Obama by some conservatives.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have regarded my own blog as rather an open-invitation dinner party, and well understand the desire to remonstrate with someone who arrives and shits on the appetizers. You may recall my own extended conversations with copithorne as I attempted to take his arguments one by one and give him the dignity of a response that was not simply dismissive.

But since it's not my party, I can see with more objectivity that you needn't bother refuting commenters such as (irony alert) THE Michael. There isn't an original thought or one on topic in his entire comment. He is making the social, rather than intellectual, argument that Palin supporters are not the cool kids at his school. In vaudeville it's called a "rave-off," when the mere mention of a phrase sends a person into a tangential tirade. The 3 Stooges used it with "Niagara Falls."

As to Palin, I see your point but don't know if I fully agree. Governing is indeed harder than it looks, and being a person who opines can be a lot easier than being a person who makes decisions and enters negotiations. She may, however, have accurately assessed that she is now more influential in this role. As we human information-sharers have not only survived but thrived by becoming an increasingly idea-trading species, it may be that hers is the way of the future. I don't know as I approve of that future, but reality has its own argument.