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is this a private fight or can anyone get in on it?

October 20, 2008

Thinking about Sarah Palin. 

When I watched the VP debate a few weeks back I remember being surprised by a feeling of physical anxiety.  It wasn’t that I was nervous that Sarah was going to slam-dunk Joe Biden, but rather that I knew that she wouldn’t.  I felt nervous FOR her.  I was imagining myself in her shoes, and what I would be thinking as I stood behind that podium in my nice little suit, probably something along the lines of, “Somebody, put me out of my misery.” 

This was empathy, pure and simple.  For her, for her situation, for all the ways that people tell you that women are supposed to be able to do it all.  And Isn’t she the ultimate example: kids, looks, and Vice President?  All our lives we are taught to not let fear stop us from anything.  We are told to pump up our resumes and apply for jobs for which we are not quite qualified, because we WE CAN DO IT.  I was thinking about what I would have done in her position had I been suddenly asked to take on the role of running mate to the person who might become the most powerful person in the world.  Isn’t that the kind of opportunity we all dream about?  To be picked out of the sea of others and chosen to perform an important job (the most important job?) even though in our brains we know we are far from ready. 

I imagine what my mom or my friends or anyone would say if I was offered a job for which I was wholly unqualified.  Would they tell me to politely decline?  To run screaming in the other direction?  Or would the chorus of, “You go GIRRRRRRL,” drown out all of my doubts?  Somehow I think it would be that latter.

So when I saw her on SNL on Saturday night with that wide frozen smile and her hands bravely raising the roof next to Tina Fey who has publicly derided her I admit saw a little bit of us all, impersonators every one, hanging on for dear life, and reaching shakily for the impossible.  And a little voice in my head whispered, You go girl.

And you better believe I’m voting Obama.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kent McMIllan permalink
    October 20, 2008 6:34 pm

    The older reader’s observation is that the American public tend to have various lacunae in their collective powers of judgment about people. One result is that sociopaths are able to conceal themselves in plain view of the public eye.

    It is very hard to review what is publicly known about Sarah Palin’s career in politics to date and her public speeches without concluding that she is merely a garden-variety sociopath. The plucky mother of five and kick-ass executive narrative that she’s constructed for herself is simply the camouflage for her character, a woman who is willing to use her children as objects, as campaign props, and an elected official who has used her offices mainly for her personal gain.

    It is entirely possible that Palin’s injury began with a false sense of self that came from being merely an object for her parents, rather than properly valued for who she actually was. Her whole unbalanced persona has that quality of comfortably inhabiting phoniness, from the fake accent that she has adopted at some time in the last few years to the mendacious resume.

    The older reader thinks that a certain amount of striving beyond ordinary abilities is probably not a bad thing, but only as long as the striver’s sense of self-worth isn’t attached to her or his accomplishments.

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