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Sarah Palin had her season of fun

February 11, 2013

I’m not ready to let go, I’m just not.

It’s hard for me to read the headlines: “End of the line for Sarah Palin;” “Sarah Palin’s fall from media stardom;” “Saying farewell to Sarah Palin.”

Saying farewell? Say it ain’t so.

I’m not being facetious in the least; I could listen in fascination to S.P. all day long. No one could make incoherence sound so plausible. I dug the whole Mamma Grizzly act, where you shoot elk during a snowstorm by day, and read the school board the riot act by night. Really, who would you rather enjoy a beverage with, Sarah Palin or Harry Reid?

Competence is only half of the equation; we want our elected officials to be interesting, and boy is she interesting. Or, I guess, was interesting. Now, people are saying she’s just shrill, with nothing of substance behind the anger.

But wasn’t that the appeal? I sure thought so.

I didn’t mind in the least that she made a name for herself destroying my chosen profession, hurling about witty epithets such as “Lamestream Media.” Shoot, I did that all the time. In my world, Shelly Thompson was Smelly Thompson, Patty Dierot was Patty Dry Rot and Neival Campbell was Evil Neival.

Of course I was 10 years old at the time, and Mr. Campbell was a math teacher, not a political opponent. But you can’t ignore the parallels, any more than you can ignore the Russkies hanging out within a bowshot of your back window.

The blogs say that Sarah lost relevance when she stepped away from a potential presidential run last year. But in so doing, did she not show more sense than Herman Cain, Michele Bachman, Rick Perry and a virtual Who’s Who of yo-yos who made fools of themselves on the nation’s biggest stage?

And even on her worst days, wasn’t she more entertaining than any of them? Sarah was a box of chocolates; you never knew what you were going to get.

Katie Couric: What newspapers and magazines did you read to stay informed…?

Sarah Palin: “All of them.”

That was a good one. So was forgetting which was the bad Korea, North or South. Or “death panels.” Or comparing herself to Shakespeare. Or supporting the Bridge to Nowhere while attacking government spending. Or failing to name another Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade with which she disagreed. Or thinking that Paul Revere was warning the British not to take our guns.

But it’s too easy to pick on her by singling out specific missteps, while overlooking her entire body of work. Because before Palin, I think people were really afraid to come out and show their ignorance of the issues in a public light.

Palin fostered a whole landslide of uninformed, national politicians who contributed to the whole post-truth dynamic, just as Cal Ripken ushered in an era of tall, athletic shortstops. Before Palin there could have been no Donald Trump babbling over birth certificates. Before Palin no one would have countenanced Cain stumbling painfully over Libya, or Perry forgetting which federal departments he would eliminate, or Michele Bachman suggesting the hurricanes and earthquakes were God’s punishment for Democratic spending policies.

Without Sarah Palin, put away that broomstick, because “I am not a witch” would never have entered our political discourse. We might never have been treated to an avalanche of statistics pulled out of thin air, or the theory that Obama planned to blockade American cities, thus turning them into concentration camps.

Look, I know the tea party is withering away, and Sarah Palin along with it. To all things a season. But while she might not have made the world a better place, she sure made it more fun. And that has to be worth something.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com.

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