Hey, did you guys hear? Sarah Palin said something dumb that was picked up by the “gotcha” media again!
I can remember hoping for more substance than sound bites and petty insults in this election, more talking about actual issues instead of transparent attempts at media manipulation. And I keep trying to rein in my under-informed liberal rage, reminding myself that these people are not idiots to be dismissed, but merely sometimes fallible adults with differing political views than mine. I genuinely, sincerely want there to be intelligent debate again, instead of increasingly polarized name-calling.
But the issues come down to one candidate whose economic, domestic, and foreign policies have been proven failures over the past eight years, and one candidate whose policies may or may not work but at least he’s genuinely committed to improving the country. And as much as it dismays me to fall in the “Economy and wars are boring! Let’s point and laugh at the funny pretty lady!” camp, I’ve got to acknowledge that it’s a pretty serious issue when your candidate for the second-highest office in the country doesn’t understand the United States Constitution.
“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”
That’s right: she said that freedom of the press violates the First Amendment.
It was alarming enough when she revealed a basic misunderstanding of the role of vice president — not at that Q&A session that was quickly dismissed as “gotcha journalism,” but during the vice-presidential debate, where she ominously hinted at giving the role even more power than Cheney has given it.
But explaining how the First Amendment works is something that you have to do for stupid excitable people on internet message boards. You shouldn’t have to explain it to a candidate for Vice President of the United States.
Should the unthinkable happen, and she gets elected, are we going to have to explain everything to our VP? That the freedom of speech does not mean freedom from people pointing out that you’re saying stupid things? That the freedom of religion also guaranteed by the First Amendment means that even if the GOP weren’t blatantly manipulating suspicions about Obama’s religious faith, that that still wouldn’t bar him from office? That when she types MAVERICK in all caps it comes across as shouting? That it’s improper to mix up your official and personal e-mails — oh, wait. I’m sure she’d have no problem recognizing the 😉 smiley, but will we have to explain that ad hominem attacks are lousy for debates, and that RTFC stands for Read the Fucking Constitution?
On one, polls that are “tightening” are emphasized over those that are not, and the rest of the news media is portrayed as papering over questions about Mr. Obama’s past associations with people who have purportedly anti-American tendencies that he has not answered. (“I feel like we are talking to the Germans after Hitler comes to power, saying, ‘Oh, well, I didn’t know,’ ” Ann Coulter, the conservative commentator, told Mr. Hannity on Thursday.)
Ah, there we go. Don’t ever change, Ms. Coulter.
On the one hand, I want to believe that this country is founded on cooperation and the fair and just resolution of conflicts, and that only by working together as mutually respectful adults can we accomplish anything. But on the other hand, I think that after all this, anyone who would vote for a McCain/Palin ticket has to be a fucking moron. I’m having trouble reconciling these disparate philosophies.
In the meantime, my advice for Governor Palin: lurk more.