Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How I Feel About Sarah Palin

Here are some excerpts from a recent article from Sam Harris, founder of The Reason Project and author of The New York Times best seller “Letter to a Christian Nation.” I wish I could express myself this well!

"The point to be lamented is not that Sarah Palin comes from outside Washington, or that she has glimpsed so little of the earth's surface (she didn't have a passport until last year), or that she's never met a foreign head of state. The point is that she comes to us, seeking the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await her. There is nothing to suggest that she even sees a role for careful analysis or a deep understanding of world events when it comes to deciding the fate of a nation. In her interview with Gibson, Palin managed to turn a joke about seeing Russia from her window into a straight-faced claim that Alaska's geographical proximity to Russia gave her some essential foreign-policy experience. Palin may be a perfectly wonderful person, a loving mother and a great American success story—but she is a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history."

"The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin's lack of intellectual qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. "They think they're better than you!" is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. "Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!" Yes, all too ordinary. [snip] Ask yourself: how has "elitism" become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—-in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn't seem too intelligent or well educated."

"I care even more about the many things Palin thinks she knows but doesn't: like her conviction that the Biblical God consciously directs world events. Needless to say, she shares this belief with millions of Americans-—but we shouldn't be eager to give these people our nuclear codes, either. There is no question that if President McCain chokes on a spare rib and Palin becomes the first woman president, she and her supporters will believe that God, in all his majesty and wisdom, has brought it to pass. Why would God give Sarah Palin a job she isn't ready for? He wouldn't. Everything happens for a reason. Palin seems perfectly willing to stake the welfare of our country—-even the welfare of our species—-as collateral in her own personal journey of faith. Of course, McCain has made the same unconscionable wager on his personal journey to the White House. [snip] Ask yourself: Is it a good idea to place the most powerful military on earth at her disposal? Do we actually want our leaders thinking about the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy when it comes time to say to the Iranians, or to the North Koreans, or to the Pakistanis, or to the Russians or to the Chinese: "All options remain on the table"? We have endured eight years of an administration that seemed touched by religious ideology. Bush's claim to Bob Woodward that he consulted a "higher Father" before going to war in Iraq got many of us sitting upright, before our attention wandered again to less ethereal signs of his incompetence. For all my concern about Bush's religious beliefs, and about his merely average grasp of terrestrial reality, I have never once thought that he was an over-the-brink, Rapture-ready extremist. Palin seems as though she might be the real McCoy."


The Imaginary Reviewer said...

That is bloody superb. I couldn't put it better myself. This is the problem with American elections: the fact that people don't seem to value intelligence. And I think this is the reason why many other countries look down their noses at the US. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this article Jillian. This writer is very articulate and hit it right on the nose.

On another note you took down the two books you had been reading and I was interested in finding them so I could read them myself. Please refresh my memory. One was about music, music history I think; and the other was about reading people's facial expressions

Cait the Bait said...

Hello Jillian! I liked the article, too! I hope your Friday is going well. P.S. You'll have to tell me sometime how you add on the 'listening to' section to the left of your blog. I'm picking up Sara from the airport in a few hours. Do you think I could rally your support to move my bed at some point? Miss you!