By Jack Engelhard
Sarah Palin resigned as governor of Alaska pretty much taking the cue from Richard Nixon that we won’t have her to kick around anymore. So she’s out, though we don’t know where she’s going. My guess? This moment starts her run for the presidency – and this is the one and only candidate that has a real chance of upsetting the incumbent. If so many people hate her, it must be because they fear her.
What has she done wrong – really, what has this woman done wrong except run for the number two spot as a Republican, if you’ll pardon the expression. Other than that, how many commandments did she trespass? Did she rob, steal, kill? You’d think she’d done all that from all the nasty coverage that has dogged her from the moment her name was announced.
Her farewell speech was a mixed bag of political oratory together with restrained anger at all those who’ve mocked her and she sure did attract the worst of what this country has to offer. Think Letterman. Think Vanity Fair. Think of McCain insiders who blamed her for his defeat, never mind that Republicans picked a heroic soldier but the lamest of all candidates. McCain never had a shot, with or without Palin. He had no ideas. He was dull. He ran against his own Party. No shot at all.
Palin livened it up. She connected with ordinary Americans and for that reason alone she was disdained. Politicians, comedians, commentators, all ganged up on her and wouldn’t let up even when she left the spotlight. During the Letterman fiasco, readers at the New York Times blamed HER for imposing herself on the public when she did no such thing. It was Letterman who brought her out of hiding.
These past six months must have been a nightmare for her and they’ve been and continue to be a nightmare for anyone who trusted America as the land that gives everyone a fair shot – who trusted America as a land of good folks and gentle people. That may still be the case generally but from the lofty penthouses of this land we saw the Ugly American up close and personal, and yes, it was Letterman who condensed it all, summed it all up, with that one crack.
The backbiting against this woman was relentless and brutal and did not and does not reveal us at our best. No, we should be better than this. Rapists and murderers get off with lighter sentences. Their punishments end at one point or another, but Palin kept on being punished out of sheer meanness and hatefulness – such as I did not even know existed in this truly good land and within the reservoir of our culture.
There is still no end in sight. Recently the National Society of Newspaper Columnists gave her a razzy award as the most ridiculed American newsmaker – which only added to the ridicule and which only proved her point, that they were after her hide. Is there really such an organization of columnists and who are they anyway and what do they want and why are they organized? Isn’t one at a time enough?
Is it because she’s a woman? That’s for the sociologists but my guess is that yes, but only partly. Is it because she’s a Republican awash in a world of Democrats? That’s for someone from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists to explain, but here’s my try. I think it’s because she dared to challenge Barack Obama and this is the age of Barack Obama. He’s been sainted and no one shall trifle with a saint.
I wish I could say that the ugly pursuit and backstabbing of Sarah Palin came from the cruel streak of left-wingers except that right-wingers also have their cruelties. But this was special. This was ugly. This was brutal. This was cruel – and do not think it’s over. For sure, Letterman’s writers have already gathered for the next round of jokes and jabs and we’ll be hearing more from Bill Maher and all the rest of them who live to scoff and to trash.
This is no longer about Sarah Palin and it is no longer about politics. It is about us, how we respond to those who differ from us.
If we can’t be civil, if we can’t be respectful, if trashing is all we’ve got, if we can only resort to hatefulness, then something is wrong deep within ourselves.
Sarah Palin is the symptom. We are the disease.
Jack Engelhard’s latest thriller, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” which centers on media deceit against America and Israel, is available in paperback at Amazon. Engelhard wrote the international bestselling novel “Indecent Proposal” that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Engelhard can be reached, and his Works can be viewed, at www.jackengelhard.com