What We Can Learn from Sarah Palin

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Ben Cohen
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Sarah Palin by Larsenphotography.

By Ben Cohen

In America, controversy sells. And Sarah Palin is controversial to say the least. A significant portion of the Right believes Palin is the savior of the party, and a significant portion of the general population believe she is a literal danger to national security. The combination means big numbers for the Alaskan Governor, and she's riding the wave laughing all the way.

I've been particularly interested in Sarah Palin for the same reason I've taken an interest in celebrity obsession (see the article here). It says something about our society and culture in general, and frankly, there are some very worrying signs. Andrew Sullivan has been perhaps the most prolific blogger on the bizarre existence of Palin in the political world, and has caught flak for taking it to her on a daily basis. But Sullivan's interest is much like my own - he doesn't care for Palin the politician, more what she represents for the Republican party as a whole. For Sullivan, she's indicative of something incredibly dangerous about our political culture, and he believes it is worth obsessing over in minute detail. He writes:

The reason we need to get to the truth of what happened is that these
people nearly took this country off a cliff. They need to be held
accountable. They need to be removed from their positions of power. We
cannot move on until they are. And John McCain should retire from
public life. After that decision, nothing he says can be taken
seriously on the national or international stage.

The mere existence of someone so unqualified and dim witted on the national political stage should have instigated a riot. The Republican machine nearly got her into the White House, and if they had succeeded, there's no telling what could have happened. Needless to say, it wouldn't have been pretty.

The point is that there should be some accountability for putting the country at such great risk, and it starts with John McCain, and then all the others who promoted her to the top of the party. Retirement would be a good start, but until Palin has disappeared for good, nothing short of a confession and public denunciation will suffice.