Friday, September 26, 2008

Sarah Palin: Out Of Their League

Our major league players continue to condescend on the candidate that best typifies and represents us, that means, you and me.

Ms. Kathleen Parker dutifully admonishes Sarah to drop out of the race because pitifully she is out of her league and doing so will do her some personal good. She is so scared and uneasy, her shoulders are hunched when she sits down for a chat, chimed in Ms. Judith Warner. Even a young guy, Mr.Ezra Klein, joins the fray, and like many educated vocal guys, parses and trashes poor Sarah’s statements during her interview with Katie Couric. All these major league players, and more, cry out in unison - The GOP VP pick is a rube, quite uneasy with her betters in Washington and the august media.

And that’s because these people still do not get it.

Sarah represents us, you and me, and we can identify with her. So if she is not in their league, then she is in our league, and we, the electorate, are also involved in making the choices not just them. And guess what, we have the numbers.

We get ill at ease talking before large crowds and in front of millions of people on TV, and because of this and other unnerving pressures we sometimes have difficulties getting our ideas across. But we know that a little practice and more exposure will make us better. Our ideas are just as good as the rest of humanity, maybe even better in some respects. Look at the current crises. These were caused and made worse by members of their league, graduates of elite schools, smooth talkers but many action-challenged, loquacious and skillful, heaping-full of oratorical skills and argumentation nuances. But where did these gifted elite get us? Both in government and in our economic institutions?

We have problems with our speechifying and our diction, our syntax in our conversational dialogues may be a little awry, and probably because we did not get enough academic education in language or languages. But this does not mean our ideas are not there. And maybe if given the proper guidance and opportunity we can devise ways or improve our delivery in articulating them better. Maybe just as good as the betters of the other league.

That is why many of us identify also with the current president who the media has judged from the get-go as a bumbling oaf, unable to put many good sentences together, and quite uncomfortable emoting before crowds without prepared notes. But this precisely is why we gave our nod because we understand that he is just like any of us. And maybe this is better for us to have somebody who is not too comfortable talking before crowds, because maybe it will be easy for us to find out if he is speaking the truth or what he truly believes in. Maybe for us Obama is too smooth and too skillful that it becomes quite easy for him to spout lies or half-truths, or hide his personal beliefs, or whatever, without showing any discernible changes in his physical demeanor.

Sarah detractors will not miss any spotted opportunity to put her in a bad light. Miss Warner points to a “sag in her back” as a clear sign that Sarah must be scared out her wits sitting down with Henry Kissinger. I have little doubt that Sarah must have been ill at ease meeting and sitting for the first time with a personage like Kissinger. Who wouldn’t be? But to suggest that a hunched shoulder. . . Maybe Ms. Warner should have looked at earlier videos and pictures of Palin before arriving at that silly psychoanalysis or profiling. Because I myself, an early silly admirer of Sarah have noticed that hunched shoulder in earlier videos and pictures. Posture, Ms. Warner. Maybe Sarah was absent when proper posture was taught in class. Or maybe that is how she is genetically structured. And she did well in athletics using what nature gave her.































But looking at the pictures I have shown of the ladies involved, might not we also impishly delve into some pop analysis and surmise that there might be a tinge of envy involved here?

REPLY TO REACTION AND COMMENTS

First, an explanation for the late reply. I had been quite preoccupied before I could attend to the comments to this entry, and the ensuing blog entry of Mr. Ezra Klein (Populism of Mediocrity) with its many comments. Couple that with the fact that I am not used to being confronted at any one time with so many issues raised from a few glaringly generalized statements made by me. So being that English is a second language for me, I took my sweet time to read and try to understand the statements made, hoping to arrive at the same perspectives that the authors had in making those statements. And I also had to spend a little time in crafting one reply that would sufficiently elaborate my statements and address those issues. Finally because one comment made reference to it, while I did go to a Jesuit school, it was one that is situated more than 7000 miles away in the old homeland. Fortunately, we did have American Jesuits teach us English and the Arts. So I can easily see why I cannot even begin to compare with the academic background of Ms. Parker if she did indeed come from a Jesuit background here in San Francisco.

Sorry for the delay.


Allow me to apologize to Ms. Palin for creating the misperception that because we unceremoniously lumped her as one of “us” that she is indeed like one of us in all respects. So perish that thought. In the first place, Ms. Palin’s record can speak for that. In her over a decade of public service, she has been, aside from the silly and inane labels of hockey mom and PTA member, a city councilor and a mayor for two terms (I think) in that same small town of Wasilla, an appointed official in her state-wide oil energy commission, and then finally a governor of her state of Alaska (though huge in geography but sparsely populated by under a million people). I understand Montana also has under a million residents. And oh, this she did doing public service, not really high on the list of preferred careers of many high-born families. And this she was able to do literally swimming against the current, such as going against entrenched partisans in her own party. And still almost miraculously, has been able to garner an approval rating of 80%, not only from a populace from whose number she has “ruffled many feathers” in pursuit of her high ideals, but this from a hardy people raised in a very rugged and inhospitable terrain. So humbly looking at the mirror, I have to have the grace to acknowledge and accept that Ms. Palin has shown the passion and the necessary skills to accomplish what she has done in public service. Though now we are seeing based on the several public appearances that she has made, that public speaking is not one of her forte. But rather than at this point completely counting her out, let the process of discovery continue so we can fairly try to discern what is in her core that will enable her to justify her public accomplishments, considered exemplary by many amidst not only those challenging factors mentioned but additionally, given her difficult personal family situation.

So public speaking and/or oratory are not among her strong suits, and the same has been said of the current president. And this is precisely where “we”, your ordinary folks, can identify not only with her but with Pres. Bush. Not in their origins, their educational background, their station in life, or such items as gender or physical attributes. And not in origins definitely for Pres. Bush who comes from a privileged background and went to those elite schools mentioned. And we can even throw in the assumption that he must at least be one of above average intelligence and predisposition having been able not only to enter those prestigious and challenging schools but also to finish the courses he had enrolled in. And thus the previous claim of affinity is more in the difficulties encountered due to maybe a limited vocabulary, lack of articulateness, or maybe because the manner of conversational speech is a bit pedestrian, and not as nuanced as say the many revered news/opinion purveyors in media, academia, and yes, even in the blogosphere.

For me elitism is rather a state of mind or an attitude. It is not a right/left issue either. So Mr. Obama could also be an elitist, regardless of his also humble origins. Many say that his statements about “certain angry Americans clinging to their guns and religion” could be a window revealing how he views the rest of America, especially those in the small cities and rural areas.

Furthermore, let me address the issue that purports to infer that “we” peddle in mediocrity and worship in its altar. Granted that there may be many of “us’ who are mediocre, and exhibit traits of being mediocre, but that is not necessarily something that is consciously felt, desired, and aspired for. Given our great numbers, there will be a sizeable and visible percentage of us who will be mediocre. After all that is why we have a population “bell curve” rather than a flat one. We do in great numbers aspire for excellence in the fields we find ourselves and in the fields who find open to opportunities for our higher aspirations. This is especially true to many of us in the immigrant communities, who came to this great country with determined minds and hearts to do better. So we do aspire to send our kids to elite schools, but with the strong parental admonition that they not forget their humble origins and not look down upon their own once they have acquired the extra knowledge and skills from their cherished schooling. So again, please perish the thought that we adore or subscribe to mediocrity as a choice.

One last caution with regard to how we evaluate and value the subjects of our criticism. Remember thousands upon thousands of words thrown into the wind would still be as light a weight as the air; but an ounce of sweat equity should definitely weigh more and thus valued more. Action is what determines the real value of a person.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:34 PM

    Ahhhahahaha! You made a funny.

    Wait, you're serious? You want stupid people who can't explain their positions with any coherence to continue running our country and the world into the ground? Ok, now I understand.

    Let me ask you this... if your child's English teach doesn't speak english, would you have a problem with the school? Unbelievable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your argument is spot on. Your conclusion is ridiculous.

    Personally, I don't want a small-minded, ignorant person with virtually no knowledge of anything outside her little town/state/fundamentalist church.

    But hey, she's cute and she's got a cutting voice that says "don't mess with me, I know how to use a gun".

    The US has become the laughing stock of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous3:09 PM

    i can understand partially where you're coming from considering my family is kinda like palin's. just a typical family. nothing modest, nothing great.

    but still, my parents wanted me to work real hard at school, college and get a good job, settle in. i'm sure every parent wants their kid to go to a good college. dont tell me you dont?

    i want to help people when i can and i know what my limitations are.

    when i read obama's bio, i thought, wow, this guy had so much against him growing up. much more than me. and that is something i really respect.

    i cannot relate with him at that level because my family isn't poor, but i can understand his early sufferings. i had to deal with the poor and homeless a little bit in school and i felt really bad for them that i wish i could do more.

    what i can relate with obama is that we both went to good college (except he went to ivy league and was the best in class). i graduated with honors from USC. my campus is surrounded by working class neighborhood. i feel bad because our school is extremely wealthy but our surrounding is the complete opposite.

    but USC has a program that helps educate kids in the neighborhood because we felt that it's our duty to help. the program is not done condescendingly but we really felt necessary to help.

    what i can relate with obama is that he knows more than i do about the pains of growing up and we both want to do our best to help people who are not as fortunate.

    i know that elite colleges may sound snooty but many children of the republican and democratic party leaders send their kids there. obama and bush were in the ivy league but they're completely different people.

    dont you want your kids to grow up more well-off than you? how do we expect to move ahead on the economic scale if our kids and grandkids are on the same level as us?

    bush was someone who many people related to, wanted to have beer with, but he just proven unfit to lead.

    i dont blame you for the frustation by what seems like discrimination by the so-called intellectuals.

    but arent doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, technicians considered intellectuals?

    would you feel offended if a doctor tells you that your healing method was wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Winston3:48 PM

    This is one of the most extraordinary posts I've ever read. I remember eight years ago listening to people praising George Bush on precisely these grounds - "he seems like a good Joe, one of us, a regular guy, not one of those Northeastern elites." Now here we are, eight years later, with over 80% of our people saying the country is in decline, with the largest deficits in our history, with our enemies arming themselves with nuclear weapons, with our fighting two costly and seemingly endless wars that have done nothing to improve our security, with our financial system in shambles, with our international reputation the worst in our history,and Amadeo says we should want more of the same. This is a democracy, and we get the leaders we deserve. You want stupidity in government? Look around you and see the result.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Somewhere along the line, the idea of what an elite was got mangled up. I'm an Independent. Like Obama, I was raised by a single mother. We were on welfare some of the time because my father wasn't around and didn't support us. When my mother died, I became part of the foster care system. But I always believed I could do anything as long as I was willing to work hard. I was effectively parent-less when I graduated from high school, so in order to find a way to go to college, I joined the Air Force. It was 1980 and right after I joined, President Reagan was sworn in. The G.I. Bill as it existed in the Viet Nam era and before didn't exist, but I managed to get a two year technical degree eventually. Through my military experience, I've been able to work through a series of jobs and for the last couple of years, I've actually managed to reach the income level that would be taxed at a higher rate under an Obama Presidency. But I'm happy to pay more. Despite working hard for what I've earned, I recognize that it's only been possible for me to do it here. I admire Senator Obama for achieving all of the status he has through nothing but the support and love of his working class family and his own hard work. How does he not represent "us". Despite the appearance of being "one of us", President Bush was brought up in an environment of privilege that far exceeds anything that those who are now accused of being elite intellectuals were. He was never one of the people. He just sounded that way. Isn't the idea of the American dream to reach the highest level of achievement that we can? Doesn't that include educational and intellectual achievement? Don't we want the person we choose to lead our country and to represent us to the rest of the world to be the best and the brightest that we have? I'm not denigrating the average person, but I also don't think the average person represents the best face we have to show the world and the best choice to really analyze the issues and provide solutions that work for all of us, not just a privileged few. I understand your intent Amadeo, I think. Senator Obama's website outlines his positions in very plain language that I think we can all understand. The one skill that he doesn't seem to possess that Sarah Palin does is a certain personal charisma that makes people feel like they "get" him and he "gets" us. I suppose it makes some uneasy. I've been studying the candidates and I've been studying speeches on YouTube and with all my heart, I believe that Senator Obama is a sincere individual who really does want to make this a better country and who really can make "us" feel like "us" again, not "us" and "them". I don't think anybody in this race is stupid. But I think Obama is the embodiment of the American dream who came from humble beginnings and is an educated and thoughtful man and has a better plan for what will benefit our citizens, our standing in the global community and our environment. I've given a lot of thought to what you've expressed. I hope you'll think about where I'm coming from.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Can't agree more. When I'm flying to visit my relatives, I want someone who is jus'-plain-folks to be flying the plane. When I'm being operated on, I want a good-hearted junior-college graduate who has a keen grasp of common-sense.

    Listen. There are some jobs in this world that are *difficult*. They require expertise. Book-learning. Above-average intelligence and dilligence.

    Just putting some average dill-whistle in the position--even one who is operating in good faith--and relying on them to use their "common sense" is a recipe for failure.

    It's the War on Expertise, it's been going on for some time, and the saddest part is that it's not even seen as a pathology anymore, but as a virtue.

    ReplyDelete
  7. REPLY TO REACTION AND COMMENTS

    First, an explanation for the late reply. I had been quite preoccupied before I could attend to the comments to this entry, and the ensuing blog entry of Mr. Ezra Klein (Populism of Mediocrity) with its many comments. Couple that with the fact that I am not used to being confronted at any one time with so many issues raised from a few glaringly generalized statements made by me. So being that English is a second language for me, I took my sweet time to read and try to understand the statements made, hoping to arrive at the same perspectives that the authors had in making those statements. And I also had to spend a little time in crafting one reply that would sufficiently elaborate my statements and address those issues. Finally because one comment made reference to it, while I did go to a Jesuit school, it was one that is situated more than 7000 miles away in the old homeland. Fortunately, we did have American Jesuits teach us English and the Arts. So I can easily see why I cannot even begin to compare with the academic background of Ms. Parker if she did indeed come from a Jesuit background here in San Francisco.

    Sorry for the delay.

    Allow me to apologize to Ms. Palin for creating the misperception that because we unceremoniously lumped her as one of “us” that she is indeed like one of us in all respects. So perish that thought. In the first place, Ms. Palin’s record can speak for that. In her over a decade of public service, she has been, aside from the silly and inane labels of hockey mom and PTA member, a city councilor and a mayor for two terms (I think) in that same small town of Wasilla, an appointed official in her state-wide oil energy commission, and then finally a governor of her state of Alaska (though huge in geography but sparsely populated by under a million people). I understand Montana also has under a million residents. And oh, this she did doing public service, not really high on the list of preferred careers of many high-born families. And this she was able to do literally swimming against the current, such as going against entrenched partisans in her own party. And still almost miraculously, has been able to garner an approval rating of 80%, not only from a populace from whose number she has “ruffled many feathers” in pursuit of her high ideals, but this from a hardy people raised in a very rugged and inhospitable terrain. So humbly looking at the mirror, I have to have the grace to acknowledge and accept that Ms. Palin has shown the passion and the necessary skills to accomplish what she has done in public service. Though now we are seeing based on the several public appearances that she has made, that public speaking is not one of her forte. But rather than at this point completely counting her out, let the process of discovery continue so we can fairly try to discern what is in her core that will enable her to justify her public accomplishments, considered exemplary by many amidst not only those challenging factors mentioned but additionally, given her difficult personal family situation.

    So public speaking and/or oratory are not among her strong suit, and the same has been said of the current president. And this is precisely where “we”, your ordinary folks, can identify not only with her but with Pres. Bush. Not in their origins, their educational background, their station in life, or such items as gender or physical attributes. And not in origins definitely for Pres. Bush who comes from a privileged background and went to those elite schools mentioned. And we can even throw in the assumption that he must at least be one of above average intelligence and predisposition having been able not only to enter those prestigious and challenging schools but also to finish the courses he had enrolled in. And thus the previous claim of affinity is more in the difficulties encountered due to maybe a limited vocabulary, lack of articulateness, or maybe because the manner of conversational speech is a bit pedestrian, and not as nuanced as say the many revered news/opinion purveyors in media, academia, and yes, even in the blogosphere.

    For me elitism is rather a state of mind or an attitude. It is not a right/left issue either. So Mr. Obama could also be an elitist, regardless of his also humble origins. Many say that his statements about “certain angry Americans clinging to their guns and religion” could be a window revealing how he views the rest of America, especially those in the small cities and rural areas.

    Furthermore, let me address the issue that purports to claim that “we” peddle in mediocrity and worship in its altar. Granted that there may be many of “us’ who are mediocre, and exhibit traits of being mediocre, but that is not necessarily something that is consciously felt, desired, and aspired for. Given our great numbers, there will be a sizeable and visible percentage of us who will be mediocre. After all that is why we have a population “bell curve” rather than a flat one. We do in great numbers aspire for excellence in the fields we find ourselves and in the fields who find open to opportunities for our higher aspirations. This is especially true to many of us in the immigrant communities, who came to this great country with determined minds and hearts to do better. So we do aspire to send our kids to elite schools, but with the strong parental admonition that they not forget their humble origins and not look down upon their own once they have acquired the extra knowledge and skills from their cherished schooling. So again, please perish the thought that we adore or subscribe to mediocrity as a choice.

    One last caution with regard to how we evaluate and value the subjects of our criticism. Remember thousands upon thousands of words thrown into the wind would still be as light a weight as the air; but an ounce of sweat equity should definitely weigh more and thus valued more. Action is what determines the real value of a person.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Amadeo,

    You said: Remember thousands upon thousands of words thrown into the wind would still be as light a weight as the air; but an ounce of sweat equity should definitely weigh more and thus valued more. Action is what determines the real value of a person.

    I think that Obama's years working as a community organizer--despite the drippingly sarcastic manner in which Ms. Palin used these words--are a perfect example of "sweat equity" and indeed much more telling than the actions (many of them questionable--charging rape victims for rape kits; enquiring on how, theoretically, one could get books banned; leaving the burg of Wasilla with a whopping $25 million deficit after her two terms of office; et j'en passe, und so weiter, etc., etc.) of Ms. Palin.

    I congratulate you on your mastery of the English language (what, pray tell, is your mother tongue?) but I still cannot agree with the conclusions you reach. Neither, for that matter, can my husband, who also studied in a Jesuit school!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi, WRG:

    Thanks for expressing your additional insights, and I shall leave it at that without additional comment. But thanks for the compliment.

    Having been born and raised in the Philippines, we do have our primary dialects, one that we were born into and the second one being the national language. We were lucky to have been taught English in school, and luckier still that we also had 4 years each of Latin and Spanish.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous3:03 PM

    I can't for the life of me understand why we Americans want someone like us to be the PRESIDENT OF THE USA!! I mean I love my friends to death, they are all college educated, intelligent people, but I wouldn't vote for one of them to be president.

    I have no doubt that Sara Palin is an intelligent Woman, but it is obvious from her interviews that she doesn't understand the very complex issues that are facing us. I honestly believe I could make a more coherant argument for myself to become president than she does. And this is the woman you want as president? I am not even worried about her level of experience, I am worried about her ability to comprehend complex situations.

    I for one want someone in the White House who is smarter than I. I don't care if they are from small town America or the big city, poor or rich. I can't even believe that she might one day be President.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I agree with you and think you have spoken well on this topic.
    Mary

    ReplyDelete

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