Drills, Shoots & Lies: The Palin Doctrine

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Drills, Shoots & Lies: The Palin Doctrine

I realize that there are conservative pundits who claim that because Sarah Palin did not faint, barf or say "I'll have to get back to ya!" that she knew what she was talking about. Fact is, she did not.The American public tuned in to get to the bottom of the phenomenon from Alaska and only one thing was abundantly clear from the get go and stayed that way right until the very end: the bottom wasn't that far down. If we'd taken a running leap into that swimming pool, we'd all be dead. Unfortunately, if we end up with Palin in the White House, we still could be, sooner rather than later, and so would much of the rest of the world. There we'd be, drilling through this great land just lookin' for some domestic oil, banishing foreign leaders willy nilly from our diplomatic conferences, sending our troops surging through Afghanistan and goodness knows where else, and talking about a two-party solution in Palestine that never once mentions the term "Palestinian," but instead talks giddily about "buildin' our embassy in Jerusalem!" And, of course, catching a daily ferry from the island of Little Diomede so we can hail the people of Big Diomede who might be persuaded to send a carrier pigeon out to Moscow to let Putin know that some folks wanted to tell him something. That'll keep Russian in line.

In the world according to Sarah Palin, there are a few, often contradictory, statements she likes to repeat as though if she said them enough times, people would ignore the evidence of their own eyes, purses and lives, frankly, and believe her. In Sarah Palin land, Americans are gathering around their loaves of bread saying "hey, you, (giggle-wink), government, stop putting those mandates on me." On the one hand, when it comes to the economy, according to Palin, "The barometer there, I think, is going to be resounding that our economy is hurting and the federal government has not provided the sound oversight that we need and that we deserve, and we need reform to that end." On the other, again, Palin, "Patriotic is saying, government, you know, you're not always the solution. In fact, too often you're the problem so, government, lessen the tax burden and on our families and get out of the way and let the private sector and our families grow and thrive and prosper." So which is it, Mrs. Palin? Less goverment or more government? Which, which?! Personally, I've never heard of a resounding barometer. Has anybody? And if you're just hearing voices when you're making these little soliloques to invisible people, just come clean, we'll understand. We've all got problems. It's also okay if you don't wiggle your nose or widen your eyes or wink at me, truly, I'll understand; I'm strong that way. Unlike the fundamentals of our economy.

I'm sending out a small get-happy announcement to all my gay friends that they'll be "tolerated" in Palin's America. Isn't that big of her? Well, how about we all do a little sum'n for her? How about we "tolerate" her pregnant teen? We absolutely tolerate Bristol Palin "choosing a relationships that she deemed best for herself," when she was having unprotected sex with yet another teen within the diverse and nurturing folds of the Palin circle of love. I sure wish I could have heard about how their Black Friend came to dinner too. I'd have felt Palin was winning my heart and mind if she'd only gone there. But she didn't go there. She went nowhere. She went to where she was proud of her party slogan on the campaign trail, "drill, baby drill." She went where she actually urged us to "leave him behind," when referring to her own candidate, John McCain. She went where she said we should hang on to our "energy projects."

When accused by Joe Biden of, along with John McCain, not even knowing that a subprime mortgage crisis was brewing, and asked by Gwen Ifill whether she agreed with Biden's lengthy criticism, Sarah Palin responded thus: "That is not so, but because that's just a quick answer, I want to talk about, again, my record on energy versus your ticket's energy ticket, also. I think that this is important to come back to, with that energy policy plan again that was voted for in '05." Yes, Mrs. Palin, we know that is just a quick answer, but you can't run off and talk gibberish about something else because you don't know enough about the biggest financial crisis this nation has suffered in a century. It might seem unfair, but there's a reason we need your answer: you're asking us to hand over the reigns of power to you.

Mrs. Palin's response when asked to be VP, was, verbatim: "when faced with a challenge, you cannot blink." If you're putting eyedrops or contact lenses in your eye, you don't blink. If someone is asking you to be Vice President of your country, that's when you get the eyelashes going. Bat, baby, bat. And while you're batting your peepers, you ask yourself a few sundry questions. Here's a couple to to get you on the right path:

  1. I will be required to give advice on every major piece of legislation to come before the president and to know something of the history that brings it across that president's desk. Am I qualified to do this? Just for a starter, do I read any newspapers? Can I place my own country on a map? Do I have a passport?

  2. I will be required to meet and speak with the representatives of foreign governments. Am I qualified to speak with some knowledge about any other country including mine, or is it just Wasilla, Alaska that I can speak about? At last count, the UN had one hundred and ninety two (192) member states. That means 191 of them are foreigners. Okay, let's say 189 since your state borders Canada and you've already seen Russia.

You get the picture. I hope, though it's a little late in the day since even at this first and last debate your upper cut amounted to nothing more than saying "let's see, I've been on this campaign what, five weeks? so I haven't promised much," as if this lets you off the hook from answering the asked question about which campaign promises would have to be cut back thanks to the mess on Wall Street. It's called a campaign promise because you belong to a campaign. John McCain's campaign. You. Are. Part. Of. His. Campaign.

The pundits can say what they will, Sarah Palin's only claim to fame this evening was that she did not faint, barf or say "I'll get back to ya!" But she almost swung that too. A few more minutes and maybe we'd have got all that too. Frankly, I'm with my second grader who, upon listening to coverage of Sarah Palin remarked, "So...she drills, shoots and lies." Second grader, you get extra credit for that one.

Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman's creative and political writing has appeared internationally. She is the author of the novels A Disobedient Girl (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2009) and On Sal Mal Lane (Graywolf, 2013), a New York Times Editor's Choice. Both novels have been translated into several languages including Italian, French, Hebrew, and Chinese. She blogs on literature and politics, is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and has been a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is the 2014 winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Award for Fiction by an American Woman.

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