(Cross-posted at Open Salon)
Sometimes, things take a little longer than usual to get up my left nostril, but when they do... Sarah Palin's keynote address to the Tea Party convention is one of those things. In fact, it has gone up my nostril, through my ethmoid bone, and burrowed into my brain. And it produced the image of a ugly brown sharp-toothed alien from a British sci-fi series.
In the t.v. series Torchwood, one of the problems the team deals with are aliens they've named weevils (see Open Salon link), who live in the sewers of Cardiff. Most of the time they just stay down there; when they choose to come aboveground, they cause a world of problems. They are primitive creatures ruled by rage and violence. Through a series of events not worth recounting (it'd be a major spoiler anyway), one of the characters on the Torchwood team comes to be worshipped by these creatures and derisively refers to himself as "King of the Weevils."
Well, the Tea Party movement is the political equivalent of the the Torchwood weevils, and Sarah Palin is their Queen. I know I'm supposed to be a good little liberal and make mealy-mouthed sentiments about trying to understand everyone, not demeaning anyone, and all that. Screw it. The tea baggers have given in to their lizard brains and seem to exist as creatures of primitive emotion. They rage at the loss of "their" America (not seeming to realize that America was never "theirs" when it was rich white men running everything); they snivel at how they are "oppressed"; and they worship Sarah Palin and anyone else who want to give this expression of America's rampaging political id full rein.
The true scandal of this speech aren't the crib notes Palin scribbled on the back of her hand. It is the fact that her sneering reference about not needing a law professor was such a red meat applause line. Governor, did you learn anything about Woodrow Wilson at any of the five colleges you attended? The professor who became president was a flawed man (and flawed president), but he did a pretty good job as a commander-in-chief during World War I. And come to think of it, that elitist Franklin D. Roosevelt did a pretty good job a generation later as a war president.
Some time ago, after re-reading Harlan Ellison's classic essay on "The Common Man" (they appeared in his column for the long-defunct Los Angeles Free Press, collected in the two-volume The Glass Teat), I wrote a piece about how Sarah Palin, then the GOP's vice presidential nominee, represented the culmination of the political right's fetishization of the idea of "the common man." More than one person commented that she would never be allowed to wield real power.
That may yet prove true. Even though Palin is the one conservative "star" mentioned for 2012 still standing, a lot can happen in two years. We can always hope the conservative establishment comes to its senses (ain't holding my breath) or that Madame Mooseslayer gets caught Hiking the Appalachian Trail, or Sledding the Iditarod or something. I'd also like to think she'd be unelectable in the general but I also am old enough to remember people saying the same thing about Reagan, pretty much right up to when he actually destroyed Carter at the ballot box in 1980.
I wish it were possible to ignore Palin and have her go away. It would be wonderful to see her and everything she represents shrivel away in the dark. Even if it weren't for the fact that she's too good for the media to pass up, I don't think it would work. Sarah Palin, Queen of the Weevils, is a menace we'll have to fight. Either that or get dragged down into the sewers.