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When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. " is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. She knows what it's like to be a mom." Such sentiments suggest an uncanny (and, one fears, especially American) detachment from the real problems of today.The next administration must immediately confront issues like nuclear proliferation, ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and covert wars elsewhere), global climate change, a convulsing economy, Russian belligerence, the rise of China, emerging epidemics, Islamism on a hundred fronts, a defunct United Nations, the deterioration of American schools, failures of energy, infrastructure and Internet security …Let me confess that I was genuinely unnerved by Sarah Palin's performance at the Republican convention.
There is no question that if President Mc Cain chokes on a spare rib and Palin becomes the first woman president, she and her supporters will believe that God, in all his majesty and wisdom, has brought it to pass. Palin seems perfectly willing to stake the welfare of our country—even the welfare of our species—as collateral in her own personal journey of faith.
Why would God give Sarah Palin a job she isn't ready for? Of course, Mc Cain has made the same unconscionable wager on his personal journey to the White House.
What I do care about are all the other things Palin is guaranteed not to know—or will be glossing only under the frenzied tutelage of John Mc Cain's advisers.
What doesn't she know about financial markets, Islam, the history of the Middle East, the cold war, modern weapons systems, medical research, environmental science or emerging technology?
I was relieved to discover, as many were, that Palin's luster can be much diminished by the absence of a teleprompter.
Still, the problem she poses to our political process is now much bigger than she is.
Palin may be a perfectly wonderful person, a loving mother and a great American success story—but she is a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history.
The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin's lack of intellectual qualifications. We have all now witnessed apparently sentient human beings, once provoked by a reporter's microphone, saying things like, "I'm voting for Sarah because she's a mom.
Otherwise, what could she have meant when declaring to her congregation that "God's going to tell you what is going on, and what is going to go on, and you guys are going to have that within you"?
You can learn something about a person by the company she keeps.