Friday, November 4, 2011

Palin: when she's right, she's right

It's easy to criticize Sarah Palin, easy to ridicule and mock her, easy to laugh off what she claims to be and what she claims to represent. She's been in the public eye now for over three years, since McCain tapped her as his running mate in August, 2008.

Palin's been hung in effigy, parodied on SNL, photoshopped on the 'net to the nth degree, and linked to various men in supposed sex scandals; her family has received similar treatment. Late night talk show hosts and talking heads salivate in anticipation of her next speech, her next step, her next tweet.

And frankly, she has little room to complain (she does have some, though), since Miss Palin is constantly putting herself in front of the media and seeking attention.

All that said, Palin is often speaking the plain truth or what the average citizen thinks is the plain truth. She's become an institution of sorts for middle America, for people that--until recently--had little voice in American politics. Her latest comments on the Occupy movement bare out this reality. From Florida Republican Party Dinner last night:
"They say 'Wall Street fat cats got a bailout so now I want one too.' And the correct answer is no one is entitled to a bailout," Palin told the crowd of about 1,000 at the Republican Party of Florida dinner. "The American dream, our foundation, is about work ethic and empowerment, not entitlement." 
"My question to the Occupy Wall street crowd is, 'Where have you been the last three years?' I suggest if they want to vent and want to change the situation, then they vent in the right direction. They need to hop on a bus and travel south - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where there's plenty of space to occupy," Palin said.
Palin is exactly right. The Occupy movement is fixated on Wall Street, as if the loci of the change they want is to be found in the offices of traders, bankers, and financiers. And that's a fixation they share, by the way, with al Qaeda. Let's not forget what the main target was on September 11, 2001. But from the standpoint societal change from the inside, it doesn't make any sense. If the Occupy crowd wants to change the rules, they need to be where the rules are made. Even then, the way forward is still at the ballot box, nowhere else.

Democrat politicians are deeply aware of this, hence their attempts--most of them rather lame--to co-opt the movement and demonstrate their sympathies for the goals of the protesters. But I think the movement is ultimately lacking in stream, as well as in purpose. The 2010 elections saw the Tea Party movement rise to power. And despite reports in the media about it's apparent demise, it's likely that in 2012 even more Senate and House seats will fall to the Tea Party crowd.

The Occupy movement? I doubt they'll be able to produce a single viable candidate for the elections. Instead, they'll throw their limited support behind those entrenched politicians who best pretend to care about the movement. And that will amount to exactly nothing, when it comes to change.

Cheers, all.

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