Reactions to Sarah Palin’s decision to resign the governorship of Alaska have been a reminder of her unmatched ability to elicit strong emotions from friend and foe alike. We know some of the reasons why. It’s her evangelical Christianity and her folksy manner. It’s her small-town roots and her “new feminism.”
Yeah, if you don’t like Palin it’s because you’re a bigot. It’s not that you think being mayor of Wassilla isn’t enough to prepare someone to run the country. You just hate small towns. Come to think of it, a lot of Palin haters liked Bill Clinton just fine, and he was awfully folksy. But Palin is also ignorant and intellectually feeble, and she tries to fake her way thru difficult situations by desperately bullshitting whoever’s in range. And for her a difficult situation is a question, such as “How about that economy?” or “So why did you quit being governor?” She says nasty, untrue things about political opponents (“read terrorists their rights”) and whines whenever anybody hits back. So, of course, yeah, what we dislike about her is her “new feminism.”
Obviously, I just got triggered by a Christian Right op-ed piece
. It’s by Gary Bauer, a longtime CR panjandrum, and Daniel Allott, a fellow he employs to help with the words. It got such a rise out of me because it says I despise a one-year-old kid who has Down syndrome:
Palin gave birth to her youngest son, Trig, who has Down syndrome. Since then, mother and son have become objects of the left’s unrelenting scorn and the right’s unflinching fidelity.
Well, fuck you, Gary Bauer. You have three pieces of evidence for your claim: a reader’s diary entry
at Talking Points Memo, a post at an antifundamentalist humor site
(the post’s writer just quit), and a quote by a libertarian nutball at a place called the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism. The first two items weren’t directed at Trig, just at the idea that Down syndrome might be something the world needs more of (because of Palin’s comment “The world needs more Trigs”). The third item is just a libertarian being crazy: “it is crucial to reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with the Down syndrome.” If you don’t like what the guy said, talk to him at the next CPAC. But leave “the left” out of it.
Trig is a reminder of our fierce ambivalence over disability. Every mention of his name is a pinprick to our conscience. Every photo of mother and son is a reminder of concepts — vulnerability, dependency and suffering — our culture no longer tolerates, as well as virtues, such as humility, dignity and self-sacrifice, it no longer extols.
The left doesn’t believe in “vulnerability, dependency and suffering.” Well, that’s a new one. Furthermore, Sarah Palin embodies “humility, dignity and self-sacrifice.” Sure. All you have to do is redefine every word involved and the idea works perfectly.
You can see that Gary Bauer is after some big game here. He thinks the medical profession and society as a whole are pressuring people to abort genetically handicapped children. I think he’s got matters the wrong way around. Raising an afflicted child is an admirable choice, but it’s not one I would force on anybody. And you’d have to force people because being born with a severe handicap — being retarded, being born without a spine — is an onerous condition, one that imposes suffering on the child and requires great sacrifice from everyone in the child’s family. Given a choice, most parents won’t have such a child.
Gary Bauer figures that’s the result of some far-reaching propaganda campaign. No, it’s just people being allowed to do what they want. Bauer doesn’t see it that way, but he sees none too clearly. Just ask him what he thinks about Sarah Palin.