3rd of 5 pts.
Operation Shock the World: Sarah Palin Delivers Again!
I’ll go ahead and predict it right now: Gwen Ifill, author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama and moderator of last night’s Vice Presidential Debate, is going to go down in history as a symbolic footnote of establishment cluelessness due to her “Age of Obama” book set to be released by Inauguration Day 2009. Age of Obama? Hell no. Age of Palin? Oh, yes! That said,Gwen was basically fair last night. Fair, however, is not the word to use when describing the absolute riot that broke out when Palin was announced as McCain's VP pick.The response reminded me of the Deep South's controlling power structure back during the civil rights agitations of the 1950s and '60s.
There was a very clear and present danger that appeared on the scene and upset the status quo. And it made for some very ugly situations.
Bull Connor Lives
Most of us know who Bull Connor is; we've seen the images from Birmingham, Alabama of the snarling dogs, etc. Like all human beings, however, Bull Connor was more complicated than the negative iconic figure he has become in the history books. That's what happens when you come down on the wrong side of history and that's what's going to happen with the outrageous attacks by the far left on Sarah Palin and her family. You don't need the links. She, and they, have been trashed all over the place and some of that has been documented on this blog.
She has been viciously mocked in a desperate attempt to caricature her as nothing more than a mere cartoon – yet she is unyielding.
She has been forced to see her family shat upon by people who can’t comprehend that family values isn’t so much about being perfect but far more about properly responding to challenging situations -- yet, still she rises.
She has been stalked by one gotcha-seeking journalist after another-- yet they have failed in their efforts to force her out of this race or irreparably wound her candidacy.
And now she has not only survived the national debate with a prototypical Washington politician (repeatedly rejected in primary after primary by his own party for their nomination as standard-bearer in the race for President), she clearly won the thing.
The Force of a Man and the Grace of a Woman
She, ladies and gentlemen, is one hell of a woman and I'd like to take this opportunity to liken her to a class of American women I know quite a bit about. Women who have much in common with her but who wouldn’t think to draw such a parallel: African American women.
To accomplish my task, I want to share a disturbing 50-year old photograph with you from the American South. It’s virtually impossible for me to summon up the words that might provide sufficient enough explanation for you to comprehend what I feel when I obsess on this picture but I doubt if words will really be necessary:
This is a picture of Dorothy Counts in Charlotte, North Carolina and the day is September 4, 1957. Surrounded by a pack of wolves, she's trying to make her way to the neighborhood school. She's 15 years old. I damn near lost my mind when I first saw this photograph within the last year. On first sight, I could not for the life of me understand why her father or other black people were nowhere to be found. I've since come to understand there was a certain staging at play that day. The white man in the white shirt directly behind her was her protector and probably helped think through the staging of this event for maximum political effect while not allowing a tense event to get completely out of control. Dorothy's father had dropped the two of them off up at the top of the road and entrusted his daughter's safety to this guy.
Needless to say, this is an extremely difficult picture for many people to live down and surely contributed to the integration efforts in North Carolina.
There’s so much to see in that picture but try as you might, you can’t objectively place Barack Obama within the context of the photograph. He has been cherry-picked, and favored, and promoted at every step along the way since he arrived at Columbia University as an undergraduate way back in the day. Cherry-picked and placed in Chicago. Cherry-picked and given millions of dollars to run a program that failed and funneled money to who-knows-where. Cherry-picked and placed at Harvard Law School, cherry-picked and placed on Harvard Law Review. Cherry-picked and placed into the Illinois legislature, cherry-picked and given the 2004 prime time convention speech, etc.
In fact, Mr. Obama and his supporters are taking advantage of the conscious and subconscious American memory of moments such as depicted in the above photograph to escape necessary review while trying to win the single most important political job in the world.
Sarah Palin, however, does fit within that picture and has achieved against the odds at every step of the way in her climb up the political ladder.
Instead of some Charlotte neighborhood we’re vicariously viewing official Washington, D.C. as they surround Sarah Palin; they are not pleased that a supposedly unqualified interloper from some neighborhood no one knows anything about at all (beyond rumors, that is) has entered their midst. They yell, they scream, they seek to intimidate – they heap upon her much rebuke and scorn. All because she’s a fellow American, objectively qualified to enter, who not only had the temerity in her youth of aspiring to the highest office in the land -- she's actually trying do so without going through the Ivy League!
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