Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sarah Palin Reacts to Bin Laden's Death

Photo by swanksalot
I’ve written 30 times this year, usually on the subject of feminism, occupying the space between politics and pop culture. And I've loved every minute of it.
Not only did I enjoy the process, sharing my thoughts and opinions with readers, but I was thrilled to experience the aftermath week after week.  I mean, what is editorial writing without fervent feedback from those who see the world differently?
As a graduating senior, this is the last column I will ever write for the BG News. This is the last time faithful readers will open a Wednesday edition of the paper and nod in agreement with my words.  And this is the final opportunity for devoted commenters to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about.
So it better be good, right?
It was tough, choosing a verbal departure from my beloved academic institution. But I thought it would be appropriate to re-visit my favorite item worthy of commentary; Sarah Palin.
Looking back, I’ve said many things about Mama Grizzly.
I’ve argued Palin makes an excellent Halloween costume—and not just for Tina Fey. I’ve questioned the unnaturalness of Palin’s TLC reality show as she continues to exploit her “normal” family. And I’ve criticized her “targeting” Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords during Palin’s unflattering connection to the Tucson shootings. 
On the campaign trail, there’s never a shortage of Palin news. Even when she’s not directly involved, America’s favorite hockey mom always finds a way to be included-- which brings me to the heart of today’s “good-bye” column.
Sunday evening, President Barak Obama announced al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was found in Pakistan, killed by Navy Seals, and buried at sea.  If there was ever a time to fly the “mission accomplished” banner, it would be now.
Monday, as Palin addressed the Colorado Christian University during a fundraiser, she was eager to appropriate another current event for her own political agenda.
Making her classiest move since Obama took office, Palin thanked Bush “for having made the right calls to set up this victory,” yet made no mention of the current President’s involvement in this matter of national security.
“Yesterday was a testament to the military’s dedication in relentlessly hunting down an enemy through many years of war,” she said, gushing with jingoism and dismissing the toll constant conflict has taken on the country.
When thanking God “the evil leader of Islamic extremists” had “finally met justice at the hands of America’s finest,” Palin successfully provoked the Islamophobia she needs to rationalize her global manifest destiny.
As the media painted the assassination as a victory, Palin (and former Vice President Dick Cheney) were quick to remind us our battle with terror is far from over.
“We are still at war with a brutal enemy that hates America,” Palin said, predictably scaremongering.
Even though we’ve been instructed to maintain current levels of fear, this is somehow being construed as a symbolic light at the end of the recession tunnel. Palin believes “we are not a nation in decline if we can look to these young people and realize they still want to protect America.”
While naïvely explaining the country just couldn’t be failing if citizens were still willing to fight for it, she may have actually said something profound about the military industrial complex.
During his farewell address in 1961, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against “a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.”  (Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.)
He cautioned the United States to reconsider their new dedication to defense, claiming it would have serious economic, political and spiritual repercussions. (Really, stop me.)
“We recognize the imperative need for this development, yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications,” Eisenhower said.
He reminded the American people of their peaceful goals to see security and liberty prosper together.
But in the midst of this week’s national celebration, peace has long since been forgotten.
As we continue to give up personal freedoms to feel safe, and cheer the death of a terrorist, I can’t help but wonder when revisiting Eisenhower’s predictions; are we there yet?
Palin unwittingly reminded us our prosperity is tied to our desire keep fighting: funding the war on terror keeps many people employed. “It is not over,” has more to do with financial security than protecting the United States from harm.
But even those who don’t attend Palin’s tea parties seem to be caught up in the excitement. Yes, the man who caused the twin towers to fall has ultimately been held responsible, but is it normal to react this way?  
The Facebook status mistaken for a Martin Luther King Jr. quote, “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy,” summarizes two possible stances on revenge.
It’s an ethical question: swept away by nationalist pride, does one vindictively celebrate the demise of another human being? Or keep their cool, refusing the temptation to speak vengefully?
While Palin swings low, I think I’m going to take the high road.
And that’s all I have to say about that.  Or anything, as far as Forum is concerned.

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