What I would like to elucidate as the main difference between the vice-president selections from my last post is that Obama’s choice of running mate (a choice of someone he perceives will fill in gaps he himself may have as president, thus aiding him) is a decision made from wisdom and a genuine intention to create an administration that is capable, experienced, and knowledgeable.
McCain’s selection of Palin, on the other hand, is a decision made from cleverness, of knowing how to manipulate people by placing images of themselves onstage. In Sara Palin, he has selected the mother, the righteous believer in Christ, the hunter, the regionally ignored, the female who has grown tired of her own gender being excluded to a great extent from the center of the political process throughout our history. It is a decision made to garner votes for the Republican party, not a decision made with goodwill and authentic intention to form an administration that has the skills, know-how, experience, and savvy to actually do good for a nation (and for the world, since we are so inextricably connected with the rest of the world). It is a decision to create an illusion, to hypnotize with a figure whose multi-faceted identity refracts and reflects a large population of people who feel disenfranchised (whether they are or not–I would argue that the fundamentalist Christian population he is courting is not disenfranchised enough, and have made far too many in-roads into a political process that by the very constitution of this government should not have the involvement that it does at this juncture in our history, yet it is a population that declares itself disenfranchised anyway, and in doing so, garners a sort of victim’s power in the socio-political landscape).
McCain’s choice in Palin is what we call hand-waving in science fiction and fantasy writing circles. It’s a term used to “refer to a plot device (e.g. a scientific discovery, a political development, or rules governing the behavior of a fictional creature) that is left unexplained or sloppily explained because it is convenient to the story, with the implication that the writer is aware of the logical weakness but hopes the reader will not notice.” McCain’s choice in Palin is hand-waving. There is no explanation for why she is his running mate, what she can really do as a vice president of a nation. McCain and the Republican party hope that we will be dazzled and hypnotized by her glamour, her sparkling facets that seems so much like so many of us, but in fact are none of us at all. She is a distraction. A desparate distraction. Will the American people be distracted by her in the end? Will we choose to endure another four years of our public and common properties being siphoned into the hands of the few? I don’t know. We have that history of looking where someone points, instead of “keeping our eyes on the ball,” as my father would say. We have a history of falling for snake oil salesmen.