Thursday, 4 September 2008

Curled-lip syndrome

One of the oddest moments of last night’s Meet Sarah Palin pageant was the sneering contempt expressed for the concept of ‘community organizer’ as the convention hall took apart Obama’s thin record of accomplishments as compared to the impressive C.V. of the mayor of Wasilla.

It was pretty clear that no one in the sea of white faces had much use for that function or, for that matter, much idea of what it might entail, which says a lot more about them than about Barack Obama. I guess if you belong to the Rotary Club, the VFW, the Caucasian race and donate cash to the local Republican Party to boot, you wouldn’t have much need of an advocate with a Harvard law degree.

No doubt a lot of the white America represented there has no clue why a community might need the services of a young, educated outsider, which means the people sitting in that hall, despite their fun trip to Minnesota, generally don’t get out much.

A more chilling spectacle was the fury expressed at the news media for daring to ask unfriendly questions about the little-known Sarah. It’s a sign of deeply reactionary politics when outrage against the newspapers reaches that pitch. I witnessed it in South America when the supporters of military dictatorship suddenly felt the ground shift beneath their feet and uncomfortable hidden truths filtering out.

The backers of military fascism even shouted the same slogan to The Enemy (reporters)—‘Tell the truth!’—as they did last night. It was an ironic cry, to say the least, in a country where regime opponents were secretly tortured and dropped into the ocean from helicopters. Similarly, the Friends of Sarah may be soon be getting a good deal more of that commodity than they really want.

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