Palin's America Dependent on Divine Intervention
Over the past 10 days, President Obama and Sarah Palin made clear everything you need to know about their dueling visions of America's character and its future. In his State of the Union address, the President rejected the notion that "our progress was inevitable," reminding the nation that "the only reason we are here is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard." But on Saturday night, the half-term Alaska Governor presented the assembled Tea Party faithful a blighted portrait of a nation reduced to "seeking some divine intervention again in this country, so that we can be safe and secure and prosperous again." In times of crisis, Barack Obama's Americans pull themselves up by their bootstraps, while Sarah Palin's need a handout from God.
During his State of the Union, President Obama issued a call to action, looking to the nation's past for lessons on facing the challenges of the future:
It's tempting to look back on these moments and assume that our progress was inevitable -- that America was always destined to succeed. But when the Union was turned back at Bull Run, and the Allies first landed at Omaha Beach, victory was very much in doubt. When the market crashed on Black Tuesday, and civil rights marchers were beaten on Bloody Sunday, the future was anything but certain. These were the times that tested the courage of our convictions, and the strength of our union. And despite all our divisions and disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one nation, as one people...
The only reason we are here is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard; to do what was needed even when success was uncertain; to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and their grandchildren.
But while Obama called for decisive action and national unity, Sarah Palin instead looked to her hand - and the hand of God:
Responding to questions pre-screened by Tea Party Convention organizers, Palin Saturday told an audience already preached to by the likes of Pastor Rick Scarborough and Judge Roy Moore (starting around the 3:50 mark in the video above):
"And then I think kind of tougher to, kind of tougher to put our arms around but, allowing America's spirit to rise again by not being afraid, not being afraid to kind of go back to some of our roots as a god fearing nation where we're not afraid to say, especially in times of potential trouble in the future here, we're not afraid to say, you know, we don't have all the answers as fallible men and women so it would be wise of us to start seeking some divine intervention again in this country, so that we can be safe and secure and prosperous again."
Of course, in Sarah Palin's telling, the Lord is going rogue with her.
As the Washington Post summed it up in its review of book, Palin's worldview is "an Alaskan frontierswoman's trinity" of "God, Todd and dominion over animals." And to be sure, the Quitta from Wasilla sees the hand of God everywhere in her life:
Right away, Palin posits her faith as the pillar of her career, as if her successes have unfolded according to a grand divine plan. Her selection as McCain's running mate was a "natural progression," she writes in one section. "I don't believe in coincidences," she writes in another.
But as it turns out, Sarah Palin doesn't just have the Lord in her corner, she's also His spokesman.
The war in Iraq, as then Governor Palin told students at the School of Ministry at the Wasilla Assembly of God, is "a task that is from God." And when it came to the multibillion natural gas pipeline she hoped would span her state, Palin lectured, "I can do my job there in developing our natural resources...But really all of that stuff doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's heart isn't right with God," adding:
"God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that."
A jaw-dropping expose in Vanity Fair revealed the shocking extent of Palin's divine narcissism:
When [her son] Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives, describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig's condition; she wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God's, and signed it "Trig's Creator, Your Heavenly Father."
Of course, Sarah Palin apparently has long believed she was touched by both the voice - and hand - of God. In May 2005 process complete with a laying on of hands, Kenyan pastor Thomas Muthee prayed over Palin, imploring Jesus to protect her from "the spirit of witchcraft." As Election Day approached last fall, the GOP vice presidential claimed to be unconcerned by her ticket's dismal poll numbers. Victory, she insisted, was in God's hands:
"To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder. And it also strengthens my faith, because I'm going to know, at the end of the day, putting this in God's hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4. So I'm not discouraged at all."
God, it seems, wanted Barack Obama in the White House.
Nonetheless, when it comes to God's chosen Republicans, Sarah Palin is the merely the natural successor to George W. Bush. (So much for the admonition from the first Republican, Abrahan Lincoln, that ,"My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side.")
Bush's amen corner was quite clear in the belief that he had been tapped by the Almighty. The portrait of Bush as Savior was painted in books like Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy and Michael Lind's Made in Texas. Phillips concludes that George W. Bush is convinced that "God wanted him to be president", a view backed by Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, who reported, "Among the things he said to us was: I believe that God wants me to be president." As White House official Tim Goeglein once put it, "I think President Bush is God's man at this hour, and I say this with a great sense of humility."
But if anything, Palin's followers are even more convinced that He is on their team. Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher also has a direct line to the Almighty as well. Asked about running for office, the McCain-Palin campaign prop replied:
"You know, I talked to God about that and he was like, 'No.'"
Then there's Sarah Palin's mini-me, Carrie Prejean. As the beauty pageant contestant turned anti-gay crusader told the adoring crowd at last year's Values Voters Summit:
"God chose me for that moment. He knew I was strong enough to get through all the junk that I have been through."
Sadly for Carrie Prejean, all of America soon learned that she had been touched not by God's hand, but her own.
And so it goes. While President Obama told Americans on January 27, "we don't quit," Sarah Palin told her adoring Tea Baggers this weekend:
"You don't need an office or a title to make a difference, and you don't need a proclaimed leader, as if we are all a bunch of sheep and looking for a leader to progress this movement."
Of course, she didn't mean it. By advising Americans to passively grovel for "divine intervention" to bring them prosperity and peace, Sarah Palin is indeed calling them sheep. And doubtless she believes it is God's will that Shepherd Sarah be the leader of the flock.
In "Escape From Freedom" Erich Fromm distinguishes between means of adapting or confronting life's perplexities.
RATIONAL ACTIVITY - The result corresponds to the motivation of an activity - one acts in order to attain a certain result.
NEUROTIC ACTIVITY - One acts from a compulsion which essentially has a negative character: to escape an unbearable situation. The striving tends in a direction which is only fictitiously a solution. Actually, the result is contradictory to what the person wants to attain - the compulsion overrides a line of action that could be a solution other than fictitious.
By way of examples: a frog in the former case would jump out of a pot of water as it grew warmer; in the latter, the frog would mortally simmer in the water while praying for a fair maiden to happen by perchance to kiss him.
Palin's problems run deeper than being intellectually crippled, louche, misinformed, and uninformed - don't cha know.