Monday, September 15, 2008


I'm not sure which bothers me more, the idea of Palin as president or the condescension towards her from intellectual elites.

I found Palin quite unimpressive in the ABC interview, social views aside. Still, I am deeply bothered by the "Americans are stupid for not seeing that Obama is better for their interests." trope that I hear on the Upper West Side. Here's a letter that I wrote to the NYT and WaPo editors on Palin and the liberals. I call it "Palin Payback":

Dear Sir:

Sadly, the popularity of an inexperienced and unprepared Gov. Sarah Palin is payback for the inveterate condescension of coastal liberals for their countrymen in the heartland. I have often wondered how the same sect of people that calls on America to show understanding and compassion for Anti-Americanism around the world can scarce be counted on to show a similar approach towards fellow, thinking citizens whose beliefs on religion, gun ownership, etc., are different from their own. A Palin victory would be poetic, even if not just.


Adam said...

Well done!

Benjamin E. said...

Sometimes, the more similar someone or something is to you, the more its differences stand out and scare you.

Jer979 said...

I think you hit it on the head. In my (limited) experience, many people don't realize HOW condescending they sound re: Palin. It's quite interesting.

BTW, not only did she hit the last second free throw to win her HS bball championship game, she played the entire game w/a fractured ankle. Now that's hard core.

Jeff DeGrasse said...

I'd like to see a discussion about "intellectual elitism" from our leaders.

For example, are the leaders of the parties purposefully "dumbing down" the message to reach voters that are not "plugged in" or "intellectually lazy"?

I'm thinking of the complex issue of oil and energy being boiled down to "Drill Here, Drill Now" at the RNC convention. Or, using guns, abortion and gay marriage to divert attention from health care, the economy and G.W. and pander to the Bible Belt.

Is that not a form of condescension to use that tactic against unwitting Americans?

Barak said...

Jeff, I'd call that stuff "cynicism" and McCain has been plenty cynical as of late. You're right to point out the coarseness of those tactics (not that Obama's campaign is entirely honest but, it is, I think, less blatantly deceitful).

Cultural elitism is more subtle but feels like a pressing issue to me because (a) I live on the Upper West Side and (b) this attitude impedes communication between liberals, who have some very valuable perspectives, and large parts of the country.

Jeff DeGrasse said...

Either way, I get the impression that the Republicans like their voters "less informed". Not good and I find that insulting.

And I would be remiss to say I am innocent of elitism. I am bothered that many people make no effort to become informed of the big issues. There is so much knowledge out there and it is accessible like never before. The interwebs and The Google are now in many many homes. Americans should browse to your blog rather than TMZ!!

From what I read many voters would vote for McCain/Palin simply because they like them...scratch that... they like the carefully crafted narrative of McCain/Palin. I cannot help but to see that as "Intellectual Laziness."

Why is it "OK" to give these Americans a pass? We already trail the world in math and science education. Must we continue to prove to the world that Americans have their head in the sand and don't care to look around?

Must we coddle them and say: "There, there... it's fine not to care about current events, just read your NRA literature and listen to the talking points on Fox News. And remember, McCain won't take your guns away."

I'm guilty, as charged.