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Friday, October 03, 2008

Sarah Palin is Pro Life the Way That Killing is Pro Life

Note: Occasionally, the General lets his inner Frenchman out (I think it's like a rash) and tonight I am letting mine out, hopefully with his blessing.


Why hunt wolves in Alaska? To save the livelihoods of poor, desperate ranchers? No. To protect communities on the edge of the wild frontier? No. To theoretically increase the number of elk and caribou other hunters can shoot and kill? Yes. And the wolves don't have a prayer.

I realize that many are trumpeting Palin's performance in Thursday night's debate, her showing putting the lie to her earlier bizarre interview with Katie Couric. Many will vote for a ticket with Palin on board because, like George W. Bush before her, a Follower of Christ stands at the crossroads between The One True God and secular society. It is no surprise that I, as a pagan liberal, will not vote for McCain/Palin. But well past my political difference with Palin, I see in her a vast and cruel joke on anyone who thinks that respect for life goes beyond telling people what they can and cannot do with their own bodies.

I think of past hunting cultures, and the respect many paid to their prey, which were not killed for pleasure but for necessity. I think of those warriors on bended knee, uttering small incantations to help usher the soul of their quarry to happier hunting grounds, of the labors of an honest heart that respected the art and drama of the hunt. True, not all hunters were doing anything but surviving, but in established cultures the ethos of the hunter was one of respect and deep identification with the quarry. But I don't think of Palin in those terms. I think of her as a murderer who does not or cannot feel compassion for anything that doesn't quite fit in her world view.

Given her perceived lack of empathy, will she respect other world leaders, even as they "rear their heads?" Will she paint her opposite numbers as the "enemy" or as "evil?" Does a good hunter hate what he or she hunts? I do not question Palin's motives, but I do question her heart: if she has not plumbed its depths how can she live in the world but at a distance from compassion and reason? How can she partition love as blood is spilled, the blood of wolves released by a stroke of her pen?

Palin's rise from Mayor of Wasilla (where she garnered 651 votes to win in 1996, and a whopping 909 in 1999 for her second term [source: City of Wasilla]) to Governor of Alaska to Vice Presidential candidate is noteworthy, and it makes one wonder who decided to back this ambitious "hockey mom" all the way to the national stage. All I know is that she has a gun where a warrior's heart should be, and a level of disconnect that borders on pathological--the disconnect between the storied sacrifice at the center of her religion and the bloodied sacrament that is her legacy in the wilds of Alaska.

Video via Smashed Frog.


UPDATE: Alert commenter fred c dobbs has pointed out there aren't any elk in Alaska (elk in Montana? Yes). Thank you, fred.


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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.