Why is it, exactly, that so many people hate Sarah Palin? It’s not as if she didn’t pay taxes according to tax laws she herself was responsible for writing, or had extra-marital affairs when her spouse was dying of cancer, or mysteriously didn’t call the police when a car she was driving went off a bridge and her companion drowned.
It’s also not as if she got where she did because she was an important person’s wife, or a member of a powerful and wealthy family. She’s not an Ivy League blue blood, she wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and she doesn’t keep mistresses or paramours or prostitutes on the side.
Don’t say that she isn’t very intelligent. She obviously is, especially when compared to the average run of politician. Don’t say she doesn’t have enough experience to be on the biggest of political stages. She has more executive-level experience than our current president had. Don’t say it’s because she is a media hound. Which of our leading politicians, or leading-politician wannabes, is not?
Is it because of her religion, about which she is unapologetic? Is it because she is pro-life and then acted on that belief by not aborting her child with Down Syndrome? Is it because she seems to be able to manage a robust family life as well as a robust career as a public figure? Is it because she is physically attractive? Because she hunts? Because she knows how to handle a gun? Because she inspires so many people?
Is it because she is all these things . . . and a woman?
I find it hard not to appreciate her accomplishments. She rose, after all, from humble beginnings to become a city council member and then mayor; she then became the first female governor of Alaska; and she was the first female vice-presidential nominee on the Republican ticket and only the second female vice-presidential nominee in American history.
I can understand people disagreeing with her positions on economics or politics. I can understand people thinking she would not be good at managing national fiscal policy or international diplomacy. But much criticism of her does not relate to specifics like that; it seems emotional, visceral, ugly.
I find much of the criticism unseemly. Not supporting her, fine; disagreeing with her, fine; believing she would be a bad or ineffective president, fine; pointing out her mistakes, fine. But relentless ad hominem attacks, derisive mocking, contemptuous condescension, vilification, and grotesque fantasies about violence done to her, her family, or her supporters? That has no place in civilized discourse, and people looking for climates of hate to oppose would do well to begin there.