Life in the Marketplace of Ideas
Palin Enragement Syndrome
The fight over Sarah Palin is about a lot more than Sarah Palin. It’s about what America means. It’s about what things are truly good and trustworthy. It’s about the worldview and the values that will guide our government and society.
Neither the ferocious outpouring of hatred and derision she has received from the Left, nor the enthusiastic support she has received from the populist ranks of the Right, is caused by her actual record. Many of my liberal friends, whose contempt for Palin outstrips even the contempt they felt for George W. Bush, know little of her record. And half of what they know is wrong, as election-season falsehoods and exaggerations have hardened into “fact” in the minds of Palin’s cultured despisers. And many of my fellow conservatives know more about Barack Obama’s record than they know about Sarah Palin’s.
That’s for good reason. It’s not really about her past. Neither is it about her policies. Her conservative stances are a necessary but not sufficient explanation for why the Right loves and the Left loathes her. Many others who defend the same policies evoke nowhere near the same reaction.
Why, then, does every Sarah Palin item at the Huffington Post fill up with thousands or tens of thousands of hateful comments? Why have we seen, ever since she appeared on the national scene, articles like, “Why They Hate Her,” “Why They Hate Sarah Palin,” “Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin,” “Why Elite Women Hate Sarah Palin,” “Why Feminists Hate Sarah Palin,” “Why Do Liberals Hate Sarah Palin,” “Why Jews Hate Palin,” “Why Do Jews Hate Sarah Palin So Much,” and even “Americans Hate Sarah Palin”? Why do we find “Hate Sarah Palin Days” at The View and t-shirts professing hatred for Palin and not for Bobby Jindal? The mere sight of her is enough to raise the hackles of most progressives, and the recent success of her daughter on Dancing with the Stars drove many to fits of apoplexy.
Dr. Timothy Dalrymple is the Associate Director of Content at Patheos, and writes weekly on faith, politics, and culture for Patheos' Evangelical Portal. Follow him at his blog, Philosophical Fragments, on Facebook or on Twitter.