This week I put up a post about She-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless. To be honest, I didn’t think anything of it. I write stuff all the time. Commentary. Books. Interviews. I’ve written hundred and hundreds of articles and essays. I’ve written a lot about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ve written a fair share about the war in Vietnam. I’ve written about homeless people and the issue of homelessness in America. I’ve written about our greed and our economy, about our children, about preachers, good and bad. I write a lot about God, and the walking out of my faith. I’ve written about friends and friendship and small-town life. I’ve written about death and grief and PTSD. I’ve written about sex, about the rise of porn among women, about abortion and about adoption. But of the hundreds and hundreds of essays I’ve blogged, none have ellicited the kind of response I received this week when I wrote about She-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless.
And I wasn’t really writing about her. I was holding up a mirror and saying, Look at how foolish we are that this is what matters to us.
If anything, the response I received only validates what I was saying to begin with — This is what we care about Americans? This?
People didn’t flood my inbox when I posted a week of stories about war widows. People didn’t rise up to protest the injustices inflicted upon these young families. When I write about the homeless only those who are already tender-hearted or already working with the homeless chime in. When I write about corruption or greed and the exploitation of the innocent people yawn and think to themselves, I wish she’d go back to being funny.
Good friends wrote to me privately this week and chided me. Friends I knew in a previous life wrote to tell me how arrogant, how mean, how ugly I am. These are people who have never once responded when I’ve written about the things most tender to my heart. You are full of yourself, they said. You are a bore, they said. You need therapy.
They might be right about that last remark. I could use some help in deciphering how come it is that I can write about things that really matter — like war and death, like corruption and greed — and the only thing the riles people up is when I write about their favorite TV personality?
Yes. At the very least I could use a week at some remote beach house.
I have been pondering this, trying to figure out what makes She-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless so divisive. I am not at all sure I’m right about this, so like I said when I started, feel free to offer your own analysis.
I turned to the web to find out what research is saying about what divides us as a people. Not surprisingly it came down to money and an ‘us” and “them” mentality. The Pew Center conducted a poll about What Divides America? and found that the two things dividing our country right now is income and immigration. The rich vs. the poor. The documented against the undocumented.
Yes. There are still people who believe that President Obama is undocumented. A Muslim come to destroy our country from the inside out (like we aren’t doing a good enough job of that ourselves).
Of course, what did She-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless choose as her brand? Patriotism.
In her new book, which shall also remain nameless, America’s Brand plays to the fears of millions when she calls into question Michelle Obama’s statement about being a proud American:
“I guess this shouldn’t surprise us, since both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church listening to his rants against America and white people.”
I think it’s important to note that the town in which America’s Brand is raising her children is predominatly white. 85.5 percent white. Only .59 Black or African American, 5 percent Native American, 1 percent Asian, and only 3 percent Hispanic. This is a trend reflected state-wide. Alaska’s white population hovers at about 68 percent. Hispanics and Blacks are at about 4 percent each.
In regards to the rich versus the poor that the Pew Research mentions as a dividing factor, She-Who-Remains-Nameless has made an estimated $12 million since she dumped her day job. That’s certainly lands her on the rich side of the equation, particularly in a town where the average annual income is $48,000. I don’t think that includes the oil kickbacks. Although to hear her tell it, as she explains in her latest book, her decision to quit on Alaskans had nothing to do with money and everything to do with her brand — America:
Had I listened to those who suggested it would be political suicide to hand the Governor’s reigns over to my lieutenant governor entering my lame duck last year in office — a choice I made so that I could fight for Alaska, and America, more effectively in a different venue — then my state would have suffered from the obstruction and paralysis of my office by the politically motivated attacks that began the day I was announced as the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008.
Had I listened to the politicos (even some within my own political action committee) and shied away from endorsing candidates I knew were best for America — people such as Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley, Doug Hoffman, Joe Miller and Karen Handel — I wouldn’t have been using my position in the best interests of the country I love.
So exactly why is She-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless able to divide friends and evoke such passion in an otherwise disengaged and disenfranchised population?
She plays to our fears.
That’s what I think.
But then I am part of that godless liberal media that She-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless writes so disturbingly about in her new book:
“Most of those who write for the mainstream media and teach at universities and law schools don’t share the religious faith of their fellow Americans. They seem to regard people who believe in God and regularly attend their church or synagogue as alien beings, people who are “largely poor, uneducated and easy to command,” as the Washington Post once famously put it.”
Where does she get this stuff?
This is nothing more than sophistry. A blatant outrageous claim designed to whip up the emotions of the masses. She-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless stops short of calling educated people children of Satan but her intended audience will be frothing at the mouth. These are the same people who worship at the altar of Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck.
There is at least one analysis in America’s Brand’s newest book that I agree with:
“There is a narcissism in our leaders in Washington today,” she writes. “There’s a quasi-religious feeling to the message coming from them.”
Plato warned us that this particular rhetoric would be most effective in Democratic politics. When you let the majority decide, then you’ve given a great opportunity for your sophistic techniques to give power to those who can best manipulate the masses, rather than turning power over to those who really can manage and run good government. Plato warned us to be very careful of a person who uses rhetoric for their own narcissistic pursuits of fame, not in the search for truth.
But then Plato’s warnings didn’t win him any popularity contests either.