LatinaLista — With only a few hours till the vice presidential debate, Sarah Palin is probably nervous. She has good reason to be. With every interview that she’s done, with the possible exception of one with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo where she talks about energy issues, she has come across as being, well, clueless.
Of course an argument in her defense, when talking about the Couric interviews, is — can anyone name a Supreme Court decision besides Roe v Wade when blindsided during a recorded television interview? Maybe not, but anyone should be able to name at least one periodical. Not even the hometown newspaper got a nod.
If Palin does well tonight, and I sincerely hope she does, she may redeem herself in her critics’ eyes but it won’t mean that she’s any more suited than last week to assume the second highest position in the country.
As First Lady Laura Bush said, Palin’s a “quick study” but it’s one thing to cram for an exam, it’s another to actually comprehend what’s learned.
By her own admission, in the now infamous Couric interviews, and I would cite other interviews if she had given them, Palin confesses that she’s an “average Joe” who has had to work all her life, sometimes two jobs at a time, who only last year got a passport.
Though it’s pure conjecture on my part, I’m thinking the only reason she got a passport was because now it’s needed to travel to Canada. Since Alaska shares its border with Canada, any kind of road trip is going to take you through Alaska’s Arctic neighbor.
While Palin shows enough spunk to fear her analogy of a pit bull with lipstick, it’s not enough to compensate for her lack of knowledge in other areas. Yet, throughout all her interviews and her speeches, there is one area that she is undeniably an expert in — Alaska.
In most of her interviews, it’s curious as to how she always falls back invoking her home state, something she knows intimately but gives the impression that is all she knows about. She bristles when she perceives people think Alaska is in its own corner of the world, but the truth is — it is.
Palin and her family return every year to fish Bristol Bay.
(Source: Alaska Magazine)
The average lifestyle of Alaskans, who are probably much healthier than the rest of us in the continental U.S., revolves around the outdoors. No secret that Palin is an avid hunter. Yet, hunting and fishing are not just hobbies for the majority of Alaskans or recreational pursuits, they are a way to supplement livelihoods, diets and survive an environment that is beautiful but still a frontier in many ways.
That lifestyle is not the norm for the continental 48 states nor within the realm of experience for the majority of Americans. Though it’s ridiculous to say that lifestyle is a disqualifier for national political office, it does explain a certain disconnect, more than the average feeling, that Alaskans may feel towards the lower 48 and Washington in particular.
A day at the United Nations meeting foreign dignitaries isn’t going to suffice for a lifetime of blissful ignorance of foreign rulers/countries/policies or the ignorance of Supreme Court decisions, let alone naming at least one Supreme Court Justice.
While Palin’s performance in the interviews has been painful to watch, it underscores that we now live in a world where it’s no longer enough just to aspire to the highest office in the nation. There has to be specific preparation, education, exposure to what the world looks like far outside our borders, as well as, within them.
Leading a nation that is as multiculturally diverse as the United States means that there is no “average American” either. Yet, there is still that common dream that unites us all — that we can be anything we want to be because our nation affords us the opportunity to fulfill that goal. It’s just up to us to make sure we’re prepared when that dream arrives.