Friday, October 3, 2008
The Real Thing
Take a closer look at what Sarah Palin had to say last night when asked what, if anything, might justify the use of nuclear weapons:
Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the "be all, end all" of just too many people, and too many parts of our planet, so those dangerous regimes, again, can not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period.
Let's set aside the fact that she answers a question that was not, in fact, asked, because earlier she had already acknowledged that this was an intentional debating strategy.
I'm more taken aback by the awkward misuse of the colloquialism "be all, end all," which of course is used to refer to a best possible outcome. That Palin instead uses it to refer to nuclear apocalypse reveals more, I fear, than mere confusion or concrete thinking preventing her from getting past the words' literal meaning. The Pentecostalist tradition from which Palin emerges places an enormous emphasis on eschatology, with the apocalypse, Armageddon and the rapture all central components of its world view. And in this world view, for those who are saved, the apocalypse is both literally and figuratively the "be all, end all," in that it marks both the end of the world (as per Palin's literal usage) and the coming of the kingdom (ie. the best possible outcome, as per colloquial usage, but also as per Palin's unconscious usage).
Earlier in the debate, when discussing education, Palin referenced Joe Biden's wife, a teacher of 30 years:
God bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right?
That's not just a bit of folksy banter, or the kind of dog whistle George W. Bush uses to great effect. Palin's the real thing.