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A Cougar for the PUMAs?
Sarah Palin, a good looking, former beauty queen, hockey mom who reads “Guns N’ Ammo,” was announced as John McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate yesterday. “Tina Fey with an AK-47” exploded on the international political scene shocking everyone – except those of us who predicted it last week – as the second ever-female VP candidate since Geraldine Ferraro. The second year Alaskan governor, former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska [home to a whopping population of 8,500] and PTA mom brings a staunch social conservative record to the table: vociferously anti-abortion, anti same sex marriage, pro gun rights, pro free market, and solid supporter of teaching creationism in elementary schools. Her “MILF-Cougar” hotness doesn’t hurt with the polls and Internet chat rooms either. Although her values cement her popularity with the Republicans, her gender strategically caters to a very vocal, disenchanted “female first” Hillary fan base.
Using a tragic Shakespearean metaphor, indeed the ghost of Banquo [Hillary Clinton] yet again returns to the banquet to haunt Macbeth [Obama] over a disputed, usurped kingdom [Democratic Presidential candidacy.] Although recently the Clintons passionately – and perhaps even sincerely – supported Barack Obama’s nomination as the Democratic candidate, a zealous, myopic and pyrrhic pro-Hillary group known as PUMA has emerged ravenous and bloodthirsty from the political jungle. The acronym now officially stands for “People United Means Action” but was originally “Party Unity, My Ass.” It’s comprised mostly, but not entirely, of a band of irrationally angry and jaded middle aged women accusing Obama and the Democratic Party of misogyny in unfairly taking “their woman” down.
In an utterly shameless stroke of political expediency transparently masquerading as a platform of change, McCain and the Republicans chose Palin to unconvincingly prove they are no longer an elite cabal of upper class, geriatric, White men. At her public unveiling, Palin invoked the ghost of two “Banquos” [Geraldine Ferraro and Senator Hillary Clinton] by name. She praised the latter for putting 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, and continued to say, "but the women of America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter than glass ceiling once and for all."
McCain and the Republicans, whose corrosively negative “smear machine” would have sickeningly insinuated Clinton was a feminist-y, man-hating lesbian had she won the ticket instead of Obama, have now begun courting the spurned PUMAs for their vote. At last week’s “Happy Hour for Hillary” in Denver sponsored by the Republican National Committee and approved by the McCain campaign, disaffected PUMAs united with McCain supporters to oppose that icon of dark, patriarchal misogyny: Obama. One of the nuttier PUMAs, Cristi Adkins, verbally sparred on television with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. She passionately advocated her futile case that Obama is a “registered Muslim” and studied at a “madrassa.” Yet again, the blatantly incorrect and inexcusably prejudiced connotation of “Muslim” as some sort of a vile Scarlet Letter was used to sully and question Obama’s loyalties and patriotism.
As a practicing Muslim American born in the faith allow me to assure the American public the closest I ever come to “registering” as a Muslim is when I visit the airport. I get treated like a Hollywood celebrity – they show me so much love. The not so friendly pat downs, pseudo interrogations, eyeball molestations and multiple verifications of my name, hometown, job and background probably fit the bill as a valid “registration” with the United States Government courtesy of the TSA. Other than that, no other registration – I swear to Allah!
Also, one must recall the ugly Pastor Jeremiah Right controversy, which should have confirmed to everyone – except the congenitally deranged, irretrievably stupid, or stubbornly prejudiced –that Obama is not nor has ever been a quasi, pseudo, stealth, ninja Muslim but instead a “believing” Christian. However, the smear by association is a hallmark play in the Republican playbook and one that is now adopted by the “female first, second and last” PUMA Democrats.
The nomination of Palin, a woman whom McCain previously met all of once in his entire life, is so amusing and laughable due its obvious catering to the superficial, knee jerk reactions of the American voting public. And that’s precisely why it’s semi brilliant as well. Many, such as PUMAs, jaded conservatives, some poor Whites and middle class workers, who later supported Clinton over Obama apparently due to her considerable “experience” [the same that would qualify her to pick up that “3 am call’] would now rather side with McCain and Palin, whose greatest skill as of now seems to be picking power suits.
Recall, Obama was depicted as being weak on “national security.” But Palin, who is a card carrying member of the NRA, apparently qualifies because she is an avid “moose hunter.” If Al Qaeda sneaks through the forests, Palin can single handedly take them out with one of her many rifles. McCain can air bomb them. Oddly, I am not assuaged.
As for foreign policy experience, I guess Vice President Sarah Palin, who was nicknamed “The Barracuda” for her point guard skills in high school basketball, could call an Iso, do a mean cross over on Putin, fake out Ahmadenijad, and drive on Mullah Omar straight to the democracy hoop. Score.
Of course, this is all absurd and hypocritical. We now have those same voters who were critical of Obama’s inexperience pledging allegiance to an even more thoroughly inexperienced vice presidential candidate who merely “looks” good and has right wing, conservative beliefs. And, disturbingly, she is a Vice President who very well could step in the President’s shoes considering her running mate is a 72-year-old man with four previous battles with cancer.
This superficial aesthetic of “image branding” and personal biases is what trumps substance and integrity in nearly every election. For some, Palin, the spunky, feminine, driven but non-threatening, White woman is less frightening then the biracial, dark, Arabic sounding Obama, who will apparently remodel America as the next “Black Planet.” Palin, with her sophisticated but not elitist designer glasses, her sexy but not bougie highlights, her “go-getter” but not “lesbiany-anti patriarchal” femininity, reminds the PUMA generation of what they’d like to be and “see” in the White House. It seems they took their misguided cue from the other “Banquo ghost,” Geraldine Ferraro, who voluntarily resigned from Hillary Clinton’s committee over the fallout from these controversial and very telling remarks:
"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”
Sadly, some of McCain and Clinton’s followers think they suffer from an unbearable Whiteness of being, one that Obama’s Blackness allowed him to transcend. To those who suffer from this delusion, Sarah Palin-John McCain is the perfect substitute for the Obama-Biden ticket. And, as for the PUMAs and their like minded brothers and sisters, they have resoundingly answered Clinton’s question that she posed at the Democratic National Convention: "Were you in this campaign just for me?"
WAJAHAT ALI is a Muslim American of Pakistani descent. He is a playwright, essayist, humorist, and Attorney at Law, whose work, “The Domestic Crusaders” is the first major play about Muslim Americans living in a post 9-11 America. His blog is at http://goatmilk.wordpress.com/. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org