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Impalement

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

A few political pundits have suggested that Barack Obama must remember he is running against John McCain, not Sarah Palin. But this isn’t the case. John McCain is obsolete, breathing near-dead breath into every microphone near his face. It is Sarah Palin who has galvanized the Republican base. It is she who draws the crowds.

Some among the electorate who were undecided, now, have declared themselves. For Palin. I read an article in which a Catholic voter said that Palin’s position on “life” had changed his mind. He’s for the McCain/Palin ticket.

This “life” issue is fascinating. Because those who are most vocal about the sanctity of life seem to disregard the inhumanity of war. Does it matter to them that so much life is destroyed in war? Do they ever think of the children? The paradox is mystifying.

Every time I see Palin on television, I think of the photograph of her next to a caribou she’s just slaughtered. She’s kneeling behind the bleeding animal, admiring her kill. One of her children looks on.

And I am reminded of Samantha Caine, a mom and PTA participant who, while slicing carrots in her suburban kitchen, suddenly, chops veggies like a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu. Then, faster, faster, faster she moves until she throws her knife, spearing a tomato to the door. Later, she kills a deer with her bare hands. This is no ordinary woman. She’s former CIA agent Charly Baltimore, an assassin who has amnesia. This isn’t real though–it’s a movie, The Long Kiss Goodnight.

Sarah Palin is Samantha Caine, emerging from small-town life to provide ultraconservative values as warrior princess and VP for a man who has flipped and flopped like a catfish out of water, a man who can’t speak one sentence without looking at notes or a Teleprompter unless he’s suggesting something tawdry like offering up his wife Cindy as a piece of judged meat at a bikers’ rally. Or exploiting his POW status.

Sinking in the polls, the bland and stumbling John I-don’t-know-enough-about-it-to-give-you-an-informed-answer McCain was groping his way toward Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge as possible second-in-command picks until Rovian shapers prevailed, eliminating the two because they are pro-choice. The Samantha Caine/Charly Baltimore heroine of the Republican Party came to the rescue.

Sarah Palin is Viagra.

And this is a problem.

The movie character provides a couple of entertaining hours. But Palin, a person of questionable authenticity, could be in a position to change our lives and the lives of people all over the map. In an exceedingly negative way. In her quest for the number two spot, which, given McCain’s serious medical history, could lead her to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, she has rewritten her past. Palin has forgotten her support for the Bridge to Nowhere, forgotten that she cut funding for special needs children, forgotten her ties to big oil. And these are just a few examples of memory deficits. Perhaps, Palin has amnesia.

The lies are coming faster, faster, faster. McCain steps back, deferring to Palin’s ability to rally the crowds he had lost until she boarded the Bullshit Bus. She even shouts her name first when speaking of a “Palin and McCain administration.”

We should all be frightened by someone who says the war in Iraq is a “task from God.” And that takes us back to the puzzling inconsistency–the sanctity of life in the womb verses the sanctity of life in its many stages post-birth.

A Christianist, Sarah Palin separates and compartmentalizes, placing a value on some life, not all life. She is extreme. Those who oppose her views get the ax.

I have a feeling she’d like to use her bare hands.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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