sarah palin

15Nov09

Michiko Kakutani’s review of Sarah Palin’s book has a paragraph that sums up precisely why I found the success she met within certain ranks of the Republican party so troubling. It wasn’t her brand of conservatism, one that I’m pretty familiar with. It wasn’t her background. I was repulsed by the way she tried to divide America in ways that excluded minorities from the “real America” but even that wasn’t my biggest issue with her. It was this:

“Yet, Mr. McCain’s astonishing decision to pick someone with so little experience (less than two years as the governor of Alaska, and before that, two terms as mayor of Wasilla, a town with fewer than 7,000 residents) as his running mate and Ms. Palin’s own surprisingly nonchalant reaction to Mr. McCain’s initial phone call about the vice president’s slot (she writes that it felt “like a natural progression”) underscore just how alarmingly expertise is discounted — or equated with elitism — in our increasingly democratized era, and just how thoroughly colorful personal narratives overshadow policy arguments and actual knowledge.”

That’s the key for me: “how alarmingly expertise is discounted–or equated with elitism.” It’s a very disturbing trend lately. I understand the criticism of elitism and I agree with it in a lot of cases but expertise, knowledge, and preparedness have to remain values we prize. Without them, we’re lost.

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