Photo: rollingpinproductionsAs I watched all the talking heads discuss Sarah Palin's "speech" in Pennsylvania where she proclaimed that parents should be the ones to decide what their kids eat, not the gov'mint (if she paid any attention, she would know that while school boards set policy, parents have significant impact on those policies if they are unhappy) I thought that most of them had missed the point. As she whined about the big, bad government daring to decide what kids could or not eat (never mind that she had misunderstood the 'suggested guidelines' as a mandate), she announced that she had brought a couple hundred cookies with her for the kids to prove her point that it was up to parents to make those sorts of decisions. No word on whether she actually asked the parents if they wanted their kids to have the cookies. No word on whether the school actually distributed those cookies, but that isn't the point.
As I watched the various pundits, and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, discuss the situation, the emphasis was on the fact that Sarah Palin had, once again, governmentized something. That she had taken a small issue as representative of "big government overreach" to fire up her base and demonstrate her point that "government bad." They all decided that by choosing these fairly trivial issues to emphasize, she could show how far into our daily lives government intrudes. The fact that such things as setting nutritional guidelines is the proper role of government is completely beyond her. I have to wonder, again, still, if government is so bad, why on earth does she want so badly to be a part of it? Of course, she doesn't. She just sees it as the ultimate in being the center of attention.
The point that I see and that I think was missed, and it is something I have been seeing in much of what this woman does, is not that she has to demonize government in everything she says, but that instead, she is teaching children, as she has clearly done with her own (just listen to statements made to media by, for example, Piper or Bristol), that rules only matter if you agree with them. It is all about winning at any cost, game the system if you have to, and if you don't think a rule is fair, or reasonable, or if it is an example of "government overreach," just ignore it. So, give a speech to schoolkids and tell them to ignore their teachers and principal and, in effect, any other rules that they care to cause hey, if you get to throw out one rule, why not all of them?
What exactly is Palin actually advocating? That 2nd amendment solution her followers are so fond of--I didn't get my way so I'm going to force you to give it to me according to Sharon Angle et al--is essentially saying that rules only count if 1) I made them, or 2) I agree with them. and 3) I am the only one that matters.What a terrific example of parenting and family values. Never mind teaching your kids ethics, integrity, honesty, and respect for authority. She has already demonstrated keeping commitments. What about how to participate in changing policy from the inside out (voting, running for office, serving on the PTA) rather than simply ignoring any rule you do not like? But that's too much like work. No wonder there is so much wrong with our society.
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